It’s about Community

I’m on my way back from a meeting of organizations within the PI community (PI = PROFIBUS and PROFINET International) in Lucerne, Switzerland.  Almost all parts of the world were represented by their Regional PI Associations, PI Competence Centers, PI Test Labs, and PI Training Centers.  The current numbers of those organizations is 27, 40, 10, and 21, respectively.  There were about 120 people at the combined meeting.  Here is our official group photo as we walked to our Tuesday night networking event:


(Click for larger image.  The swan is not actually a member; he was just upset we made his family move so we could take our picture.) 

Here is a photo of the photographer with his face deliberately obscured to protect his identity.  Oops, actually it was just a raindrop on my lens.  The official photographer was Geoff Hodgkinson.


“So what!?” you might ask.  Granted that PROFIBUS is the most installed fieldbus in the world and that PROFINET will be the most installed Industrial Ethernet, but their success is not just because of the superiority of the technologies themselves.  They are successful because of the worldwide support of the PI community: people.  People from every region of the world.  People from competing companies.  People who are engineers, marketers, programmers, and testers.  Companies who recognize that supporting technologically superior networks is good for the market and good for them.  People and companies that not only provide products, but also evangelize, educate, support, and assist users.

What did we do at this meeting?  We got updated on the technologies, formulated strategies, clarified issues, shared successful approaches, reviewed status, and planned next meetings.  All the groups meet every year and every two years we meet together.  In fact the PICCs, PITLs, and PITCs are required to attend at least once every two years to maintain that community.  It’s required in order to remain certified.  (Yes, we certify these organizations and recertify them every two years.)

You, too, can be part of the community.   Members of any Regional PI Association (like PI North America) are eligible to participate in the very active Technical Committee and Working Group structure of PI.  And network in person at our General Assembly Meeting or via member newsletter, phone, or email. 

Even non-members can be part of the community:

Read our newsletters: PROFInews North American Edition, PROFInews, or a local-language version

Participate in the forums

Use the web

Watch and comment on PROFI-TV

Follow and participate in social media: Twitter, blog, YouTube, LinkedIn

Attend a training class (I’ll be in Cincinnati next week for a PROFINET class – seats available)

–Carl Henning