• By Renee Bassett
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It all started in Mumbai in October 2015. In a conversation with then ISA President Jim Keaveney, ISA member Sujata Tilak described how industrial automation and control systems played a vital role in the burgeoning field of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). “They are the foundation for IIoT, and, conversely, all major areas of automation are impacted by IIoT,” she said. 

Carlos Mandolesi and Sujata Tilak
Carlos Mandolesi and Sujata Tilak in 2019 celebrating the approval of the SMIIoT Division.

Keaveney agreed that ISA should look at these areas, but it wasn’t until soon-to-be-president Carlos Mandolesi came forward in 2017 to work with Tilak that formation of a new ISA division happened. After two and a half years of planning, the Smart Manufacturing and IIoT (SMIIoT) Division was reality. Said Tilak at the time, “We hope to catch all the action happening in the smart manufacturing and IIoT space via our diverse membership and contribute to this action.”

Contribute they have. The hundreds of ISA volunteers around the globe who are associated with ISA’s newest division are active and passionate about how the technologies they focus on are essential to the success of industrial companies and the professionals who work for and with them. 

Since 2020, SMIIoT members have published 37 articles on the ISA Interchange blog that answered questions like, “‘What does an HMI look like in the age of Industry 4.0?” or “What is IIoT?” They helped launch ISA’s virtual events program with the debut of the IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Virtual Conference in October 2020. Now, the SMIIoT Division has taken over this special edition of InTech magazine.

Division Director Jeff Winter envisioned an entire publication devoted to the eight key topics within Industry 4.0, which correspond to the eight SMIIoT technical committees. The technical committee chairs wrote or co-wrote the bulk of what you see in this issue with the support and encouragement of the other division leaders shown on the Association Spotlight page. The result is a guide to some of the most important cutting-edge innovations in industrial automation today.

All ISA divisions—and there are 16 covering various technology areas or vertical industries—help members grow professionally and technically by developing technical content and approaches to solving critical problems. Future InTech special editions will let those members shine a light on their corner of the automation space. In the meantime, ISA volunteers around the world continue to develop standards, organize discussions, produce webinars, present at conferences, write articles, and otherwise contribute their actions toward making the world a better place through automation.

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About The Authors

Renee Bassett is chief editor for InTech magazine and Automation.com, and publications contributing editor for ISA. Bassett is an experienced writer, editor, and consultant for industrial automation, engineering, information technology, and infrastructure topics. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is based in Nashville.