Self-automators show that coders are in a unique position to negotiate with employers over which automation-derived gains—like shorter workweeks and greater flexibility to pursue work that interests them—should be kept by workers. There’s little evidence of any interest in doing so, but theoretically, self-automators could organize, and distribute automation techniques among middle- and working-class coders, giving rising to an industry that could actually enjoy that 15-hour workweek. It seems a rare opportunity—perhaps, with the advance of AI, one of the last—to try to set the terms for a mode of automation that puts people first.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the research and development of automated visual surveillance and monitoring (VSAM) program, between 1997 and 1999, and airborne video surveillance (AVS) programs, from 1998 to 2002. Currently, there is a major effort underway in the vision community to develop a fully automated tracking surveillance system. Automated video surveillance monitors people and vehicles in real time within a busy environment. Existing automated surveillance systems are based on the environment they are primarily designed to observe, i.e., indoor, outdoor or airborne, the amount of sensors that the automated system can handle and the mobility of sensor, i.e., stationary camera vs. mobile camera. The purpose of a surveillance system is to record properties and trajectories of objects in a given area, generate warnings or notify designated authority in case of occurrence of particular events.
An HR service provider from Europe was processing 2,500 sick leave certificates per month with an average handling time of four minutes per item. Within three weeks they implemented an RPA solution and achieved 90% process automation. The RPA robot extracts data from a transaction in SAP, inserts the information into the customer’s systems, and prints it. The HR service provider achieved a return-on-investment within six months, with error rates reduced to 0%, manual effort reduced to 5%, and processing time reduced by 80%.
The enterprise RPA market is growing at a CAGR of 65%, from nascent in 2016 to $3 billion in 2021. Likely higher. By 2021, Forrester estimates there will be more than 4 million robots doing office and administrative work as well as sales and related tasks. If adoption continues at this pace, how soon do you think RPA will achieve near-universal adoption? Time to act is now.
BPAs can be implemented in a number of business areas including marketing, sales and workflow. Toolsets vary in sophistication, but there is an increasing trend towards the use of artificial intelligence technologies that can understand natural language and unstructured data sets, interact with human beings, and adapt to new types of problems without human-guided training. BPA providers tend to focus on different industry sectors but their underlying approach tends to be similar in that they will attempt to provide the shortest route to automation by exploiting the user interface layer rather than going deeply into the application code or databases sitting behind them. They also simplify their own interface to the extent that these tools can be used directly by non-technically qualified staff. The main advantage of these toolsets is therefore their speed of deployment, the drawback is that it brings yet another IT supplier to the organization.