Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards[25][26][27][28][29][30] a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard.[31] Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.[32]
With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.
Amazon is testing delivery drones that pick up warehouse orders sorted by robots, Google is testing self-driving cars, Starbucks is testing cashier-free stores dedicated to mobile ordering and payment, and Facebook is testing a brain-computer interface that may one day translate thoughts into digital text. There are mundane versions of automation technology behind all of this testing — software automation testing. Companies use automation technology to create the software responsible for the products and services causing all the hype.
In 1932, Bertrand Russell wrote that “a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by the belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.” In 2018, that might mean self-automators’ reclaiming parts of their workday; tomorrow it could mean working to secure automated gains for the masses. “I worry quite a bit that there really isn’t enough work to go around for everyone to work full-time,” Todd Hilehoffer says. Gary, the early-’90s self-automator, asked me, “Why is earning money for stockholders more important than employee quality of life? The system shouldn’t be more important than the individuals who helped make that system relevant.”
Those capable of stepping in know how to monitor and modify the work of computers. Taxes may increasingly be done by computer, but smart accountants look out for the mistakes that automated programs—and the programs’ human users—often make. Ad buying in digital marketing is almost exclusively automated these days, but only people can say when some “programmatic” buy would actually hurt the brand and how the logic behind it might be tuned.
Automation has been achieved by various means including mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, electronic devices and computers, usually in combination. Complicated systems, such as modern factories, airplanes and ships typically use all these combined techniques. The benefit of automation include labor savings, savings in electricity costs, savings in material costs, and improvements to quality, accuracy and precision.

In the near future, home automation may be standardized to let us truly take advantage of all of these additional possibilities. For the time being, the home security providers that specialize in home automation have focused on the most critical and useful parts of a connected home. At a basic level, this means the doors and windows and environmental devices (thermostat, smoke detectors, temperature, humidity, fire and carbon dioxide sensors) that keep you safe and comfortable. For additional real-time security, convenience and control, home automation systems from security providers should also include options for video cameras. With the best systems, you’ll also be able to include lights and individual electrical outlets into your home automation package.
Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor in Management and Information Technology at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and a senior adviser at Deloitte Analytics. Author of over a dozen management books, his latest is Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines. 

Likewise, a Feedback Control System is a system which tends to maintain a prescribed relationship of one system variable to another by comparing functions of these variables and using the difference as a means of control.[6] The advanced type of automation that revolutionized manufacturing, aircraft, communications and other industries, is feedback control, which is usually continuous and involves taking measurements using a sensor and making calculated adjustments to keep the measured variable within a set range.[7][8] The theoretical basis of closed loop automation is control theory.


The promise of automation, touted by optimistic economists and sanguine futurists, has been that yielding work to machines would eliminate the drudgery of mindless, repetitive labor, freeing humans to fill our days with leisure, creative pursuits, or more dynamic work. In 1930, John Maynard Keynes famously speculated that “automatic machinery and the methods of mass production” would help deliver a 15-hour workweek—and even those hours would only be necessary to help men feel they had something to do.
Automation of homes and home appliances is also thought to impact the environment, but the benefits of these features are also questioned. A study of energy consumption of automated homes in Finland showed that smart homes could reduce energy consumption by monitoring levels of consumption in different areas of the home and adjusting consumption to reduce energy leaks (such as automatically reducing consumption during the nighttime when activity is low). This study, along with others, indicated that the smart home’s ability to monitor and adjust consumption levels would reduce unnecessary energy usage. However, new research suggests that smart homes might not be as efficient as non-automated homes. A more recent study has indicated that, while monitoring and adjusting consumption levels does decrease unnecessary energy use, this process requires monitoring systems that also consume a significant amount of energy. This study suggested that the energy required to run these systems is so much so that it negates any benefits of the systems themselves, resulting in little to no ecological benefit.[54]
While programmers are waiting for feedback, they start the next thing, which leads to multitasking. Eventually, someone re-skins the user interface, and, unless there is some sort of business logic layer in the tool, all checks will fail and you will be left with no easy way to revise the system. In an attempt to just get done, teams revert to human exploration, the automation becomes even more out of date, and, eventually, it will be thrown away.

This is a more fun way to keep track of the food you eat. MealLogger is a photo food journal which helps you keep yourself accountable by sharing a photo of your meal with others. It is a unique app that connects you directly with a health professional, usually a registered dietitian. You snap a photo of what you eat, add a brief description and upload it to your account. The nutrition coach will then review your meal online, providing advice and guidance to improve your diet. Having a pictorial evidence of how you’re feeding yourself, is a great way to maintain proper portion sizes and can help to stop overeating and snacking.
Considering all of its shortcomings, we are lucky that testing existing functionality isn’t really testing. As we said before, real testing is questioning each and every aspect and underlying assumption of the product. Existing functionality has already endured that sort of testing. Although it might be necessary to re-evaluate assumptions that were considered valid at the time of testing, this is typically not necessary before every release and certainly not continuously. Testing existing functionality is not really testing. It is called regression testing, and although it sounds the same, regression testing is to testing like pet is to carpet—not at all related. The goal of regression testing is merely to recheck that existing functionality still works as it did at the time of the actual testing. So regression testing is about controlling the changes of the behaviour of the software. In that regard it has more to do with version control than with testing. In fact, one could say that regression testing is the missing link between controlling changes of the static properties of the software (configuration and code) and controlling changes of the dynamic properties of the software (the look and behaviour). Automated tests simply pin those dynamic properties down and transform them to a static artefact (e.g. a test script), which again can be governed by current version control systems.
Phenomenally successful and for good reason, MyFitnessPal app makes it incredibly easy to log your meals and snacks, either by searching for them or scanning product barcodes. It has a huge database of more than 5 million foods and you can save and re-use your logged meals. The app allows you to set goals and displays simple but clear graphs to give you a visual report of your progress.  You can also connect with friends and family for extra encouragement, join forums and swap tips with the community.
Of all the food trackers I tested, MFP has hands-down the largest database of foods it will automatically fill in nutrition information for you — to the tune of 5 million foods, according to the MFP web site. Every food and ingredient you can think of is pre-loaded, so you’ll be doing minimal manual data entry, if any at all. I’m sure there’s something out there that MFP doesn’t have stats on, but so far, everything I’ve searched for is in there and populates with one click. My Lemon Cookie Collagen Protein Bar was in there, but not the other apps I tested.
A growing trend in software development is the use of unit testing frameworks such as the xUnit frameworks (for example, JUnit and NUnit) that allow the execution of unit tests to determine whether various sections of the code are acting as expected under various circumstances. Test cases describe tests that need to be run on the program to verify that the program runs as expected.
“We have introduced the Plustek eScan stand-alone scanning kiosk to several companies where people need to quickly convert paper documents into digital ones. This scanner allows them to log in and send the information to preset locations at the touch of a button. This not only saves a ton of time, but also provides the ultimate secure solution because the user cannot send the files to another location, either intentionally or by accident.
Another term for this kind of automation is something Michael Bolton and James Bach call checking, a decision rule that can be interpreted by an algorithm as pass or fail. Computers can do this kind of work, and do it well. Having check automation run at the code level -- unit tests -- or user interface level can vastly improve quality and catch obvious errors quickly before a human even looks at the software.
An early development of sequential control was relay logic, by which electrical relays engage electrical contacts which either start or interrupt power to a device. Relays were first used in telegraph networks before being developed for controlling other devices, such as when starting and stopping industrial-sized electric motors or opening and closing solenoid valves. Using relays for control purposes allowed event-driven control, where actions could be triggered out of sequence, in response to external events. These were more flexible in their response than the rigid single-sequence cam timers. More complicated examples involved maintaining safe sequences for devices such as swing bridge controls, where a lock bolt needed to be disengaged before the bridge could be moved, and the lock bolt could not be released until the safety gates had already been closed.
“Another common mistake is trying to get testers to do both jobs, so when management gives the go ahead for automation testing, any QA related job these days requires some level of automation and testers might get excited about the potential for test automation. But these are both full-time jobs, so often times [these] teams struggle with deciding what to spend limited time on.”
There are many ways to track your sleep these days, from fitness trackers to smartwatches, but perhaps nothing is better suited for the job than your mattress itself. At least, that's the idea behind Sleep Number's 360 Smart Bed, which incorporates biometric sensors to help you snooze better. You use an app on your smartphone to view your sleep trends and health metrics, and to gain insight on how you can sleep better. It's a hefty investment, but if you have the money to spend, the 360 Smart Bed is a comfortable, effective, and highly customizable way to improve your quality of sleep.
With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.
“I think we are going to see BPA take a different shape in the near future. We are going to see a more mainstream adoption of AI that will allow for deviation from a binary process. There are applications out there now that can handle a lot of these tasks. However, due to financial constraints, the adoption at smaller companies is extremely difficult. As the technology becomes more developed and the cost comes down, artificial intelligence will be far more mainstream.”
Crispin and Gregory define Test-Driven Development (TDD) as the process of writing and automating small unit tests before writing the piece of code that will make the test pass. TDD is used for continuous integration testing to ensure small units of code work together first. A unit test verifies the behavior of a small part of the code in the overall system. These tests are the primary candidate for the majority of automated tests. Even teams that are not practicing Agile development use TDD to prevent defects and design software (Agile Testing, 2008).

Automated software testing is becoming more and more important for many software projects in order to automatically verify key functionality, test for regressions and help teams run a large number of tests in a short period of time. Many teams (especially larger projects) still require a significant amount of manual functional testing in addition to automated testing, either because of the lack of sufficient resources or skills to automate all tests.
This one is the most detailed app I came across. To give you an idea — not only does it track your protein, but you can see how much of each of 12 amino acids you’re getting — and that’s just the basic version of the app. If you’re the type to wonder how much zeaxanthin you ate last week, and whether you’ve had enough electrolytes to get through a 10K, this one’s for you.
“Selenium is the go-to UI automation tool. The other credible open source tools are essentially a wrap-around tool around Selenium. For web service testing, I prefer REST Assured. SoapUI is another option used frequently and offers a professional version in addition to open source. Testing G and Junit are popular for verification tools. For BDD, Cucumber and Specflow are popular with the Microsoft stack of development tools.”

Once you start to understand the possibilities of home automation scheduling, you can come up with any number of useful and creative solutions to make your life better. Is that west-facing window letting in too much light? Plug your motorized blinds into a “smart” outlet and program it to close at noon each day. Do you have someone come by at the same time each day to walk the dog? Program your home automation system to unlock the front door for them, and lock it up again when they’re done.


RPA is often propped up as a mechanism to bolster return on investment or reduce costs. But Kris Fitzgerald, CTO of NTT Data Services, says more CIOs should use it to improve customer experience. For example, enterprises such as airlines employ thousands of customer service agents, yet customers are still waiting in the queue to have their call fielded. A chatbot, could help alleviate some of that wait. “You put that virtual agent in there and there is no downtime, no out sick and no bad attitude,” Fitzgerald says. “The client experience is the flag to hit.”
The costs of automation to the environment are different depending on the technology, product or engine automated. There are automated engines that consume more energy resources from the Earth in comparison with previous engines and vice versa.[citation needed] Hazardous operations, such as oil refining, the manufacturing of industrial chemicals, and all forms of metal working, were always early contenders for automation.[dubious – discuss][citation needed]
What if we were to reframe the situation? What if, rather than asking the traditional question—What tasks currently performed by humans will soon be done more cheaply and rapidly by machines?—we ask a new one: What new feats might people achieve if they had better thinking machines to assist them? Instead of seeing work as a zero-sum game with machines taking an ever greater share, we might see growing possibilities for employment. We could reframe the threat of automation as an opportunity for augmentation.

RPA is a relatively easy entry-level strategy into digital automation of back-office processes. One consultant described RPA tools for structured digital processes as a “gateway drug” for other cognitive technologies.  RPA is easy to configure and implement, and small implementations may not even require an expert consultant or much help from a vendor. RPA is particularly well suited to working across multiple back-end systems and doesn’t require re-architecting of those systems.   It typically brings a quick and high return on investment.
When it comes to business process automation efforts, our experts from around the web give several recommendations for how to get started. Some say that the projects are only successful if you initially approach them from the position of the desired outcome. Others recommend automating first, then figuring out the processes. Some claim that a full map and model of your processes are required prior to any automation. Experts also extol the virtue of having your business leaders on board, even as part of the team. Finally, they emphasize that you should improve all your processes (not just the automated ones) to maximize usefulness. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.
Automation of homes and home appliances is also thought to impact the environment, but the benefits of these features are also questioned. A study of energy consumption of automated homes in Finland showed that smart homes could reduce energy consumption by monitoring levels of consumption in different areas of the home and adjusting consumption to reduce energy leaks (such as automatically reducing consumption during the nighttime when activity is low). This study, along with others, indicated that the smart home’s ability to monitor and adjust consumption levels would reduce unnecessary energy usage. However, new research suggests that smart homes might not be as efficient as non-automated homes. A more recent study has indicated that, while monitoring and adjusting consumption levels does decrease unnecessary energy use, this process requires monitoring systems that also consume a significant amount of energy. This study suggested that the energy required to run these systems is so much so that it negates any benefits of the systems themselves, resulting in little to no ecological benefit.[54]
Have you ever bought a product because of the experience even though you could probably get it cheaper somewhere else? Or driven out of your way to go to a store that has a better atmosphere? You’re not alone. In fact, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, no matter the product or service. Creating the best customer experience for every customer is where composers come into play and it’s why it is one of the job categories that will thrive with automation.
The latest Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller gives you control over eight or 16 zones depending on the unit you get, with a master valve terminal for systems that have one. It won't water the lawn if it's raining, and you can turn it on and off remotely with your phone. Plus, it integrates with lots of other services and devices like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.
With automation, processes can perform in ways that optimize the amount of human support needed. This shift—moving the burden of processes from humans to technology—has the potential to redesign the way work gets done within an enterprise. Simple automation of processes can eliminate errors, reduce biases and perform transactional work in a fraction of the time it takes humans. And with the application of artificial intelligence, these point robotic process fixes have now evolved into intelligent interactions and processes.
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