Hanover Fair 2012

Hanover Fair concluded last Friday after 190,000 visitors had trouped through the 5,000 exhibits (from 69 countries).  Twenty of the Halls were occupied, but I never made it out of Hall 9 with most of my time spent in the Field Communication Lounge, the stand cosponsored by PI.

Five digital communications organizations cooperated to create the Field Communication Lounge.  To introduce you to the Lounge here’s Birte Hasselbusch, who coordinated that effort.  Birte works in the PI Support Center:

The organizations’ displays were intermixed throughout the Lounge, intermingled with member companies’ displays.  Here’s the floor plan (and yes there is refreshment area tucked away in the back):

Field Communication Lounge Floor Plan

click for larger image

The tag line for the Lounge was “See. Learn. Compare. Implement.” And you could certainly do the first three right in the Lounge.  But what was missing, in my opinion, was a statement that tied the five organizations’ technologies together… or differentiated them.  So here is my notion of how they are related:

PI’s PROFIBUS PA and Fieldbus Foundation’s H1 compete directly.  Each has its advantages.

PI’s PROFINET and Fieldbus Foundation’s HSE (kind of) compete.  They’re both Industrial Ethernets, but PROFINET has more functions, more installations, higher speed, and more products.

PI’s PROFIBUS PA, Fieldbus Foundation’s H1, and HART Communication Foundation’s HART compete, but personally I see HART, PROFIBUS PA, and even H1 as complementary to PROFINET.  In fact, the three organizations worked together in the Wireless Cooperation Team to unify their approach to wireless in the process market.

Speaking of cooperating, add OPC Foundation and FDT Group to PI, FF, and HCF and you have the FDI Cooperation.  Today FDT/DTM technology competes with EDDL technology.  The goal of the FDI Cooperation is to create a single, converged technology.

In summary, I see PROFINET as the system backbone connecting upward via OPC and downward directly to some devices and via proxies to PROFIBUS, FF H1, and HART (especially WirelessHART).  And, for asset management functions: FDT/DTM technology and EDDL technology eventually converging into FDI.

[Admittedly this is a very PI-centric view, but then this is the PROFIblog. And Comments are open for 30 days so others can weigh in.]

Glossary of European trade show lingo:
Fair or Messe = Trade Show
Hall = Building
Stand = Booth

More Hanover Fair news to be posted soon.

–Carl Henning