PI recently held its annual meeting. This includes the many Regional PI Associations (RPA), PI Competence Centers (PICC), PI Training Centers (PITC), and PI Test Labs (PITL) from around the world. Our gracious host this year was the PI Middle East RPA in the incredible city of Dubai, UAE.
PI follows the ‘think global, act local’ mantra, meaning we build standards and nurture technologies for worldwide usage (think global), while maintaining support for implementors of those technologies at the regional level (act local). As far as standards development organizations (SDOs), PI is unique in this aspect, in that the organization is partially decentralized, with each RPA free to act independently based on their local market.
After 12 years at the helm, longtime PI Chairman Karsten Schneider handed over the reins to Xaver Schmidt, who was unanimously elected by all RPAs in attendance. Interesting fact: it was in Dubai in 2011 that Karsten Schneider was first elected as PI Chairman, and so it has come full circle. We thank Karsten for his many years of service, guidance, and particularly his vision for the organization. His successor Xaver Schmidt is well know to the PI community having been involved in the technology from the very first PROFIBUS days, all the way through to running the PI Industry 4.0 Working Group. Congratulations Xaver!
Due to the strong influence of process automation on the market in Dubai, topics like Advanced Physical Layer (APL) played a significant role in the discussions. In fact, a live demonstration of APL switches and field devices was performed to highlight the capabilities of the technology. Although APL is open for use by any Ethernet-based protocol, PROFINET is clearly the furthest along in leveraging this revolutionary technology.
Cybersecurity was also discussed repeatedly throughout the meeting. For many years we at PI have promoted taking a holistic view of network security, since the topic is so broad. White papers and guidelines have been written. But now, the demand from industry for baked-in security at the network and even device level is starting to gain momentum. PI is taking this topic very seriously to make sure we ask the right questions and only proceed where it makes sense based on real use-cases.