We are pleased to report that our 2015 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium drew 187 attendees, 35 expert speakers and 35 exhibitors to Orlando, Florida, USA in early August to examine and confront the varied challenges associated with automation and instrumentation in the municipal water and wastewater sectors.
The three-day, highly targeted event—focusing entirely on the needs of automation professionals—included an extensive program of technical presentations; an interactive panel discussion; a tour of a local wastewater treatment plant; a vendor exposition; networking events; and two training courses—one on alarm management and the other on asset management and enterprise integration. The symposium was held 4-6 August at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort.
Attendees, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors all had positive things to say about the event.
“I found the symposium to be exactly what I was looking for, as it is focused almost entirely on SCADA which is a major part of my responsibilities,” said Dan Machado, Technology Support Group Manager, Cobb County Water System, “This is the only conference I have found that truly speaks to the needs of SCADA professionals in the water/wastewater sector.”
Speakers such as Maxym Lachance from Tetra Tech’s Montreal Office expressed similar words, “The ISA WWAC Symposium is an event where I know I can talk with the folks who actually use SCADA in their daily operations. This was a great opportunity to converse one-on-one with both the designers and the operations teams who use SCADA on a regular basis to carry out their jobs.”
In all, the symposium’s technical speakers talked to a packed audience of SCADA designers, programmers and users. Of particular note were talks about High Performance HMI design, cyber security, and looking towards how SCADA will function in the utility of the future.
The symposium kicked off with a keynote address from John S. Young, a recently retired executive from American Water, who gave the keynote talk “The Water Industry – A Utility Perspective.” In his remarks, Young talked about the changing priorities and challenges faced by many water/wastewater utilities over the past five years, including deteriorating infrastructure, funding challenges, and an aging workforce. Part of his talk also highlighted the increasing role that SCADA needs to play, providing process data which can be used to help utilities make better decisions, and how SCADA-provided automation can assist operations in more effectively operating their facilities.
Invited speaker John Krajewski highlighted how High Performance HMIs (HP-HMIs) – covered in the just-published ISA101 standard on HMI design – have started to gain a foothold in the water/wastewater industry. He gave a tour of several projects where high performance HMIs have been used. John also talked about how HP-HMI projects can be approached in several ways, ranging from full-scale HMI replacements to just adding a few HP-HMI overview screens to an existing system. John showed how having a number of pre-built standardized screen modules in a SCADA software package or an HMI toolkit can often make building HP-HMIs easier.
On the second day of the symposium, Tom DeLaura from WEF led a panel discussion about the role of SCADA in the utility of the future. Entitled the “What is the Future of Automation Technologies in the Water Industry?” the session focused where SCADA technology is likely to be headed in the next 10-20 years.
The Symposium was also very well attended by both sponsors and exhibitors. Platinum sponsors for this year’s event included Schneider Electric, Phoenix Contact, and General Electric. Gold sponsors were Eramosa and Industrial Video & Control. In total there were 35 different exhibitors who were at the symposium to show and tell attendees about their various products and services.
“We had a very positive experience at the 2015 ISA WWAC Symposium,” remarked Tim Deschaines, Ph.D., a product manager at Process Analytics. “As an exhibitor, we had the opportunity to talk and meet with automation professionals from all over North America. Our conversations and interactions with key decision-makers in the water and wastewater sectors were highly educational, keeping us better informed of what’s going on in the industry and how to address evolving changes. We look forward to continuing our involvement in and support of ISA and ISA symposia.”
The event provided the ideal opportunity to gain the latest news and trends in automation and control systems, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), instrumentation, systems integration, optimization, cybersecurity, alarm management, and emerging technologies across the water/wastewater industry.
The exhibit showcase featured the latest product and service information and daily networking luncheons while an evening reception set the stage for mingling, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.
“The 2015 symposium was a resounding success,” said Kevin Patel, the 2015 general symposium chair. “I look forward to mentoring our incoming chair Pavol Segedy as he moves into the role of our 2016 general symposium chair.”
Watch for details about the 2016 ISA WWAC Symposium, which will be held 2-4 August, also in Orlando. Stay updated by regularly visiting the conference website at www.isawaterwastewater.com.