Are we better prepared?

March 29, 2024
Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic, process control solutions are tackling the warts it exposed

It’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around the fact that it’s been four years since the COVID-19 pandemic changed, well, a lot. It sure doesn’t seem that long ago. Then again, in terms of our preparation for another globally disruptive event, it seems like generations have passed. 

There shouldn’t be any doubt that companies and office workers are now better set up to work remotely in a pinch. Many schools and universities don’t even have “snow days” anymore. Instead, they use the remote learning processes honed during the pandemic to replace downhill sleds with online skeds (poor kids). But, what about industry?

It’s worth pondering if the world’s plants, refineries, et. al., are in a better position to handle another pandemic, or worse. Would the global supply chain suffer the same fate that (still) has many scrambling for resources? More importantly, would fewer people be put in harm's way to perform essential jobs such power generation, food processing or pharmaceutical manufacturing?

The short answer is nothing beats experience. Thankfully, process control and automation technologies continue to refine solutions for increasing operational efficiency, remote maintenance and data security. While not specifically focused on another pandemic, the groundswell for automated process control has reached a fever pitch these days. Just attend any industry event this spring conference season and your certain to hear experts talk at length about the needs to shore up data analytics, communicate seamlessly across products and systems, and to be able to transfer knowledge at a moments notice. This month, we take a look at some of these advancements throughout our coverage in Control and

Our cover story examines developments for open process automation, which should enable faster technology development and deployment of the solutions that can foster a more resilient operations across several industries. In addition, there's increased recognition of the need for investment in data analytics, particularly cloud-based software that lets technicians access vital decision-making data from just about anywhere and on any device.

So, the next time we're all confined to our homes, productivity won't be stuck next to us.

About the Author

Len Vermillion | Editor in Chief

Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control.