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Reader feedback: May 2021

May 5, 2021
Readers respond to John Rezabek's October column and Jim Montague's February 2020 Control Report

I wanted to offer my own perspective on the question raised by John Rezabek in his recent article, “Will an Ethernet-APL standard leave the door open to proprietary solutions?” [Oct. '20, p.18]

In my opinion, proprietary solutions will remain utilized for new automation systems in the near future because of their deep roots across all industry sectors. What I mean by “deep roots” are all the different areas that will need to go through a disruptive change as part of the adoption process.

As he mentioned in another article, safety systems are big laggards in regards to adoption of new technologies. This is a major challenge that will be difficult to overcome.

To me, the question is at what rate will adoption grow? If APL can reach a high enough rate of adoption and demonstrate its value through tangible results, in the long run, there is only one path: open architecture.

Cristobal Ruiz
Senior Control System Engineer, Energy Industry

A realistic perspective, but the dominant players may not be eager to let go of closed solutions that they see as leveraging market share. – John Rezabek

I just read Jim Montague’s article titled "Beware of old guys," [Feb. '21, p.20] and I have to take issue with it. I believe the key issue to be addressed is not age, but inflexibility. Change is hard, but necessary if we want to survive, grow and thrive.

Many of us "old guys" have lived through decades of change. We have adapted to technology changes like migrating from pneumatic to analog to digital. We've adapted to company and organizational changes. We've adapted to business and economic cycles. Each time, we had to learn something completely new, while still maintaining responsibility to oversee the legacy business, technology and organization. Sometimes, the lessons of the past apply directly to the new challenges, and sometimes we need to let go of the old paradigms and move on. No matter how young or old, we need to keep looking outside of our comfort zones, beyond our normal social circles and regular standard social media feeds to understand the new world.

This pandemic year presented yet another set of changes. We to learn to remotely work, learn, buy, sell and socialize. Fortunately, we live in a time where we have access to much of the world's knowledge from the comfort of our homes. We adapted our routines, changed our habits, and helped octogenarians learn how to make Zoom calls. By taking action and adapting to these changes, we continue to adapt, learn and grow our businesses, our relationships and ourselves.

Lou Holtz, famous football coach and old guy, famously said, "You're either growing or you're dying, so get in motion and grow." Young or old, it doesn't matter. We need to be flexible, take action, adapt to the situation, learn something new, and then try to figure out how much of our old mindset still applies.

GEorge Buckbee, P.E.
Head of Performance Solutions, Neles
[email protected]

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