CIA Goes Undercover

May 3, 2008
Control Design Sends Its Undercover Agents to Uncover What's Behind Their I/O Systems Market Inteligence Report
By Katherine Bonfante, Managing Editor, Digital Media

It’s a bird. It’s a plane.

It’s Control Design’s undercover agents?

That’s right. The Control Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent out its best team of undercover agents to get right to the bottom of  I/O system use by our machine builder audience.

Our agents put together what we think is an informative and entertaining video, “Market Intelligence Report: I/O Systems,” which is the first of our 2008 intelligence reports. You can watch it by visiting

When it comes to machine builder technology information, Control Design has proved to be a leader, and who else would be better to get to the bottom of this?

In this video we cover topics such as I/O location, signal requirements, controller technology, connectivity and annual spending. The main question we want to answer is how machine builders are using I/O systems in today’s world.

The video opens with a client entering Control Intelligence Agency headquarters, where Agent M and Agent B are standing by to answer the client’s questions.

  • Are machine builders using remote or centralized I/O?
  • What kind of signals are system integrators using with their I/O modules—digital or analog?
  • How much money are users spending on I/O systems each year?
  • How are users connecting their I/O?

Our undercover agents travel great distances, investigating and learning how machine builders use I/O systems. In February 2008, we involved nearly 150 machine builders. The I/O system users we questioned represent every major market segment in Machine Builder Nation.

Agent M and Agent B learned that I/O systems are primarily centralized but some do have remote capabilities.

Ninety percent of respondents said their I/O systems are DIN-rail mounted in enclosures, and more than a third of those polled have digital signal requirements for their systems. However, half of the respondents have a mix of digital and analog requirements for their I/O systems.

Furthermore, 76 % of respondents said they use PLC controller technologies, and 83% reported that they are using hardwiring to connect their I/O systems.

Most importantly, 33% of I/O system users spend more than $100,000 on their I/O systems per year.

If you haven’t watched this video, stop by Control Design’s multimedia library and watch it now.

This is just a snippet of our findings, but by watching the “Market Intelligence Report: I/O Systems” video, you’ll learn the entire in-depth results our undercover field agents put together.

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