James Truchard, CEO, National InstrumentsDr. James Truchard, president and CEO of National Instruments, kicked off the 2013 edition of the company’s user conference–NI Week. Once again he spoke passionately about the ability of technology to solve complex problems–in industry as well as many other fields.

Recounting the history of instrumentation from vacuum tubes through transistors to software (LabView), he compared iOS apps to virtual instrumentation–going so far as to refer to a bagpipe tuning app on an iPhone.

Turning to a topic I wrote about last April from when I was in Hanover, Germany, he discussed the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industrie 4.0 in Germany. The foundation of the new theory is “cyberphysical” systems. Truchard pointed out that he spoke about this topic seven years ago. LabView from its inception has pointed toward cyberphysical systems. “We have the technology to move industry forward,” he stated.

Promoting graphical system design, he noted the advancements of the past few years for doing advanced measurement and advanced control in one system. “We want to do for cyberphysical systems what the PLC did for discrete control,” he proclaimed.

Regarding the vast amount of data now available from all the connected devices, Truchard noted that “more is different” when referring to “Big Analog Data.” The company always had the mantra of acquire, analyse, present. Formerly that referred to one engineer acting locally. Now with the cloud and big analog data that same mantra assumes an entirely different and larger purpose.

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