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The Internet has changed the way we upgrade our knowledge. It has provided various avenues that never existed earlier like E- mail discussion list of ISA (International Society of Automation, www.isa.org), LinkedIn groups, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Reader such as Google Reader, You Tube and Knowledge Networks. In this post, I will discuss how I am using these tools to increase my knowledge and add value to the client.
Dr Covey tells a story in his book ” The Seven habits of highly effective people” about a young man who was given a job to cut trees. On the first day he cut seven trees and subsequent day with same effort he could cut fewer trees. When, he asked owner why he was not productive, the owner asked him if he sharpen the saw. We tends to be driven in urgent and routine work and pay less attention to such proactive activity as “Sharpen the saw” which is the seventh habit of his book. The tools discussed here will help us to make us proactive and productive.
ON-LINE COMMUNITY & E-MAIL LISTS
ISA has an E-mail list and the popular ones are “Instruments”, “Controls” and “Safety”. You can subscribe to these E- mail lists. The advantage is that you can ask a question and get reply from experts from whole world. Even, if you just read the discussion, it will be helpful. I would like to acknowledge contribution from active contributor like Walter Driedger and so many others to these forums. You can subscribe them at:
Additionally, Foundation Fieldbus has a forum at: http://forums.fieldbus.org/ . There are some great presentation on FF technology.
http://www.control.com/ is also online community for Automation professionals for sharing knowledge and updating.
Google Reader is the RSS reader, I use for keeping myself updated to latest and greatest in our field. I was introduced to RSS by Jim Cahill of “Emerson Process Experts” blog. You can subscribe to the blogs, word specific search and then read in Google Reader. This is like customized newspaper. Hence, you do not go for searching content but, it is delivered to you by RSS.
You can import my subscription by importing this file. Go to Settings>Import/Export and then, Upload
Rename this file as .xml from .doc as I cannot attach file with extension xml. Also, unsubscribe to the subscription you do not want to read by going to Settings>Subscription and then, select the one you want to unsubscribe and click “Unsubscribe”.
One of my friends Ravi Tata sent me an invitation to the LinkedIn and I joined that. However, after reading Guy Kawasaki’s blog about LinkedIn, I was into it. Linkedin is a professional network site and is not only helpful for networking and job searching but, also for Professional Development.
Here is the link to Guy Kawasaki about ” How to use LinkedIn?”
You can join Linkedin by filling your name and Email at : http://www.linkedin.com/home
Then, create your profile highlighting your skill and experience. Later, join the groups related to Automation like ISA, Intools, Process Control , Automation Engineer, Process Safety Management etc…You can start discussion by creating asking questions and replying if you know the answer. There are vendor specific groups also like Delta V also.
Include all the companies you worked for and the Educational institutions you studied in your profile. This will help you to network with your colleagues and co-workers. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in the world of social media.
You Tube has revolutionized the way we see video. Let’s say if you want to know the principle of Magnetic flow meter, just type in the search and you will see a video explains that. Whether, you are interested in product knowledge or theory behind any principle , just search You Tube. Even, lectures of prestigious IIT ( Indian Institute of Technology ) are found at You Tube.
During my tenure at Cegelec & Honeywell, I was introduced to the concept of Knowledge network. Basically, a company community to share the Knowledge. Then, I joined Fluor. It has one of the best Knowledge Network and is ” Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises”.
Use this network to learn and share knowledge. It provides relevant , useful and specific knowledge pertaining to your company. Read all the Specifications, Guidelines your company provides. Be the Knowledge Champion in your area of expertise.
Having these tools in arsenal, it really useful. However, not all the information on the Internet is correct. One should know the source and use judgment before using that. The best way it can work for you is to ask for expert opinion on new product or technology you are introducing in your company or clarify interpretation on clauses of a standard or maintenance strategy etc. . Do not ask an information which you can get directly from a vendor or by googling.
Hope, you enjoy reading this post and start using these tools if not used earlier. This post is an expression of my gratitude to Inst. & Control Community. Always remember to give back to the world in whatever way and capacity you can. Nothing is insignificant.