Was about a half mile down Copacabana beach, trying to walk off all the churrascaria I´ve been eating this week, when it started. It wasn´t a cloudburst, it was a monsoon. Marcelo Dultra and I were totally soaked by the time we made it back to the hotel.
I spent all day today visiting the various Smar facilities scattered all around the city. There are buildings everywhere. Many of them are quite old...Smar is moving into a new facility that is half-constructed but in the meantime, space is tight.
You get wet. But it was a warm rain, and it let up enough for us to visit the huge sugar mill of Sta. Eliza, the third largest in Brazil. In the morning, I was treated to a history and product guide to Smar.
Whew. It has been a long trip. Flew from Chicago to Houston, met Marcelo Dultra, from Smar, and flew with him to Sao Paulo overnight. We then took a taxi to the domestic airport, and flew to Ribeirao Preto, which is the big town near Smar's factory.
Tomorrow, I am leaving for a week in Brazil, to visit Smar, the instrumentation company. I have never been to Brazil before, so I am with child in anticipation (yes, that's Rich Merritt's line, but I like it, so I stole it fair and square).
Meeting Tom Nelson and John Erskine, you might suppose that they are two good ol' boys from Racine, doing their bit with their old-line company, Racine Federated Inc. But underneath that cheesehead exterior are extremely smart men who understand the automation business.
Every time I go to a press conference, I am reminded about the Jimmy Buffett song, "Fins to the left, fins to the right, you're the only game in town." ABB's automation management staff met the press this morning. First they fed us, to sort of take the edge off.
ABB has teamed with Matrikon to offer Matrikon's flagship Alarm Management product as an integral option to the System800...but the real issue is that alarm management is not really a product at all, but a work process by which alarms are reduced to essentials to prevent operator overload.
Face it, cyber disasters will happen. It is impossible to guard against all of them. As Microsoft's Don Richardson put it, "You can have all the security in place that you want, and that you need, and somebody pulls the power on a PLC and you're dead anyway." The trick...
There are people in the industry that I should know, that I know lots of people who know, and who I have never, for one reason or another, actually met. Margaret Walker, VP of darn near everything engineering related at Dow Chemical is one of those people.