User-generated content

Much has been made over the past few years about the value of and potential for user-generated content—content created by visitors to a Web site. Much of the benefit derived so far from this type of content has been in user reviews. Numerous research projects have shown that Internet users place more credence in user reviews than in those from other so...


Much has been made over the past few years about the value of and potential for user-generated content—content created by visitors to a Web site. Much of the benefit derived so far from this type of content has been in user reviews. Numerous research projects have shown that Internet users place more credence in user reviews than in those from other sources. And Internet visitors are, at least to some degree, relying on these reviews to help make buying decisions. For example, MediaPost reports that nearly 70% of online shoppers read at least four reviews of a product before purchasing it, while almost a quarter of people check eight reviews or more.

Beyond the value of user reviews on a particular product is the value to be derived from shared opinion and discussion. That type of conversation, enabled by the Internet, is what brings the peer-to-peer discussion so sought after at industry events to interested parties on a daily basis, regardless of where they may happen to be.

Control Engineering’s groups on LinkedIn ( ) and Facebook ( ) are now home to more than 100 such discussions. It’s been the most exciting development of our entire experiment with social media—so much so that we are now committed to developing some of these discussions into feature article content for the print publication and our Web site.

The first of these articles appears in this issue—“Integrated Safety: Has Its Time Arrived?”

Beginning as a discussion point linking to Siemens’ Charlie Fialkowski’s post on , the conversation quickly grew to more than 20 user-generated comments (seven of which I had to save before being deleted from the news feed on LinkedIn to use as part of the article in this issue). The comments came from engineers, consultants, and industry vendor representatives, with all sides of the issue being well-represented: for it, against it, and possible under given certain circumstances.

Overall, the comments were well-mannered and insightful, though things did get heated in a few instances. Most importantly, everyone on each side of the issue had an opportunity to comment and share in the discussion and mutual learning experience.

Control Engineering will be featuring similar articles based on our social media group discussions every other month beginning in January 2010. So let your voice be heard—participate in the discussions and feel free to start some compelling content of your own.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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