Automation, the application of machines to tasks once performed by human beings or, increasingly, to tasks that would otherwise be impossible. Although the term mechanization is often used to refer to the simple replacement of human labour by machines, automation generally implies the integration of machines into a self-governing system. Automation has revolutionized those areas in which it has been introduced, and there is scarcely an aspect of modern life that has been unaffected by it.
In 1997, a retail entrepreneur in British Columbia named Chip Wilson was having back problems. So, like millions of people around the world, he went to a yoga class. What struck Wilson most in his first session wasn’t the poses; it was the pants. He noticed that his yoga instructor was wearing some slinky dance attire, the sort of second skin that makes a fit person’s butt look terrific. Wilson felt inspired to mass-produce this vision of posterior pulchritude. The next year, he started a yoga design-and-fashion business and opened his first store in Vancouver. It was called Lululemon.
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.
Computers can perform both sequential control and feedback control, and typically a single computer will do both in an industrial application. Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are a type of special purpose microprocessor that replaced many hardware components such as timers and drum sequencers used in relay logic type systems. General purpose process control computers have increasingly replaced stand alone controllers, with a single computer able to perform the operations of hundreds of controllers. Process control computers can process data from a network of PLCs, instruments and controllers in order to implement typical (such as PID) control of many individual variables or, in some cases, to implement complex control algorithms using multiple inputs and mathematical manipulations. They can also analyze data and create real time graphical displays for operators and run reports for operators, engineers and management.
In 2016, an anonymous confession appeared on Reddit: “From around six years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work.” As far as office confessions go, that might seem pretty tepid. But this coder, posting as FiletOFish1066, said he worked for a well-known tech company, and he really meant nothing. He wrote that within eight months of arriving on the quality-assurance job, he had fully automated his entire workload. “I am not joking. For 40 hours each week, I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse Reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past six years, I have maybe done 50 hours of real work.” When his bosses realized that he’d worked less in half a decade than most Silicon Valley programmers do in a week, they fired him.
I believe the more common (though still not necessarily correct) expression is that Quality Assurance concerns building the right thing whereas Testing is confirming it was built right. Also, I hope the coming articles distinguish functional from structural test automation and distinguish both of them from the types of tools that developers use for test-first development.
A different take on the home security camera, the SkyBell HD is a video doorbell that lets you see and speak with whoever is outside. It may look like the original SkyBell Video Doorbell we reviewed back in 2015, but that's where the similarities end. This version delivers highly detailed video at 1080p with color night vision, and captures several of seconds of footage prior to a triggered event. It also integrates with numerous third-party smart home devices, and comes with free cloud storage for recorded video, a rarity in this category.
Want complete wireless supremacy over the lights in your home? The Philips Hue line delivers with bulbs that let you control not only the intensity of the light, but also the color. It can get pricey, to be sure, but the Hue ecosystem has been around long enough that it works with just about every other system out there, from Alexa, to IFTTT, to Siri (using the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0). Not interested in colorful lights but still want that incredible granular control over an all-white bulb? Philips has the Hue White coming in at an almost bargain price, at least for smart bulbs.
Tools are specifically designed to target some particular test environment, such as Windows and web automation tools, etc. Tools serve as a driving agent for an automation process. However, an automation framework is not a tool to perform a specific task, but rather infrastructure that provides the solution where different tools can do their job in a unified manner. This provides a common platform for the automation engineer.
Test automation on the other hand is the automated execution of predefined tests. A test in that context is a sequence of predefined actions interspersed with evaluations, that James Bach calls checks. These checks are manually defined algorithmic decision rules that are evaluated on specific and predefined observation points of a software product. And herein lies the problem. If, for instance, you define an automated test of a website, you might define a check that ascertains a specific text (e.g. the headline) is shown on that website. When executing that test, this is exactly what is checked—and only this. So if your website looks like shown in the picture, your test still passes, making you think everything is ok.
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. 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. The theoretical basis of closed loop automation is control theory.
“The best way to optimize marketing automation is to connect it with a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. If your business brings in revenue by combining marketing and sales campaigns, then your system should be integrated. Connecting your marketing automation platform with your CRM will help marketers on your team connect crucial campaign strategies with the financial outcomes. This will provide your salespeople with better visibility into prospecting and leads. It also allows your marketing team to hand leads over to sales without manually exporting anything.”
Ultimately, there is no magic bullet for implementing RPA, but Srivastava says that it requires an intelligent automation ethos that must be part of the long-term journey for enterprises. "Automation needs to get to an answer — all of the ifs, thens and whats — to complete business processes faster, with better quality and at scale," Srivastava says.
The 2018 Process Control & Safety Symposium and Exhibition (PCS) returns to Houston, TX. Sponsored by the Process Measurement and Control, Safety and Security, Chemical and Petroleum, Communications, Education, Pulp and Paper, and Management Divisions of ISA and the ISA Houston Section who are teaming up to bring another world-class program, exhibit, and networking event this November.
Automation is a real issue and challenge for labor conditions from industrial to white collar jobs. There are many benefits to find in it but it also might lead to a standardization of processes. I wrote on this subject if you want more information about how automation is changing the way we get productive. http://www.beesapps.com/market-usage/business-process-automation-benefits-for-productivity/