There is a bay in the extreme south west of Ireland called Roaringwater Bay! Why am I mentioning this? Because when this release arrived it described this event a “Roaring Success!” and the first thing that came to mind was that beautiful bay in County Cork. Read on and all will become clear!
2012 ISA Water/Wastewater Symposium was a Roaring Success
The 2012 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium (WWAC Symposium) enjoyed record attendance numbers this year. Held in Orlando (FL USA (7-9 August ’12) last week, the symposium boasted over 165 attendees. The record attendance numbers, which are more than triple the numbers of past years, highlight the growing importance of automation and cybersecurity in the municipal water/wastewater sectors. The surge in attendance is also a testament to the symposium’s renewed focus on today’s challenges in automation, instrumentation and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) for this important aspect of our public infrastructure.
Additionally, the symposium’s full day short course on cybersecurity, which included guidance on how to set up an effective cybersecurity risk management program, drew over 35 attendees from water utilities from across the United States.
Now in its seventh year, the ISA WWAC Symposium is experiencing a new-found growth in popularity thanks to newly-formed alliances with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA), the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA) and the National Rural Water Association (NRWA). (See also “Collaboration in water & waste event“ 3rd May 2012). By forming strong partnerships with other associations, the symposium has been able to reach out to automation, instrumentation and SCADA professionals across the industry. For members of these associations, the symposium represents targeted professional development, training and networking opportunities that they could not find elsewhere.
“Our secret is our focus,” says Bob Lindeman, the 2012 President of ISA. “Our annual WWAC Symposium specifically caters to the needs of professionals involved with automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water and wastewater sectors. It is a niche event and we are proud of its increasing popularity. There is no other event like it in North America.”
The symposium was also specifically positioned so that municipal water and wastewater districts and utilities could easily send their staff. Thanks to the symposium’s sponsors, including Schneider Electric, Phoenix Contact, Gray Matter Systems, Honeywell and Eramosa Engineering, among others, the symposium was able to offer inexpensive training and professional development credits. Additionally, thanks to the symposium’s association partnerships with the AWWA and WEF, attendees were able to gain approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) that could be used towards continuing education requirements for a wide variety of state-issued operator, engineering and technician licenses.
The Read-out Instrumentation Signpost was a proud media partner to this event.
Attendees were treated to hot breakfasts, fully catered lunches and an exhibitor hall where they could learn about new products and services. The symposium’s exhibitors, who were all focused on automation, instrumentation and SCADA, enjoyed the show’s focus and the ability to talk with attendees in a targeted, yet intimate atmosphere.
With over 30 technical speakers, including a keynote on using automation for asset management and invited talks on cybersecurity and human-computer interface design, attendees enjoyed the symposium’s technical focus. Participants also received copies of the proceedings in a bound book and PDF-based digital versions, which made it easy for them to take their newfound knowledge home with them. This, in turn, was rounded out by the symposium’s tour of the newly constructed Southern Regional Water Supply Facility by the local water utility, Orange County Utilities (Florida).
Another feature of the symposium was the extensive tweeting (including pictures) and this gave a flavour of the event for those who were unable to attend. To illustrate this the following tweet about halfway through the event “1% of my cell battery at
#wwac2012. A lot of tweeting today. Need a break to re-charge.”
In the symposium’s closing remarks, the General Symposium Chair Graham Nasby, of Eramosa Engineering, spoke about the need for greater collaboration in the sector. He also talked about the growing importance of automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water/wastewater sector, and how the ISA WWAC Symposium is a natural “niche event” that specifically caters to professionals involved with these unique aspects of our collective public infrastructure.
See also Automation World’s report: Young Guns in the Water/WasteWater Industry.