Where are the systems integrators?
In your editorial "A call for systems integrators" (Vision Systems Design, April 2003), you are generally correct in your observations on relations between component vendors and systems integrators. Component vendors could help themselves by helping system integrators, but it seldom happens. They advertise very sophisticated products to potential end users; however, these end users generally lack talent and experience to integrate machine vision products into their inspection products. I have called component manufacturers (including some whose products I purchase) posing as an end user and have asked them to recommend an experienced system integrator who can install their product. Only one component vendor that I called recommends systems integrators.
I wish systems-integrator marketing could be made as simple as publishing a global systems-integrator directory; but that is not an answer. End users can readily use Internet search engines to find us. The problem, as I see it, is a dearth of end-user engineers who want to find us. Poor attendance at the 2003 Robot & Vision Show was proof of that.
Right now end users are cutting employment, reducing inventories, and conserving cash. At some point, they will have to start investing in new production machinery. When that time arrives, end users will need us, and perhaps component manufacturers will help them find us.
Sheldon L. Epstein
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