Almost fourteen years ago, ACP released ThinManager as a centralized management solution for the modern factory. Since then, ThinManager has evolved into a complete platform that manages clients and their connections to servers, as well as a myriad of applications and visual resources. While most of the evolution of ThinManager can be attributed to a handful of dedicated programmers and the vision of CEO Matt Crandell, the impetus for most of the features has come from the changing needs of ThinManager end users. Most notably, is MultiMonitor, one of the most used and most versatile of the wide range of ThinManager Platform features.
Last month, we published the transcript of the “Developers Roundtable Discussion,” which was the most popular and highest attended session at our annual TMUG (ThinManager Users Group) Conference. Every year, attendees have the opportunity to pose questions to our developers and share the answers they receive with other end users around the world. This year, however, we expanded on this event and added a new segment simply titled “Tips & Gems.”
Presented by Tim Caine (Chief Technology Officer) and Paul Burns (Director of Education), this new segment was spawned by the desire to give end users answers to many of the questions posed to our developers over the years and simply explain the full range of ThinManager’s flexibility and functionality beyond its basic features. “Tips & Gems contains a lot of little known features that most users aren’t aware of,” said Tim. “Over the years we have nuanced and added functionality to existing features based on customer feedback and ideas we had during the development process.”
The Desire for Virtualization Drives ThinManager Centralized Management in Ireland
For decades, industrial automation in North America has seen consistent growth in both volume as well as technological development. In many parts of the world, however, there has been a slower adoption rate of these new innovations in the manufacturing sector. One such innovation, Virtualization, has forced companies to reexamine their stance on waiting to adopt new technologies.
Enter NeoDyne, located in Cork, Ireland. Specializing in creating production performance monitoring and process improvement solutions, this fifteen year old system integration firm has plunged into these new technologies head first as they continue to modernize facilities across Ireland. One of their current deployments is a Manufacturing Information System (MIS) at the main processing facility owned and operated by a global leader in the cheese and whey protein market.
This year at the TMUG Conference, end users got the opportunity to ask Tim Caine (Chief Technology Officer) and Randy Cannady (Director of Engineering) about some of the new features in the works for the ThinManager Platform 7 release later this year, offer suggestions to improve functionality from an end user perspective , and discuss future features and options. Questions were also fielded online from various ThinManager users around the world. The following is a list of those questions and the responses provided at the Developers Roundtable.
Extreme Conditions Call for Extreme Solutions
Grain elevators are facilities at which grains are received, stored, and then distributed for direct use, process manufacturing, or export. Most facilities, however, are home to other operations such as cleaning, drying, and blending. For the most part, these processes have stayed the same for the last 150 years. Of course, better elevators and facilities have been developed and implemented as time has passed, but the basic engineering has stayed the same. In recent decades though, while those same engineering principles have stayed the same, systems and controls changed and evolved as the expansion of computer technology exploded.
Technological innovation comes from many people around the world every single day. Yet, it is rare to know the names of those who spawn the innovations that eventually reach market and change our lives. Most people tend to only read headlines instead of history. If you are one of them, you would think that true technological innovation is generated by a select handful of individuals sitting by themselves in a small garage in California.
There are many examples of a lone innovator scrawling an idea on a napkin or a piece of paper that becomes a billion dollar company, forever altering how we interact with the world. In fact, the current combined net worth of “The Big Four” (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook) is somewhere north of $1.1 TRILLION dollars. And they were all started with very little money and a single idea. So how is it that we all know about the humble beginnings of innovators such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg? Because their stories have been told so many times, they are now the stuff of legend. Today, parents tell their children they can do the same thing as a tale of optimism, much the same way our parents used to tell us that we if we studied hard we could become the President of the United States.
Every year as the calendar comes to an end, a new year invariably elicits statements, declarations, and discussions about what kind of year it will be. People proudly proclaim that this is they year they will lose that last ten pounds that has been hanging around, pundits make bold proclamations about the future of the political landscape, and industry professionals predict what the next wave will be to revolutionize their specific area of expertise.
For those of us who develop software, it has become clear that the prediction we need to be aware of is that 2013 will be the “boom or bust” year for all things cloud. Then again, that was also the same prediction we heard heading into 2012. And yet here we are again standing on the precipice of change. No one can deny that the last year saw great advances in the world of cloud computing, specifically the proliferation of the public cloud by companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Previously, cloud computing had been the province of smaller niche software companies and data storage centers. But as that business model showed gains in both popularity of adoption and profitability, the larger companies have finally committed their resources to capitalize on what has become a proven business model.