Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Following the faithful to Austin

If you’re a disciple of LabVIEW you’ll know what I mean. NI Week is underway in Austin, Texas; a veritable lovefest of geeks united in their adoration of the graphical programming product and its associated hardware.

The problem with NI Week, from the point of view of a machine vision user, is that the conference and show are about promoting the entire NI product range. As vision is a relatively small part of what NI do, the number of vision offerings is somewhat limited. Yes there are some camera people present, (Basler, to name but one,) some of the integration houses are showing off vision applications, and there is a vision ‘track’ to the conference sessions, so in fairness, there is some good stuff. But does it warrant the cost of a trip to Austin?

Well instead of me shoving my opinions at you, let’s do it the other way. If you’re at NI Week ’08, what do you think? And if you decided not to go, can you share why?


Andy Wilson said...

Dear Sir:

I am at NI Week and as a journalist feel that your blog was rather negative. Being a poor underpaid journalist working for Vision Systems Design, I have attended NI Week for a number of years and have always found many technical papers, tutorials, applications and systems integrators on the show floor only too willing to discuss vision applications. This year was no exception. I spent the last three days attending seminars, tutorials and hands on demos that, rather than "promoted NI products as the best thing since sliced bread" showed how systems developers can use machine vision. Furthermore, as many systems integrators know, vision plays a small but important part in the development of systems that include mechanical, electrical, electro-mechanical and computer design. At NI Week, you are also presented with this broader picture. In summary, NI Week is right up there with any AIA Vision trade show and the Vision show in Stuttgart. Maybe next year, the chaps at NI should invite you! If not, you can see a lot of what transpired this year on NI's website.

Lastly, you missed a GREAT party last night! Sorry you couldn't be here!

With best wishes,

Andy Wilson
Vision Systems Design magazine

Anonymous said...


I asked for opinions on NI Week, and you gave most generously. Thank you for your comment.

May I add how much I enjoy your blog postings and magazine articles. Through your expert knowledge you do our industry a great service.

Keep up the good work!

B. Grey

relliott said...

This year I attended NI Week for the first time. My company seems to be standardizing on Labview and flew several of us over to Austin to learn what's new and meet with the actual NI developers.

Now that NI Week is over, what stands out in my mind are not the new Labview features or hardware products (though wireless DAQ looks very good). Instead I was impressed by the several-thousand strong community of loyal Labview legionaries in attendance. From what I gathered, few of the attendees were strict 'machine vision users', but rather were control designers, process engineers, machine builders and computer scientists. For my job building inspection stations, machine vision is just another arrow in the Labview quiver that I can call upon when needed. Who else in the world but National Instruments can cover every possible measurement??

More specifically on NI's vision products, I was actually surprised at the amount of vision at NI week and the popularity of the topic. NI is a big company and if the per cent of NI Week devoted to vision is equal to the per cent of revenue from vision, then the companies that focus solely on vision may not be sleeping well.

I would like to join Andy Wilson in encouraging you to attend next year. Just be sure to bring some shorts. It is terribly hot here.

R Elliott