ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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ISA Offers Thought Leadership for the Automation Profession

One of the greatest joys of serving as president of the International Society of Automation (ISA) is being invited to represent ISA and make presentations on behalf of our community.

I was fortunate to be asked recently to give the keynote address and participate in a panel discussion at the ARC Europe Forum, and of course I will also shortly present at our own OT Cybersecurity Summit in London on 18-19 June.

Prabhu-ARC-keynoteIncreasingly when I am asked to give a presentation, I turn to our ISA position papers for inspiration. These papers, authored over the past year, focus on areas of particular interest to the automation community. You can read them all at www.isa.org/position-papers, and I will also share some summaries here.

ISA Position Papers

Automation Depends on People to Make the World a Better Place

people logoAdvances in manufacturing, technology, sustainability, and safety will all depend upon automation technologies and people working together.

Automation does not eliminate jobs, as some have feared; rather, it repurposes existing jobs and creates new ones. As a society, our focus should be on preparing our workforce to meet the high and growing demand for engineers and technicians. We must educate enough people to be well versed in automation technologies, as well as the industry standards and conformance programs that support the automation field. 

This paper was the focus of my recent keynote address – you can sign up to access the file here. A few highlights are shown just below.

Prabhu-keynote-clip-large

Automation is Critical to Achieving Global Energy Goals

Advanced automation technologies, implemented by knowledgeable and skilled professionals, are being employed across the entire infrastructure of energy production, storage and transmission to keep global energy supplies safe, efficient and secure while meeting these demands of the future.

Energy production that is efficient, sustainable and safe depends upon automation technologies and people working together to implement the most creative and innovative solutions.


Automation Drives the Global Quest for Resilient Supply Chains

The global pandemic and political instability have forced many manufacturers to shift their operations closer to home as they seek to increase efficiencies and reduce supply chain risks. Manufacturers can optimize their efforts to adapt and strengthen their supply chains by relying on automation technologies, including:

  • Adopting flexible manufacturing principles to allow for more dynamic responses to changes in production demands, raw material availability, and ongoing shortages of skilled labor, providing greater resilience during periods of crisis
  • Embracing the wider use of technologies, such as IoT, robotics, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, in their automation strategies to mitigate differences in cost from onshore to offshore, while increasing accuracy, supply chain visibility, and customer satisfaction
  • Recognizing and following industry standards that advance interoperability, quality assurance, and safety throughout the supply chain
  • Adopting industrial automation and control systems cybersecurity standards and conformity assessment programs to protect their operations against operational impacts from intentional and unintentional incidents – and to protect their intellectual property

Advancing Industrial Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities pose a clear and present danger to our facilities, our processes, and the safety of our communities. But when most people think about cybersecurity, they focus on what are commonly considered information technology (IT) challenges impacting individual equipment or networks. While these are valid concerns, the impact on the facility or its operation from equipment or network compromise is much more concerning.

This position paper aims to address how policy makers and private-sector leaders can be best equipped to address the urgent need for improved critical infrastructure cybersecurity through globally relevant standards and conformance programs, as well as strong support for the community of engineers and automation professionals working every day to keep our facilities, processes, and communities safe. 


Achieving Sustainability Goals with Automation

Automation offers new ways to accelerate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities across manufacturing, industry, and beyond. This ISA position paper offers specific recommendations for organizations seeking to demonstrate ESG leadership through the application of automation technologies and systems, including:

  • Relying upon advanced sensors and other automation technologies to reduce the risk of injury to personnel by isolating hazardous processes
  • Providing accountability and transparency by surfacing data and offering objective analysis
  • Creating new jobs and upskilling opportunities as needs and technologies evolve

This paper in particular is very close to my heart, as it began its life as a blog post I co-authored, “Sustainable Automation.”

I invite you to explore these position papers and let me know what you think. Your ideas are always most welcome at president@isa.org.

Join Us at the Pub HubISA Pub Hub Graphic

Even more ISA papers and content can be accessed by ISA members on Pub Hub, the society’s vast library of content and information.

There you can access a wealth of technical content, including: ISA standards, best practices and technical reports, e-magazines and archives of InTech magazine, white papers, webinars and more.

Prabhu Soundarrajan
Prabhu Soundarrajan
Prabhu has 20 years of experience in automation and ESG. He currently serves as ISA president and has served in ISA’s executive board since 2017 and has held several leadership roles in the society. He is currently operating partner at Kingston Capital and has held senior leadership positions at both Honeywell and Republic Services. He loves Golden State Warriors basketball and golf.

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