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Take a bow: Paul Kellett to retire from AIA

The AIA's director of market analysis, Paul Kellett, is set to retire at the end of January 2013 after nine years in the industry. A well-known and well-respected figure, he gave his last market update for North America at the Vision show in Stuttgart on 7 November. He will be replaced by Alex Shikany, who has joined the A3, the umbrella body of the AIA, and will work with Kellett up until he retires.

Kellett joined the AIA in 2003. ‘I’ve served the MV industry for about nine years,’ he said, speaking to Imaging and Machine Vision Europe. ‘That’s not very long by industry standards. But despite that short time, much has transpired. The market dynamism the industry has experienced has been great due to the fast pace of technological advancement coming from within and outside the industry.’

Kellett commented that during the last nine years he has seen advances in technology to the point where cameras and components are now smaller and more powerful. There has also been a broadening in the categorisation of machine vision, he said, and the AIA is now focused on advancing vision and imaging in general, as opposed to that purely for the factory. Standardisation within the industry has also improved.

Kellett said that the strong value proposition of machine vision has seen sales steadily increase in an upward trend, albeit with some fluctuations such as during the most recent recession when the North American vision market temporarily shrunk by nearly one-third. He noted that the value of machine vision has allowed it to enter new geographic markets, such as the BRIC countries, and new markets based on emerging technologies, such as flat panel displays, solar panels, advanced batteries, and high-tech security.

Before joining the AIA, Kellett was principal analyst at Accuture Telecom Research, a company he founded, and, prior to that, he was senior director of market analysis at Pioneer Consulting. Most of his career was spent in the telecom industry.

Jeff Burnstein, president of AIA, commented on Kellett’s time at the AIA: ‘His unique ability to understand and clearly communicate industry trends, and tie them into global economic trends, has resulted in highly-accurate assessments of the market that AIA members and others have used in order to make strategic business decisions.’

Kellett also performed similar analysis of the robotics and motion control industries for AIA’s sister trade groups, Robotic Industries Association and the Motion Control Association. ‘Together, his work has created what we believe is the world’s most accurate picture of the North American automation market,’ Burnstein added. ‘All of us at AIA wish Paul well in his retirement.’

Asked about the future of the machine vision market, Kellett stated: ‘Looking forward, I predict that the MV industry will continue to do quite well. Long-term, sales volumes will grow ineluctably.’ He feels machine vision will become simpler to set up, with improvements in standardisation and interoperability between components making it easier to build a vision system. ‘In this way, MV will follow the example of the PC industry – one day we will also have plug-and-play, where different components can be easily linked. And when this happens, MV will leave no segment of society untouched.’

Kellett plans to spend his retirement pursuing his varied interests, which include art and design, community work, short story writing and financial management. He commented: ‘I must also say that while I look forward to retirement, I will miss very much the good people with whom I’ve worked and have served. They have enriched my life beyond description and for that I am very grateful.’

Alex Shikany, Kellett’s replacement, is currently working with him until Kellett retires at the end of January 2013.


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