Sep 27

Is That a Protocol?

Are these protocols: RS-232, Ethernet, OPC UA, PROFINET, MQTT? What is a protocol, specifically a network protocol? Merriam Webster says “a set of conventions governing the treatment and especially the formatting of data in an electronic communications system <network protocols>” This seems incomplete to me, so here’s Techopedia’s definition: “Network protocols are formal standards and…
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Sep 20

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of PROFINET

“Cloud” is one of the current automation buzzwords. It just means that the computer is not here. It’s in an offsite location administered and backed up by specialists. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. I outsource driving directions to Google Maps instead of my wife now. But Cloud is not about where the computer is; it’s…
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Sep 13

Analytics for Everyone

To follow up on my recent PROFIblog post, Statistics or Engineering, ARC has published a report that obliquely substantiates my view: Siemens MindSphere: Analytics Paves the Way to Industrie 4.0. The relevant notion: “New analytics solutions like MindSphere help users with process knowledge, but not necessarily data analysis skills, to quickly set up an analysis.”…
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Sep 6

Where PROFINET Has Boldly Gone

September 8 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s premiere. I admit that I am a complete fan, especially of ST:TOS (or, for the non-cognoscenti – Star Trek: The Original Series). Back then I was a fan of all things science fiction; now I’m just a fan of some things science fiction. (Yes, “some things”…
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Aug 30

Statistics or Engineering

The magic in the Industrie 4.0/Industrial Internet of Things meme is the analytics. Mining Big Data in the Cloud reveals where process improvements and cost savings can be found. The whole analytics thing is kind of murky (cloudy? FOG-gy?) for me. I see where PROFINET is good at providing the data (raw data, data quality…
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Aug 23

PI North America General Assembly Meeting

The 22nd PI North America General Assembly Meeting is coming up at the end of September. I have not been to all of them – I missed one. If you are a PI North America member you should start (or continue) your own attendance streak. When I first attended back in 1994, I wanted more…
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Aug 16

Back to School (for PROFINET)

School kids have already gone back to school here or are about to. And PROFINET one-day training classes are about to resume after their summer hiatus. Over the next month we’ll be in Montreal, Boston, and Houston. Then four more to finish the calendar year with 17 classes. We hope to see you in one…
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Aug 9

PROFINET Plugfest Report

Ok, I’ll admit it: I was a skeptic about the North American plugfest. Could we get enough devices and controllers? Could we pull together a plugfest having never done one in North America? I now know that the answers to both questions is “Yes!” There were 6 controllers and 30 devices. Enough to keep us…
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Aug 2

PROFINET Network Security

“Plausible deniability is not a security strategy.” This blog post is for users who have not taken any steps towards securing their networks. At some random time in the near future a hacker will shut down your machine, your line, your plant. How will you try to invoke deniability? Production is air-gapped. There is no…
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Jul 26


If I created a new app called PROFINET Go I’m pretty sure it would not be as popular as Pokémon Go. If you’re not familiar with Pokémon Go, first of all, where the heck have you been; second, here’s what it is in the rare event you’ve missed it: recycled pocket monsters (Pokémon) from the…
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