Alright I’ll admit it. I’m kind of stubborn. I think everyone is to a certain extent. It’s one of the curses of growing older. By that I mean getting past 15. At 15 we all start to get used to things as they are and every year are less and less inclined to want to see/think/hear new thoughts, do things differently and accept new ideas.
This is most apparent with certain business ideas. I’m a tree kind of guy. I don’t really understand the forest. But if there’s a tree to prune, something to plant, some branches to shape I’m right there – know everything about it, think about it all the time and understand it really well. In other words, I’m a detailed guy who doesn’t always see the big picture.
Someone like Bill Lydon is the opposite. You probably know Bill. In the last ten years I can count on one hand the people that tell me they don’t know Bill. He’s a forest person if there ever was one. He has a good handle on what all the different kinds of trees are in the forest, where they grow best, why they’re there and what the forest is going to look like in ten years. He gets in trouble talking about how to shape a tree. He’s the big picture guy if I ever knew one.
Bill really knows Industrial and Building Automation. I know a lot of the details but Bill knows the industries, the people and companies in them; who’s doing what and why. He tells me things that I should do but generally I avoid his advice for a long time until it gets to a point where I have to agree that he was right in the beginning. Kudos for me – I usually admit when I’m wrong.
Well, one of the things I’ve been resisting is wireless. I can understand it’s attractiveness but it just wasn’t something I was comfortable with. I admit that I kind of projected my personal biases on the industry as a whole and that’s really bad. I’m now ready to admit that my hesitation was wrong and that does and will have a significant place in automation both industrial and building.
We all know the value proposition of wireless. No Wire. Don’t have to buy it. Don’t have to install it. Move it anytime you want. It’s not a novelty anymore. Almost everyone is using it to some extent in almost every industry. On and on and on.
Of course, you pay for that all that installation simplicity by more complex integration. You’ve got to deal with architecture issues and placement and physical limitations. Bandwidth issues. Lots of stuff that’s a lot simpler with wire.
And then there are the interface issues. At some point you’ll need to get back to wire. You’ll need to go from something like Zigbee, Broadband or mesh and get back to EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP or BACnet. If we’ve learned anything over the past 20 years, we never coalesce on a single standard. We’ll always have this alphabet soup of standards. But I won’t complain about that. That’s how I’ve made my living the last 15 years!
But I now admit I was wrong. Wireless is here to stay and it’s going to have an important role on the factory floor. I’ve stopped resisting and am ready to move forward and get unwired.
I think I see a tree I can start working on.