Technology is a synonym for change. After all, any field that can spawn a rule of thumb like Moore's law has to personify dynamism. Bearing this out, the new year will see the fruition of a trend begun years ago with the birth of the Internet.
The Move to the Web
The biggest "soft" change that is taking place, and is likely to expand in 2007, is our means of locating and accessing technical data, be it vendor listings, technology articles, applications notes, design manuals, or service support. It's all moving to the Web, gaining momentum as time passes. Companies, big and small, are appearing in droves in this new forum, and the leaders are evident, with their deep, rich Web sites loaded with key information. To get an idea of just how useful such resources are, check the Emerson Process Web site.
An aspect of this change is that trade publications are also migrating to the Web. While some people may complain that online magazines clog their email inbox and are slow to load, even with high-speed cable connections, the shift seems irreversible. Even technology publications that depend on ads for a living are moving there. Working in the new medium, they can offer present and potential advertisers advantages unique to the Web, developed and refined by companies such as Google and Yahoo.
Sensors' move to a Web-only presence is a clear sign that this shift is permanent in the sensing and control industry, especially the publishing side. Other magazines appear to be going the same way, but all are not necessarily in a user-friendly format, with free, searchable technology-story databases and other valuable resources. Sensorsmag.com is a unique Web resource on that basis alone.
Sooner or Later
The implications for seekers of technical information in the sensing and measurement world seem equally clear: It's all going to be on the Web sooner or later. The secret to efficient location of technology information is the use of Web sites, user-friendly e-newsletters, and RSS news feeds. If those terms are new to the average reader, consult the info pages on Sensors' Web site; they have a wealth of details on what and how.
For additional information on the new and the dynamic, check out January's Industrial Automation Newsletter.