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Consider satellite 

The January/February 2017 InTech article by Marcia Gadbois (Schneider Electric Software) entitled "Using cellular data for SCADA data" (www.isa.org/intech/20170202) leads readers to a false conclusion: that cellular communications are almost always better than satellites. In fact, it is not.

Gadbois' company is headquartered in France, as is Eutelsat, for which our company, Connexxs, LLC, is the IIoT distributor and VAR for end-to-end solutions. Our principals have been involved in end-to-end IIoT solutions for 18 years. All of them have required connection of the "last mile" from the sensors or smart platforms, such as SCADA, to the Internet. In the very earliest projects, we even used dial-up modems on landlines.

Cellular data communications are used far more in the U.S. than satellite solutions, but that was because of the economic or bandwidth limits of the older systems when remote data was first collected. With modern pricing and new technology, satellite networks are now easier to install, easier and more reliable to operate, and less expensive than cell data competitors.

Gadbois failed to mention that cell data towers are far removed from many remote locations, and data radios become the means of transportation to the towers located over hills or through trees. These systems are expensive to install, and due to overuse of public bandwidths often drop signals and lose data.

In addition, the article does not mention that the mobile cell networks themselves are discontinuing the older G networks (such as 2G) and requiring customers to install expensive new modems. The newer networks (3G and 4G) are more expensive to use and themselves will one day be abandoned.

Satellite systems are inherently secure, operate with the same contracts and equipment worldwide (without new agreements and modems), and are upgraded without loss of service.

There are many reasons that the article does not reflect current times, and these should be explored more fully.

Curt Jensen, CEO

In memoriam

Former ISA executive board member Alex Habib, PE, passed away in May 2017. Habib was also a director in the ISA Food and Pharmaceutical Division and president and webmaster of the ISA Central New Jersey section. He served as an industry liaison for the ISA Central New Jersey section to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and wrote several technical articles and newsletter contributions. He received the Golden Achievement Award for ISA District 2 and the ISA-5.6 Standards and Practices Award as chairman.

Habib earned his BS in electrical engineering from Cairo University and his MS in electrical engineering from Farleigh Dickenson University. His professional experience included work with Permutit Company, Merck, Olin Chemicals, Pfizer, Jacobs Engineering, Rhône-Poulenc, Hoffmann La Roche, and Invensys in numerous engineering and consultancy roles. He also worked on several automation-related projects for organizations, including Wyeth, Protein Sciences, Hollister-Stier, IFF, Givaudan Flavors, and Conoco-Phillips.

Jim Keaveney, 2016 ISA president, said, "I had the privilege to know Alex for about 30 years. His ISA accomplishments and contributions are many. Alex was the driving force in the Princeton Section, which was later merged into the New Jersey Section. We collaborated on District 2 activities, where he also served as DVP. Alex was also very much involved in industries and sciences, serving as department VP and director for the Food and Pharmaceutical Division.

"Alex was also passionate about the automation profession. He was proud to 'give back' while an adjunct professor at DeVry. In addition to ISA, Alex was often a customer, and he helped lead the automation effort at Merck, Rhône-Poulenc, and Hoffman La Roche. In every sense and every interaction, Alex was an exceptional class act."

In memoriam

Houston section member John Everhart  passed away on 28 November 2016. A long-time ISA member, Everhart was most recently the sales and marketing manager at Horiba. Previously he was president of Emerson's Rosemount Analytical Division. Everhart enjoyed the many friends and associates he made through his years at ISA.

In memoriam

Long-time ISA75 member and former ISA75.10 chair Gilbert (Gil) Richards passed away on 1 April 2017. The former CEO of Richards Industries of Cincinnati, Ohio, Richards was a lifelong supporter of ISA, becoming a member in 1959. He also served as president of the Fluid Controls Institute, a trade organization for control valves and regulators.

Richards studied economics at Harvard College, graduating in 1950. He earned a degree from Harvard Business School in 1952, and after a stint on Wall Street, purchased a valve manufacturing company with his father. He built Richards Industries until his retirement and the sale of the company to its employees in 2007.

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