Pegging the FUD meter

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What’s FUD?  Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitor’s product, according to the FUD article at Wikipedia.

What pegged my FUD meter?  An article in Automation World titled “Era of Compatibility.”

The offending (offensive?) paragraph:

“A number of Ethernet-based approaches have taken part of Ethernet, like the physical media, and to get real time or determinism, they corrupted the basic open stack. Using an unmodified stack is critical if you want to get all the benefits,” says Rockwell’s Kann.

An analysis:

“A number of Ethernet-based approaches…”  This is good FUD because it does not name the other technologies, implying that the only technology you can trust is theirs.

“corrupted” More good FUD because “corrupted” is an evil sounding word.

“Using an unmodified stack is critical…” This FUD is not as good; surely he means “uncorrupted” stack.

“to get all the benefits” Which benefits?  All the benefits.  Ok, but what are those benefits?  You know – all the benefits.  Definitely more good FUD.

More analysis based on the article FUD 101.  From the article:

The anatomy of FUD

There are four basic strategies here, usually combined:

  • Exaggerate your opponent’s weaknesses,
  • Invent weaknesses for your opponent that do not exist,
  • “Spin” your opponent’s strengths to present the appearance of weaknesses, or dismissing them altogether,
  • Associate your opponent with undesirable elements.

How does the offending paragraph fare against these four criteria? 

   No weaknesses are presented.  Strike one. 

   Invent weaknesses.  Home run.  Not all invention is good.

   Spin. No strengths are granted and dismissed.  Another strike.

   Undesirable association.  “Corrupted” is pretty good.  Maybe a double.

Why do companies use FUD?  Because they can’t compete based on facts.  So they have to make stuff up.

[This is probably a good time to remind everyone that the opinions expressed here are just the author’s.]

Oh, yeah, what about PROFINET?  We use more than the physical media of Ethernet; we use all of Ethernet.  We do achieve determinism.  We have not corrupted anything.  We use standard TCP/IP for many tasks, but we bypass it for real time messages using the standard Ethernet EtherType field to direct the message to the right place.  For a factual (instead of FUD-ridden) comparison of Rockwell’s technology with PROFINET, read the article in the Industrial Ethernet Book: “Technical Article: Performance metrics for Industrial Ethernet”.

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