This piece was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of electroindustry.
This is truly an exciting time to be an electrical manufacturer.
Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to be engaged in a number of NEMA industries, from lighting to electric motors. But today is different. Not only must we compete on the basis of well-understood product parameters, but also on a new market underpinning that requires a value based on the ability of these products to connect.
Take the example of the electrical grid, the topic of this magazine. While we still have all the recognized 20th-century components of the grid, they are enhanced by integrated networks of smart meters, communication devices, and data management systems. Not surprisingly, innovation in the electrical and medical imaging industries extends well beyond utility products and systems. Throughout the year, we will see how each NEMA Division is experiencing its own transformation.
For nearly a century, NEMA Member companies have been renowned for products that are safe, reliable, and efficient. When it comes to the energy efficiency of our products, we have made enormous progress—so much so that we are now at the point where there are technical and economic limits to further component-level improvements but we can’t stop here. In this third century of electrification, we can expect continued growth in electrification demand, much of that demand enabled by the very efficiencies that we have built into our products. We need to continue our innovation journey with a focus on system efficiency and connected products.
As we position ourselves at the forefront of a connected, digitalized, and electrified world, we will see how data generated by our connected products can be used to learn, correct, and enhance the systems where our products operate. We will also better understand the status of our systems and use that knowledge to make real- time operating and maintenance decisions. We can even build virtual replicas of real systems and operate them using real-time data to predict and monitor performance and even train our workforce. The progress we have made is incredible, but in a connected world, there is so much more we can do.
To maximize these opportunities, NEMA manufacturers will continue to imagine and innovate. I urge all of us to innovate aggressively around connected products and energy-efficient systems. Take advantage of this unique opportunity in time for your company and our industry to make a difference in the lives of our citizens, the health of our businesses, and the well-being of our countries.
Chairman, NEMA Board of Governors