With most emerging technologies focusing on automation, I’ve decided to share some insights on working with automation—or more accurately—how you can succeed in such initiatives. This is Part One in a series of three articles. This introduction will share some thoughts about what “automation technology” is—and what technologies we can expect to see in the coming years.

Automation: Streamlining and simplifying your systems

Automation is about streamlining and simplifying work processes. This can be done by implementing intelligence into existing systems, or by replacing entire processes. Some of these systems will be autonomous. This means that they operate without human interactions (self-driving cars), and some will support people with better, faster, and more analytical information (diagnostic doctor support).

The latest and trendy types of automation technologies began developing slowly, but they are actually moving towards what we saw in movies about the future in the 1980s. For example, in “Back to the Future,” we saw VR glasses, video calls, fingerprint recognition, and more. Unfortunately, the flying car is yet to come.

From a Nokia 3210 to a Smartphone—But in way less time

There is little doubt that automation technology will affect what types of jobs people will possess. One of the things that will affect us most is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is expected to drastically change our everyday lives. This is also something we see in automation—and can be compared with jumping from a Nokia 3210 to today’s smartphones. Currently, automation technologies are good at well-defined tasks, while newer technologies will be capable of thinking, feeling, and performing tasks based on information from, Big Data.

This means that the technology will be capable of replacing people within given areas when its potential is truly realized. This is a fact many choose to ignore because of uncertainty about their own positions—and uncertainty about how the future will look. Others choose to seize the concept and are inspired by the future. After all, that was what made “Back to the Future” so good—all the cool technologies they predicted in years to come.

So what are we going to see in automation technology in the future? According to Forrester’s TechRadar, we have 12 prominent technologies today. Some are still in the development stage and are currently being researched, while some need to be taken from the concept stage to actual-use technologies—and some are already widely used in today’s market.

Even the successful automation technology solutions of today require a huge overhaul to remain relevant

Technologies in the development stage are still facing major technical challenges that need to be mastered before they can succeed. These include Customer Service Robots, Delivery Robots, Executable AI, and Inspection and Surveillance Robots. In the concept stage (and slowly moving to implementation), for example, we have Virtual Assistants, Cognitive AI, Artificially Intelligent Solutions, Retail and Warehouse Robot, and Sensory AI, which all need to be further developed into usable technologies. The technologies that have a strong presence in today’s market are Customer Self-Service Solutions, Industrial Robots, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These technologies all need a renewal if they want to be competitive in the future.

In the next part of this series, I will elaborate on how these technologies will change the job market and how people work. But don’t worry… Automation is here to help you perform better—not replace you.

Click the link below to read the other blog in this series:

How do you really succeed with Automation Technology? Part 3 of 3