The rest of the world as we know it

In this month's cover story, Senior Editor Jeanine Katzel reports on the results of a survey conducted earlier this year regarding plant engineers and their use of the internet.


In this month's cover story, Senior Editor Jeanine Katzel reports on the results of a survey conducted earlier this year regarding plant engineers and their use of the internet. Below, we take a look at the rest of the surfing world, as measured by various market research firms.

A site a day keeps...

So just how much time does the general work population spend surfing the web? According to an April report from AC Nielsen/NetRating, Inc. (, the average monthly activity for a web user at work includes 38 sessions, 27 unique sites visited, and over 1300 page views, all totaling just over 20 hr of surfing.

Lost or found

Of course, not everyone knows exactly what site they should visit when they fire up their web browser. According to the latest statistics from NPD New Media Services (, many people never find exactly what they're searching for. NPD's Fall 1999 study indicates that only 77% of those using search engines succeed in finding what they need either every time (18.7%) or most of the time (58.3%).

What if a search turns up empty? Seventy-six percent of those surveyed prefer to stick with the same search site and search in a different way instead of trying their query at another search site. Which begs the question: What is the best search engine? Google ( had the best rating in the NPD survey, with 95% of respondents saying they found what they were searching for every time or most of the time. Another top search engine, as recommended by and yours truly, is HotBot (

To share or not to share

So the needle in the haystack has been found. What's the likelihood that your average web surfer will buy that needle? According to AC Nielsen, nearly half of all web users have purchased something online. However, as @dplan, inc., reported in a recent survey of 1000 web users, 78% of respondents are still very concerned about outsider access to credit card information when buying online.

The privacy of credit card and other personal information requested by web sites remains a hotly debated issue. Are companies using the data they collect to benefit you or them? Research conducted by Cyber Dialogue indicates that 50% of web users say collecting personal data is OK if that data is to be used to personalize the content presented to them, yet 92% say that they don't trust companies to keep their information confidential.

To get you to the point of purchasing or registering at a web site, most companies are investing significant time and money into email marketing. And why not? Eighty-six percent of internet users are using e-mail (AC Nielsen). And if e-mail is your preferred method of communication, beware: Jupiter Communications estimates U.S. internet users will, on average, receive 1600 commercial e-mails a year by 2005.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

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

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