Keith: There seems to be a confluence of more user-driven initiatives towards openness, OPAF, in a way modular automation, to name just a few. They've shown real promise and they all seem to be headed in complimentary directions. What do you see as the motivating force for some of these movements? And how do you expect they'll affect ABB's DCS offering in the months and years to come?
Mark: This is an important development in our industry. Before I talk about the objectives, I should mention one of the key differences about these initiatives, having been through several of these in the past and watching such standard activities as they've evolved. From my perspective, in the past, most of those standards activities were initiated by and driven by the suppliers with some nominal level of involvement by customers (mainly just to check what we were doing and confirm it made sense for them). But now, it's really key to see how involved the customers are, considering the fact that they have initiated these activities. Because of that, I feel that there will be a much broader adoption and engagement, and ultimately, they will achieve their objectives.
If I think about the objectives that they're aiming at, I believe there's two major drivers and some underlying factors as a result of that. One of the drivers is that some customers have been frustrated by the fact that lifecycle costs of supporting their automation assets are higher than they'd like them to be. In addition , with their current control system infrastructure, the cost and agility for innovation is not where they'd like it to be.