You always hear the words “new” and “improved” paired together. That’s why people assume that the latest technology is the greatest technology. But there are plenty of new things that aren’t any better than the old. In fact the new stuff can often times be inferior to the old (just look at New Coke). A new report on legacy automation systems suggests that updating systems to be the most current isn’t necessarily the most viable option.
Research and Market has just issued an interesting report entitled “2014 Report on the International Industrial Automation Market in the Power Industry – Forecasts to 2018.” One of the topics in the report is the lack of conversion from legacy automation systems to newer systems.
The report claims that “end-users are reluctant to migrate to the latest technology. Several organizations worldwide find it difficult to shift from their legacy systems to the latest technology because of various technical issues such as interoperability and incompatibility with existing systems”. This is basically saying that sometimes newer technology doesn’t work with older systems.
While New Coke wasn’t better than the existing soda, it was ultimately just the marketing idea that was flawed. However, new technology that can’t operate with existing systems is much more than just an idea that doesn’t work. They are actually incompatible. If you’re trying to stay cutting-edge by having the newest possible technologies, be prepared to sink a lot of money into doing so. You might have to update your entire system in order to accommodate the particular changes you’re trying to make.
Sometimes it’s better to just take care of the system that you already have. There’s a reason legacy automation systems still run today: they’re well-made. You can get a lot of mileage out of your older equipment if you properly maintain it. Just remember that old isn’t bad. New technologies can be beneficial, but new doesn’t inherently mean better.