MRO Magazine

Bringing people and information closer together

I was thinking about the Internet a lot around the time many readers were receiving the previous issue of this magazine in the mail. It was Sept. 11, 2001, a day now embedded into the lifelong memorie...


November 1, 2001
By MRO Magazine

I was thinking about the Internet a lot around the time many readers were receiving the previous issue of this magazine in the mail. It was Sept. 11, 2001, a day now embedded into the lifelong memories of millions of people around the world.

On that Tuesday of Terror, a friend of ours from New York City was visiting her parents near Toronto. When she heard the news of the terrorist attacks, she immediately tried to contact her husband, an industry analyst in Manhattan. No luck, as all the phones in the city’s core were either jammed or down.

When she suggested we might try to get in touch with Vic by e-mail, I typed a quick message and sent it off, not really expecting a reply. But sure enough, one came back. It turned out the Internet was to be Vic’s only means of communication that day. Using a Blackberry e-mail/pager device from RIM Technologies–a Canadian development, by the way–he was able to communicate his whereabouts as he struggled through the dust-layered city to pick up his children and get them home. Thanks to the Internet, we were able to relay messages to and from his wife until he was able to get out of Manhattan and reach a working telephone.

It’s one small example of the benefit of the Internet. And although the need for reliable communications in the everyday industrial environment may seem small in comparison to the need for it on Sept. 11, the Internet and its World Wide Web provide a welcome connection, day in and day out, to a vast realm of contacts, information and resources literally throughout the world.

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I doubt we’ve even come close to exploiting the full communications potential of the Net, in industry or on the home front. But more and more, developments in software, technology and applications take us closer to a new way of doing things.

Maintenance expert and regular contributor Morris Berengut explores one of these new applications in this issue with his examination of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that reside on the Internet. No huge programs to install. No worries about networking computers in different plants. No troublesome data backups to be concerned about.

However, for all its advantages, there are issues with this method of maintenance management that will be of concern to some potential users. The article gives you all the pros and cons.

But more than that, it points to the future of our world. Even if you aren’t ready to run your maintenance department using a remote web server, you should be thinking about what this technology means. One day, the “cons” may disappear as technology evolves. Industry may come to rely on the Internet for many important operations, as its unfolding benefits unveil capabilities unimaginable today.

It’s an interesting future we have to look forward to. Whether it’s co-ordinating all your maintenance operations from a laptop computer and a wireless modem out in the field, or simply letting loved ones know that you’re safe and sound, the Internet is sure to be an increasingly important part of our lives for years to come.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, I invite you to share them with us. Of course, I recommend that you use the Internet and send your note by e-mail to broebuck@corporate.southam.ca.