From 26 to 29 March, the cream of southern Africa's System Integrators and their end-users attended what was described by some as "one of the sub-continent's major events for discrete and process manufacturers". Futuristix-Wonderware's System Integrator and Keynote speaker offerings of 42 highly informative sessions showed the innovative application of the world's leading industrial automation, process manufacturing and asset management software solutions.
Sunday 26 March saw registrations rise from a trickle to a torrent while the Lost City golf course was where the action was really happening. Rumour has it that some teams are still plowing their way to the 18th or could there be a more sinister reason? With more than 200 crocodiles in the vicinity, golfers have learnt not to reach down into a hole that snaps back to retrieve their balls. At the last count, it was delegates 0: crocs 22.
Sunday evening's Valley of Waves fireworks display and laser show rivalled and bettered most international performances and lasted more than half an hour. The display was even more spectacular against the flickering torches and the silhouetted background of the Lost City.
Monday morning blues were wiped away by the keynote address of Roy Slavin Wonderware's CEO. His passion for a bottoms-up approach to manufacturing is only exceeded by the logic of why such an approach is not only desirable but also inevitable. Roy does not mince his words regarding proven failures that are still touted as solutions in the complex world of enterprise resource planning (ERP). His vision of empowering the people that matter (operators and operational management) is in direct contrast to the approach of satisfying the CFOs' needs first just because he may be making the purchase decision. A company's performance is based on the value it can profitably add to its products and/or services. This is something that involves people in the know operators and their managers.
Tuesday - Mark Hill, MD of Microsoft SA delivered the morning's keynote address. He introduced Windows 2000 of which Bill Gates said: "Microsoft is betting the company on Windows 2000". Microsoft claims that this is an operating system that provides for many environments ranging from the home office to the clustered, multiprocessor office environment that can eclipse the performance of many mainframes at a fraction of their cost.
Tuesday evening's gala dinner saw CS System Solutions being awarded the coveted SI of the year award. This special occasion was accompanied by the liberal dispensation of delectable edibles and potables. Many awards were handed out and a merry time was had by all (it is believed that some are still having it).
"We have reason to be proud because of the depth of knowledge and expertise shown at the conference,"says Mike le Plastrier, MD of Futuristix. "This means that we're satisfying more customer needs. A special thanks to the following system integrators and their end-users: AST-A, BEST, Crusader Systems, CS System Solutions, Hatch Africa, Johnson Matthey, Logtek, Polifin, Control and Computing, Ram-Tec, SAM, Solit SA and Streamworks."
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