NI’s Cofounder, James Truchard, Ph.D., explains his vision for software-based measurement and control systems during NIWeek 2013.

Flow Control was in attendance at National Instruments’ annual NIWeek event last month in Austin, Texas. The conference was NI’s largest to date, with more than 4,000 total attendees, 250 technical presentations, and 300 partner companies on site. The underlying theme focused on the continued rise of what NI calls “cyber-physical systems” and the value of a software-based approach for systems design in the modern age. During the course of the week, NI touted its expanded vision for software-based systems design and how the latest iteration of its LabVIEW development platform helps enable this vision.

During his opening-day keynote address, NI’s President, CEO and Cofounder, James Truchard, Ph.D., discussed how virtual systems will continue to displace traditional analog devices and what this trend will mean for a range of industries going forward. “We’re seeing the idea of ubiquitous computing and real-time systems becoming center stage to the next industrial revolution,” said Truchard. “We feel like we’ve got the technology that can really help redefine how industry works, with the power and capability to do the sophisticated measurements that are needed and do the sophisticated control as well.”

LabVIEW is at the center of NI’s vision for the future of industrial systems design, and the 2013 edition of the platform includes some new features NI believes will help streamline the systems design process for manufacturers. “Our major focus areas for LabVIEW 2013 included code management and documentation tools, improvements for our suite of software engineering capabilities, new deployment technologies, and support for all the awesome new hardware you’re going to see this week,” said Jon Fournie, LabVIEW R&D section manager for National Instruments, during the opening-day keynote address.

LabVIEW 2013, which was introduced during NIWeek, features simplified block diagram comment navigation and organization; updated templates, shipping examples, and online training courses; and access to the LabVIEW Tools Network, a resource of third-party add-ons.

In addition to LabVIEW 2013, NI introduced cDAQ-9188XT, an eight-slot Ethernet chassis designed for distributed or remote measurement in extreme environments (-40 C to 70 C, 50 g of shock, 5 g of vibration); cRIO-9068 software-designed controller, which is completely redesigned but maintains full NI LabVIEW and I/O compatibility with NI’s CompactRIO platform; and several additions to its NI LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, which are designed to increase user flexibility and power to meet modern automated test system challenges while reducing the total cost of test applications.

NI also announced an expanded commitment to engineering education with the release of NI myRIO, it’s latest educational product offering. Based on the same technology as the NI CompactRIO platform, myRIO is touted as a smaller and more student-friendly version of its industrial counterpart.

If you weren’t able to make it to NIWeek, there are a number of resources available at to give you feel for the goings on at the conference. Keynote addresses are also archived and viewable online at

Matt Migliore is the director of content for Flow Control magazine and He can be reached at