Monthly Archives: July 2010

How has Social Media changed our lives – Part 1

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When Michael Jackson passed away in June 25 2009 last year, one of the surprising things was the fact that it was not the mainstream news like the Washington Post or the NY Times who reported it first; but rather it was a celebrity gossip website, TMZ who published the news first.

The news was quickly adopted by Twitter users who then retweeted the news on to the world. From this, we can see the speed at which news can quickly travel across the world in mere minutes.

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Is Surge Protection Necessary?

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According to Wikipedia, Singapore has one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world.  Did you know that our tiny island is struck by lightning every other day?  Therefore statistically speaking, the odds of getting hit by lightning are exceptionally high, which makes the use of Surge Protection Devices or SPDs in most electrical installations, essential.  However, to my surprise, many of us do not install SPDs as we have this belief that our electrical infrastructure (underground cables) is safe and reliable.

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Singapore International Water Week – Day 3

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Day 3 – Goodbye SIWW…

As quickly as it started, we arrived at the final day of the exhibition. We got rid of the lounge suits and put on our pit crew shirts, a refreshing change to eye for the visitors. Decked out in our florescent green and black pit crew shirts, we would have probably looked more at home at the F1 track just down the road instead.

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Singapore International Water Week – Day 2

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Day 2

Yes! Yes! Yes! We were FEATURED in the ‘HOTSHOT’ section of the daily SIWW newsletter!

Our team was initially split in our opinions as to the appropriateness of the use of this blue LED light effect. While some claimed it looked really spooky, others said it was totally cool, yet others, too glaring. In the end, this picture proved that our engineers who decided on the blue LEDs were vindicated in their decision…

Take a closer look at the writeup and you’ll see why…

What with standing all day and walking around checking out other booths, it was only natural that some of us were probably feeling a little cranky , we decided that a little caffeine would help boost the morale, and we figured it would do likewise for the weary visitors! And it worked like a charm! The rejuvenating aroma of premium coffee wafting ever so gently through the air never fails to uplift the spirit, even for those who do not drink it.

And finally, here is irrefutable evidence that the iphone craze has hit us. Can you actually believe how crazy our guys can get over iphone apps? But that is a good sign. As innovators, we should always keep up with the latest technology.

Day 3 post coming…

Phoenix Contact SEA’s Own Soccer Heroes

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With all the hype of the 2010 World Cup, it is easy to get drawn into all the revelry. It permeates into all aspects of our daily life and it certainly has influenced my designs at work.

Being tasked with designing an identity for our Business Development Team, I drew on the idea of using the strategy board soccer mangers used to plan their attacks and defense.

Each member has a part in strategizing and contributing to the success of the team. Each strategy is a precise execution of individual and team play. So in my design, each member is represented by a 3D lego minifig dressed in Phoenix Contact SEA’s own soccer jersey. I’ll be sharing images of these figures over the next few days.

Here’s the first of the figures.

Any guesses who might this be?

Phoenix Contact’s Partners at Singapore International Water Week

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On our exhibition panels displayed at the Singapore International Water Week, we featured a full waste water reclamation process. These panels were supplemented by actual working demo kits comprising mostly Phoenix Contact products.

However, to provide a complete solution, we were fortunate to have control boxes from Rittal and field instruments from Vega Instruments. A big ‘Thank You’ to our Strategic Alliance Partners for their sponsorship.

What is Strategic Alliance Partnership? It is a initiative for our partners and us come together to synergise and leverage on each others’ strengths. In effect, maximizing gains in Marketing activities or Project Sales potential at the lowest possible cost.

Let me share a little bit more about our partners.

Rittal is a systems supplier for industrial enclosures, power distribution and junction boxes. Their range of boxes include stainless steel and plastic enclosures.

Vega instruments provided us with the Level Transmitters which uses the latest radar technology to calculate and monitor the level of the liquid!

Radar Transmitter

VEGAPULS 61 Radar Transmitter

Singapore International Water Week – Day 1

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Day 1

Finally, the finished product is ready for showcasing. When I look at the completed setup, all our toil and sweat became worthwhile.

If I may say so, I think our booth was the most complete among all the exhibitors, featuring a whole water process flow with our products simulating the controls at various stages. But then again, you have to decide for yourself. Take a look at the photo and give us your comments.

Waste Water Process featuring Phoenix Contact Wireless Technology

Did I mention that plants are actually so important as part of a display because it really softens the look of the whole booth, making it more approachable…

Anyway, we put our slippers, shorts, t-shirts and sweat behind after the set up and after an amazing transformation, swans emerged from ugly ducklings, or should I say penguins emerged. See how smart everyone look in their lounge suit. Kudos to our people!

Personally, I like our corporate image a lot. Take a look at our namecards. I think anyone who took our namecards would remember for us for good. But trust me, we look a lot better in real life…

Day 2 post coming up

Are you NUTS?

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This article is an excerpt and adaption from a piece written by our well known local entrepreneur, Mr Sim Wong Hoo, the CEO of Creative Technology from his book, “Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millennium”.

What is “NUTS”?

“NUTS” stands for “No U-Turn Syndrome”. NUTS depicts a situation when you want to do something and you seek approval of a higher authority. You believe that when there are no rules saying that you can do such a thing, then the standard answer is “NO”!

In the US, when there is no sign on the  road, it means that you can make a U-turn. When the authority do not want people to make U-turns, they will put up signs to tell you not to make U-turns.

In Singapore, it is the reverse. When there is no sign on the road, you are not allowed to make U-turns. When the authorities allow you to make U-turns, then they will put up signs to give you that right.

The  two different systems serve the same purpose – to better manage the traffic. They may look quite similar, just coming from different direction, but the social repercussions are significant.

In Singapore, the no U-turn without sign culture has permeated every level of our thinking and every segment of our life. This no U-turn has created a way of life that is based on rules. When there is a “U-turn” sign or when there is a rule, we can U-turn. When there is no sign, we cannot U-turn.

When there is no rule, we cannot do anything. We become paralyzed.

Let me cite a personal experience. About 12 years ago, I took up the fine art of fly fishing. Fly fishing is not just about fishing, it’s about conservation, preservation of the environment and grace. Casting a fly is an art in itself and takes a lot of practice to master. So one Saturday afternoon, I decided to head down to the Nanyang Junior College (near where I used to live) and do some casting in the field. The weather was cool and the place quiet with only a few joggers on the track. I found an open area and set up my rod and began casting. Within 15mins, a white car drove up next to a field and a mean looking middle age lady walked towards me. Here’s how the conversation went :

MOL(Mean Old Lady) : “Excuse me, you cannot fish here!”
Me : “You mean got fish here ah?” (OK, I was intentionally being a little facetious, but I could not help it!)
MOL : “You cannot fish here!”
Me : Mam, I am not fishing. Let me show you that there are no hooks at the end of the line and I am just practicing my cast just like a golfer practices his swing.
MOL : This field is for sports. You cannot do this here.
Me : Mam, Fly fishing is a sport and this is public property. Those joggers are outsiders, if they can come in here to jog, I can come in here to cast. And may I know who you are?
MOL : I am the principal of this JC. Please leave the premises immediately (it was obvious to me by now that this old lady does not know what fly fishing is all about)… or I have to get my staff to evict you.
Me : Mam, if you want me to leave, then you’ll have to get all the joggers to leave too. I pay taxes just like they do and I am entitled to use this premises just like they are doing.
MOL : You must leave in 5 mins or I will get my staff down (angrily walks away and drove off).

A much nicer and younger lady teacher did appear later and while she understood my point of view, I recognized that she was just doing her job and I did not want to inconvenience her, so I decided to pack and leave. She thanked me for understanding the difficult situation she’s was put into.

Well, the point is this. Do you want your children to be studying in a school whose principal is so rigid and does not even know what fly fishing is all about (despite it being portrayed so gracefully in Robert Redford’s film, “A river runs through it”?). It’s almost as good as a teacher or principal saying, “Is the America’s Cup a Soccer event?” I shudder at the thought of what the future of Singapore will be like if children grew up under such parochial tutelage. This principal was definitely a case of NUTS.

Are we like that in Phoenix Contact SE Asia? I certainly hope not. To excel in the industry and what we do, we need to be innovative(our corporate creed). We need to make creativity our culture. While we need to work within the confines of some rules and regulations, we need to question these rules and regulations and make changes when necessary. Did you think the designers of this motorcycle on the left were suffering from NUTS? Because a NUTS case would say, “But motorcycles are suppose to have 2 wheels!”

Quite frankly, I’ve seen a few examples of NUTS cases, but I’m also glad to see many other cases where NUTS is definitely not the prognosis. As a management team, we have deliberately not put in place many regulations so as to nurture the flow of creative juices among individuals. Without citing specific cases, I certainly hope that we reflect upon our past actions and see if we are indeed suffering from NUTS.

And the cure for NUTS? Well, that’s for another article.