ISA EXPO 2009 took on industry's biggest issues


Oct 27, 2009

ISA EXPO 2009, in Houston Oct. 6-8, attracted 8,500 attendees and included a 61,500 sq.ft. exhibition that showcased 364 companies. The ISA Fall Training Institute ran 13 courses and trained 113 students at the event.

The event featured seven co-locating organizations, including ARC Advisory Group, Industry2Grid (I2G), MCAA, OpenO&M, Microsoft and the Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MSMUG), Houston SmartPlant Instrumentation (LTUF) and WBF.

The technical conference featured six Exchange Conference Tracks centered on key issues facing instrumentation, automation and control professionals, including safety, security, process automation and control, energy and environment, wireless and networking, and enterprise integration. John Hofmeister, CEO and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy and retired president of Shell Oil Co. presented the keynote address titled “Energy Security and Affordability in the 21st Century.”

ISA reports that the basic problem, as Hofmeister sees it, is that by 2018 to 2020, the United States will enter a period of supply instability of liquid fuels. “The problem we all face in this country is 300 million people will be short on electricity and liquid fuel at the rate we’re going. It will take another decade to work our way out of what we’ve spent a decade working toward,” he said. And that is energy independence.”

Hofmeister’s solution is a Federal energy reserve board, “which will only happen by a grassroots movement of Americans saying, ‘We’ve had enough,’” he said. He formed Citizens for Affordable Energy not to lobby, but to put forth the facts to help people better understand what is at stake, what is required, what is possible and how we must have a 21st Century of national security to protect affordability and to save our lifestyle.

He wants to start a new independent regulatory agency called a federal energy resources board to take energy policy away from Congress, which has had 46 years, “and we’re worse off than we’ve ever been because every politically correct endeavor came for naught,” he said. “Our economy is suffering; our lifestyles are hurting; we need an independent regulatory agency.”

At the conference, ARC Research Director Will Chin said energy is going to be a major driver of investments in networking and system integration. “Wireless is gaining much more traction,” he said. “We are seeing integration between power and automation systems,” Chin said. “We see integration of HVAC systems with security systems, with lighting all to reduce energy.”

ARC researchers also are looking at asset lifecycle management. “Not only do we have to look at something failing, but we have to consider what kind of energy those assets are using,” Chin said. “We’re doing studies in geospatial information systems, Smart Grid and laser scanning systems [used in asset management where you can take a 3-D picture of plant as built].”

“We’re not sure where power is going,” Chin said. There is so much money being put into power. Investment from the stimulus provides opportunities for end users, utilities and automation suppliers. “We’ll look at a lot of things from management system for smart grid to storage of power to smart lighting, wind and solar,” he said.

Wednesday’s keynote address, “Securing the Nation's Industrial Control Systems Infrastructure,” was delivered by Marty Edwards, U.S. Department of Homeland Security program manager of the Control Systems Security Program (CSSP). Edwards discussed the current threat landscape, common vulnerabilities and security issues facing critical infrastructure control systems, and mitigation strategies being developed to address these challenges.

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