[Updated]There are two large user conferences going on this week. They are at opposite sides of the country–although both very hot. I’m on hot and humid Orlando at the Rockwell Software RSTechEd event. Renee Robbins Bassett from Automation World is at the Honeywell User Group in hot and dry Phoenix.

There are more than 1,500 attendees at RSTechEd, and many of the sessions are standing room only. I sat in three sessions and found the level of interest to be very high.

Frank Kulaszewicz, SVP control and architecture, opened the keynote session discussing customers’ needs for productivity. Indeed, during the three sessions I sat in–led by practitioners (end users)–productivity was the key word. Kulaszewicz discussed Rockwell innovations that lead to that increased productivity mentioning specifically Ethernet, virtualization (a really hot topic among users) and cloud. I guess today there will be an announcement from Microsoft about a joint project relating to the cloud. I got hints yesterday. More to come today.

Kevin Zaba showed off several new products. They sound interesting, but of course, keynote presentations don’t usually give lots of details (unless you’re Steve Jobs or the techies at National Instruments). One announcement he dropped on us was a new version of programming software that will be released at Automation Fair in November–RS Studio 5000. I’m sitting in a session today to learn more. And have to leave for breakfast in 20 minutes for another briefing on the subject. So more later.

[Later]I had a private meeting with Bus Dev manager Mike Burrows and then sat in a session in a room packed with customers on the Logix updates. It’s just Studio 5000, which will launch in the 4th quarter (planned) with Logix 5000 and View 5000. Perhaps the coolest thing is that all the tags and configurations and the like will reside in the controller. Studio 5000 is the framework, which you mostly won’t see. It plugs directly into the controller. Logix and View will be the plug ins into the framework. It’s all truly integrated. I’ll get a deeper dive later this summer.[/Later]

Consolidating information from the sessions I was in, the words are metrics, getting information and using the information and metrics to drive better decisions boosting productivity. The encouraging thing is that there are so many doing it–and so many trying to find ways to do it better.

Oh, and pointing back to the OEE discussion–had a few of those yesterday. Most everyone (except top managers) realize that the big problem with OEE is achieving standardization in data definition and input into the terms of the equation.

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