Yes, It Was a Remarkable Bit of Stupidity

John admits he was wrong

I blew it. I was wrong. I made a mistake. But at least I find myself in very good company. You might recall this statement from Steve Ballmer at the time, of Microsoft:

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance!”

Or this remarkable bit of stupidity in 1962 from an executive at Decca Records in the UK:

“The Beatles have no future in show business. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.”

Or this remarkable bit of ignorance by Time magazine from 1966 in which it was depicting what the world would look like in the year 2000:

“Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise.” 

In my case, my ignorance goes back to a blog I wrote back in December of last year discussing this architecture:

decoupled digital architecture

I said yes, MTConnect, EtherNet/IP devices, and Modbus devices could be enabled for OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency), predictive maintenance and ERP with this architecture, but that they had missed the bus, so to speak, when they picked MQTT. I went on to describe how the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) defines the exact same model as GTMI (Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute) and claims the same benefits but uses the OPC UA architecture. I then said that it had two advantages over the GTMI architecture: 1) multiple secure mechanisms for end-to-end security from the Northside (IT applications) to the Southside (end devices), and 2) very sophisticated data modeling where those data models could be discoverable at runtime.

Well, I was wrong, but not for the reasons I said. MQTT is the right choice for this architecture for one very simple reason: the market has picked it. The users prefer MQTT in these sorts of applications and that, as they say, is that.

I have spoken many times to my team on how the best technology doesn’t necessarily win. The buyers (users in this scenario) often choose what they choose for other reasons. In this case, it’s the absolute simplicity of an MQTT solution: the fact that it has few options, little overhead, and is easy to use and understand.

Excuse me while I get back to my barbequed crow dinner.