Rob, Any time there is any data integration with the Internet, IT is going to be concerned and hopefully take all of the appropriate measures necessary to insure the quality and security of that connection.
Chuck, I think the key is probably taking data integration to the next level. The capability to customize products to "one" is definitely within reach already. Moving to the cloud provides a potential input for manufacturing that potentially simplifies the solutions for easier data integration. Also, a direct input from the customer.
Looks like a good idea for manufacturers, Al. This takes us closer to mass customization. The key here is that a manufacturer will not be limited to what its local servers can deliver. I would guess that cloud technology will allow companies to expand and contract their IT needs as needed. However, this may be a new hurdle in the path toward compatibility between control engineers and their IT departments. Cloud providers will have to make a strong case for security.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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