22nd Annual ARC Industry Forum – Not Déjà vu all over again

By Paul Miller

Industry Trends

As most everyone who pays even the least bit of attention to ARC Advisory Group knows, the 2018 ARC Industry Forum will kick off less than two weeks from now in Orlando, Florida. While I’ve lost track of the exact count, this will be either the ninth or tenth ARC Forum that I’ve participated in as an ARC employee and host. Prior to that, I attended at least half a dozen ARC Forums as an ARC client.

22nd Annual ARC Industry Forum maybe Déjà vu all over again?

Now, every year when I check into this event’s venue hotel (in recent years, the very comfortable Renaissance Orlando SeaWorld Hotel), I get a definite sense of déjà vu. But I think that’s understandable. Not only are there so many familiar faces, but there’s also often a definite resonance to the annual Forum themes, generally related to “industry in transition.” Every year, executives from leading global manufacturers and other industrial end user organizations deliver often thought-provoking presentations on how their respective companies are navigating the currents of disruptive technology-driven change. In the Forum’s “Innovation Showcase,” leading technology suppliers discuss their latest solutions from their low-key “tabletop” booths. In recent years, key topics for discussion have centered around open systems and standards, digital transformation, IIoT, IT/OT convergence, and – the elephant in the room – industrial cybersecurity.

This grizzled industry veteran, for one, is excited

Based on everything I’ve been hearing, I think we’re going to learn about some real breakthroughs in many, if not all the above areas at this year’s Forum and – yup -- even this often-cynical (and clearly) grizzled industry veteran is excited! I’m excited to learn how leading companies like ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, Saudi Aramco, Dow Chemical, CSX, Salt River Project, Shell, ArcelorMittal, BP, Praxair, BASF, Reliance Industries, Honda, Petronas, and Georgia Power (among others) are employing digitally enabled disruptive technologies and approaches to solve today’s real-world problems and position their organizations to meet tomorrow’s challenges head on.

As a self-proclaimed “student of the industry,” I’m particularly excited to have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the progress made to date on the Open Process Automation (OPA) initiative, spearheaded by ExxonMobil and other major automation end users. (We first learned about this important initiative two years ago at the 2016 ARC Forum.)

And, while I’m still learning about “smart cities,” after scanning the agenda, I’m thinking that my knowledge of this compelling topic is likely to increase substantially at this year’s Forum.

Not too late to register

I hope this blogpost piqued you’re interest a bit. While there’s no way you’d still be able to score a room at the Renaissance SeaWorld (ARC’s block of rooms sold out several week’s ago), there’s still time to register for the 2018 ARC Industry Forum…and there are plenty of other hotels in Orlando. Hope to see you there!

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