Posted by: Harold Ennulat | January 21, 2010

Most Trusted Source Of Engineering Information.

It probably is no surprise who we trust the most when it comes to selecting equipment and strategies that work for projects we have responsibility for.

Here are the results from an ongoing informal LinkedIn Poll by Russ Pratt in the “Automation & Controls” group.

I found it interesting that while vendors play a huge role in helping us find and select equipment, they are the least trusted.  Interesting, but not surprising.  The desire for vendors to make a sale can trump their knowledge of whether something actually works better then some other solution.  This poll would indicate that engineers recognize this bias.

Our own experience wasn’t one of the options, but I would expect that this is what we trust the most.  However our knowledge is never complete, so we need input from others quite often.  Peers are the most trusted source of information for what works and how well it works. 

The internet is playing a huge role in our decision making.  I can certainly attest to this.  When I recently went to buy a couple of new external hard drives, I went to the internet to make my selection.  There were lots of reviews available from users who actually took delivery of the products I was looking at.  I didn’t want problems, so I chose drives that users reported the least amount of problems with as well as having had a good overall experience with the vendor and the product.

We are increasingly using the internet to check out new products, to look at new companies we will or may have upcoming relationships with, and now we can lookup information about even the individuals we may be working with. 

I haven’t tried quizzing Google or a LinkedIn group for their experience with a particular PLC or Drive for example, but it would appear that this would be a good use of the professional social networking capabilities that now exist.  Mmm… Here’s a thought… Is there a search engine that puts all user comments about a particular product or experience into one search result?

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For a clearer image and/or updated poll results see Russ’s poll on line on LinkedIn.  After the page appears, click the refresh button if the graph remains unpopulated…  Also feel free to add you opinion…

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