Automation Technology Uses & Options
Our world has long used technology to perform tasks with minimal human intervention. We’ve been doing this for thousands of years, although it didn’t really explode until the industrial revolution of the mid-eighteenth century. And in the twenty-first century, we’re in the heart of a new wave of Automation Technology with no end in sight.
“Automation is the creation and application of technologies to produce and deliver goods and services with minimal human intervention.” – techopedia.com
As exciting as we find new tech, we also know there are valid concerns. Like what happens to the employees left behind when software and robots take over production and service jobs? We’ve long maintained that Automation Technology exists to supplement human work, not remove it from the equation.
The reality is, we’re in the midst of another transformation of the division of labour between mechanical systems and human beings. What we ask computers and machines to do for us will be our decision, to some extent. Certain tasks will still reside with people. Processes need to be monitored and corrected. Outcomes need to be supervised and evaluated.
This year, and for years to come, ‘minimal human intervention’ sounds pretty good to us. The 2020 pandemic taught us that when it comes to labour, not only do we want less contact, but there can sometimes be so much work to go around that our only option is to shut down entirely when we can’t meet new standards of health and safety.
What current problems can Automation solve in the near future? What goals do we have that a transformation can help us achieve in the long run?
Transitioning to Automation Technology
Automation can be applied to anything from a single task to an entire system. Regardless of how big your change, results can vary. Which is why we suggest making these changes over time. Automate as part of a technology transformation plan, after you’ve evaluated your needs and set meaningful, realistic expectations.
Automation Technology brings a host of benefits to new construction projects. From addressing labour shortages to the precision incorporation of BIM data, Automation can take a surprising amount of a build off-site in a pre-fabricated process.
We’re looking at a new way our built environments are constructed, one that reflects new design techniques and higher functionality standards. Picture 3D-printed structural components and Digital Twins of entire buildings.
“We estimate that about 15 to 20 percent of new building construction will be modular in the United States and Europe by 2030.” – McKinsey & Company
One of the new standards we expect to see more of is automated ordering, assistance, and delivery. These changes will be applied to retail and restaurant environments. Anywhere a staff member would previously have offered a customer assistance in person will be replaced by something automated or remotely operated.
Will this look like a drone in a storefront piloted by a customer service rep? It’s hard to say. We think solutions will be tried and tested. Some will stick and some will be passed over for new ideas. But the standard will be, keep your distance while being able to offer information and options.
Factory settings are the most natural fit for traditional Automation Technology. So, we expect to see this trend continue with upgrades wherever possible.
The 2020 pandemic revealed that placing people in close proximity indoors for assembly line work also produces a health risk. Workers out sick threaten the availability of the products they were creating, some of which are incredibly important. Human workers are involved in everything from processing meat to assembling electronics. And now that we’ve been given a taste of what product shortages look like, we know how essential some of the most basic manufacturing environments really are.
One of the biggest opportunities for Automation Technology to assist medical professionals is the diagnostics phase. Making scanning and testing fast, safe, easy, and accurate will revolutionize the efficiency of health care – and even more importantly – access to it.
The global shortage of doctors, nurses, and technicians will only continue to become more serious as populations rise. Imagine how 2020 could have been different if individuals had personal, home-based access to diagnostics, possibly even testing. It sounds like science fiction, but hopefully one day it won’t.
Warehousing & Shipping
Using Automation Technology makes sense in warehouse settings as both online shopping and customer expectations grow exponentially. It’s unrealistic to expect human beings to be able to pick, pack, and ship products at the pace consumers now demand. Placing these tasks in the hands of robots isn’t just more practical, it’s downright humane.
And there will still be a role for real people in warehouse environments. Until we’re ready to hand everything from forklifts to data entry over to robots, we still need human hands in these workplaces.
We know that the smart cities of the future are going to be built on Automation Technology. To run efficiently, anticipate problems, and therefore be both sustainable and reliable, we will need all the Automation we can incorporate.
Megacities, and, really, cities of all sizes, should already be looking at or transitioning to Digital Twins of water and power, sewage, and transportation. Even public safety and first responders may fall under this category in the future. We’re imagining remote fire suppression and robotic policing. And in the wake of 2020, these visions look far less dystopian than ever before.
The Beginning of Our Transformation
After the 2020 pandemic was declared – once the shock wore off of course – many people realized fairly quickly that permanent changes were coming. The measures required to deal with Covid-19 combined with the likely duration of the pandemic was going to inevitably bring about a societal shift we could expect to last for decades.
Automation Technology will not change the way we work overnight. We certainly wouldn’t recommend that path regardless. The process of adopting new software and hardware is always a process.
As the changes we cried for in 2020 come about in 2021, our world is at the beginning of that shift. Are you ready?
Automation Technology Specialists
Stambol’s team of technology enthusiasts has a breadth of expertise to offer any organization interested in applying Automation to processes and tasks. We aren’t just engineers and artists. We’re visionaries and problem-solvers that can bring a fresh perspective to whatever pain points you need to alleviate in the coming decade. Ask our team how Automation Technology could change the way you do business, for the better, improving results and stabilizing your foundations.
Feature Image Credit: Blue Planet Studio / Adobe Stock