At the Industrial Ethernet Symposium: Who Will Survive

The Industrial Ethernet Symposium concluded about 6 hours ago.  This was the third symposium, the first in the US, and the largest to-date with over 150 in attendance.  The Tuesday afternoon panel discussion involving the leading Industrial Ethernet fieldbus organizations (and a few also-rans) was the highlight.  The morning featured some introductory analysis from ARC and Gartner followed by Sven Burkard of Hirschmann presenting on “Standardization of Industrial Ethernet.”  Sven provided an introduction to several of the Industrial Ethernets and predicted that not all would survive.  He predicted the survivors as Modbus/TCP, Ethernet/IP, and PROFINET.  Later in the day, the panel seemed to quietly accept that consolidation was inevitable.  In the hallways I heard the same thing; many thought that the three motion-control-only networks would not all make it – too many choices in too small a niche.  (Those three are SERCOS III, Ethernet Powerlink, and EtherCAT.  Perhaps motion-control-only is too strong; I think all three have IO, too.  But they all are certainly motion-control-mostly.)  I overheard one conversation where a user was predicting the winners as Modbus/TCP, PROFINET, and EtherCAT… oh, and Ethernet/IP might make it, too.  When someone explained his application I understood his projection – Ethernet/IP was too slow for his application.  If the US government was not cracking down on Internet gambling, I would start a giant Internet betting pool on who the survivors will be.

I’ll try to post more news later, but now the room service hamburger has been consumed and it’s time to prepare for tomorrow’s PROFINET Developer Workshop.  Incidentally, we exceeded our target registration and have warned the hotel to set the classroom a little larger.  The ever-increasing interest in PROFINET is gratifying!

Speaking of larger, I heard that Mike A had a good crowd at the PROFIBUS one-day training event in St. Louis on Tuesday.  We still have a few classes remaining for 2006; check for the list.