Tuesday, January 7, 2014

T & M history, future

Greg Peters, VP Microwave Group for Keysight Technologies, nee Agilent, nee HP, has calculated that the Test and Measurement Group of Hewlett-Packard (the ORIGINAL goal for you history buffs) spawned six other 'companies' or fields of interest that have since spun out.

Greg says "we've funded other industries for 55 years now" and it'll be nice to be focused FINALLY

Keysight will be a "pure play" -- all too rare these days.  Danaher, three times as large as Agilent, and five times as large as the fledgling Keysight, is a conglomerate.  Their T*M group has a laughable line in its description (in red):
Our Test & Measurement segment is a leading, global provider of electronic measurement instruments and monitoring, management and optimization tools for communications and enterprise networks and related services. Our products are used in the design, development, manufacture, installation, deployment and operation of electronics equipment and communications networks and services. Customers for our products and services include manufacturers of electronic instruments; service, installation and maintenance professionals; network equipment manufacturers who design, develop, manufacture and install network equipment and service providers who implement, maintain and manage communications networks and services. Also included in our Test and Measurement segment are our mobile tool and wheel service businesses.

Wheel Services?  

I've recently been working with Arnold Thackray, the noted technology historian who founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and wrote the definitive work about Arnold Beckman.  He notes that Beckman was even more peripatetic than Dave Packard (the two were long-time competitors and in actuality pretty good friends).  Beckman managed to go in a zillion directions, including the world's most successful computers in the 1950s and the funding of Shockley Labs, which was accidentally moved to Palo Alto from Pasadena when Shockley's mother became quite ill.

Thackray's view mirrors Greg Peters' view (and mine as well) that the tools these companies began with have never been given their proper due for their role in creating the modern world we inhabit, whether it be from medical diagnostics or food safety, communications backbone or transport.  Maybe Keysight will be the vehicle to give voice to that infrastructural contribution.

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