Keynote Speaker Explores The Meaning of eChem Theme
The 2018 edition of eChem Expo began with an Eastman Chemical Company executive’s interpretation of what she called “a whole lot of words” contained in the theme for the event. The theme urged attendees to “Safely accelerate innovation, improve agility and increase productivity for sustainable business growth.”
What all that means became clearer when Jan Shumate, Eastman director of worldwide engineering and construction services and solutions and a member of the event’s planning team, explained her take on that theme during the Keynote Panel that kicked off the gathering.
She began by showing a picture of a phone booth on the conference-room screen and asking if anyone in the audience would like to have one for free – or if everyone even knew what it was. Not many takers expressed an interest in owning one of the antiquated artifacts of an earlier era of communication.
She began by showing a picture of a phone booth and asking if anyone in the audience knew what it was.
“That was the first step toward mobile communication,” Shumate said of the phone booth. Phone booths didn’t always smell so good and weren’t always placed where users needed them, so the next step seemed like a big improvement – the brick phone. Those were the first cell phones, and they seem gigantic by today’s standards.
“Battery life was maybe an hour, and you probably kept it plugged in while you were using it,” she said of those first big cell phones. “You could carry it around in its own briefcase and take it anywhere you wanted to go,” she noted. “You still needed to carry your regular briefcase, too.”
The flip phone represented the next advancement and had the great advantages of fitting into a user’s hand and of taking up only a little space in a briefcase, Shumate maintained. “You could talk all you wanted on it,” she said of flip phones, “but that was about all that you could do.”
“That path of innovation in telephone mobility parallels what happens at the eChem Expo exhibit booths and information sessions”
Eastman director of worldwide engineering and construction services and solutions
Next came devices like Blackberries
that added written communication to voice communication and had faces nearly filled with buttons. Shumate continued. It took the advent of the smartphone to advance beyond a mere communication device by putting GPS, a set of encyclopedias and the contents of a four-story library building into the palm of a user’s hand.
But smartphones remain susceptible to breakage or water damage so the magic of cloud backup became important, Shumate said. Now, users can even wear the functionality of a smartphone on their wrists, she noted.
That path of innovation in telephone mobility parallels what happens at the eChem Expo exhibit booths and information sessions, Shumate said. Attendees can use the event to find the next steps that will move process plants forward to a sustainable new business model, she maintained.