Gilsdorf: Wireless continues to gain momentum
EDITOR’S NOTE: Honeywell Process Solutions President Norm Gilsdorf took some time during the Honeywell Users Group Americas Sym¬posium in Phoenix and sat down with InTech Editor Gregory Hale to discuss some of the hot topics around the industry today. This is part one of a two-part interview.
InTech: Since taking the helm at Honeywell Process Solutions in January, you have walked into a hornet’s nest of global economic issues affecting the industry. Do you see the recessionary times across the globe ending soon?
Gilsdorf: I don’t know if there is an end to it. I think we are seeing some signs of life around the world where some of the projects that had gotten slowed down or significantly postponed; I see some signs a few of them are coming back to life. I think hopefully as the economic conditions continue to look a bit positive, those will continue moving forward. I wouldn’t call it an end to anything, but I would say we have got little sparks of life coming back out there.
InTech: What areas seem to be coming back now?
Gilsdorf: I think the oil and gas sector is coming back. And it really didn’t go away. It quieted down for a while as people tried to assess the circumstances, and now that the price of oil has come back a bit and people have let the dust settle on the crisis, they kind of feel a bit more stable about things.
InTech: Your company joined CSIA in April; how do you label your organization now? Are you a system integrator or a hardware provider?
Gilsdorf: I think we are both. We certainly have hardware and systems obviously on different platforms, which enables us to be a provider of hardware and lets someone else to do some integration and implementation, and at the same time we are able to deliver the full solution for the large projects that we do. So, I think we view ourselves as both.
InTech: In this environment, where companies are hanging on to their legacy systems longer than usual, is this an opportunity in services?
Gilsdorf: Yes it is. And as you probably know from some of the discussions we have had, Honeywell is dedicated to supporting our existing systems that are out there and we built our systems model to allow people to have a very long lifespan with our systems. So, you are right, people are extending our systems, but that is what we are experts at so that is an opportunity and something we are spending a lot of time helping customers with.
InTech: Other than the economy, what technologies are users looking for or do they need?
Gilsdorf: I think one of the things we announced is terminal automation solutions. As you look around the world today, (there are issues with) the storage transport of fuel products particularly when you look at all the different new fuels like bio, ethanol, and biodiesel coming in. There is a lot that needs to be done to automate terminals to bring terminals into the whole supply chain. That is a key area for us. Energy management is another area. We see that even though the cost of energy is back down a bit from the peaks it had a little bit ago, energy is going to continue to be under pressure. We have an energy dashboard system. We are also working with our brother company UOP to provide a complete energy solution for customers all the way from identifying problems to implementing solutions to sustaining the energy benefits in the end. A third area is pipeline in oil and gas. When you look at the emerging markets, there are a lot of pipeline and transport projects going on.
InTech: Where does wireless stand in users minds right now?
Gilsdorf: I think wireless is gaining momentum throughout the industry. In fact, it is interesting. We are seeing wireless kits and wireless mesh networks growing despite the economic conditions because again, these people can put in solutions at a lower cost, so it is actually well designed for the current situation. And now that the ISA draft has been accepted to establish a standard, we think that will clear the air and the confusion there and that will enable things to go forward at an even faster pace.
InTech: Do you find the subject matter of cyber security is growing in users minds?
Gilsdorf: It has always been very high on our minds. We build a lot of security in the systems we put out there. We continue to keep it an area of focus. I don’t know that it has changed focus in the industry. If you look at security in a broad sense going forward, it will get some more thought and development moving forward.
InTech: Do you feel users are aware enough to ask the right questions about security?
Gilsdorf: I think the best answer is some obviously are. They have their own departments and groups that are able to focus on that. I think others are trying to get up to speed and learn and are starting to ask questions.