The technology of automation has evolved from the related field of mechanization, which had its beginnings in the Industrial Revolution. Mechanization refers to the replacement of human (or animal) power with mechanical power of some form. The driving force behind mechanization has been humankind’s propensity to create tools and mechanical devices. Some of the important historical developments in mechanization and automation leading to modern automated systems are described here.
Despite the talk that automation will end up taking our jobs, I believe that, like every other major revolution, it will create even more opportunities. People will be able to thrive in their existing roles because they have more time or in new roles that are being discovered. These categories aren’t all consumer facing roles. Some are—and you’ll be able to tap into brain power to improve your business, but some can be employee focused where you can find talent to help your employees grow. Let’s discuss three job categories that will thrive with automation.
See below for a list of popular unit testing frameworks and tools for major platforms and programming languages. These frameworks can be used by programmers to test specific functionality in libraries and applications. Unit tests can then be used to automatically test new versions and builds as part of an automated build system or deployment process.
What if all the devices in your life could connect to the internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, door bells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It's not science fiction; it's the Internet of Things (IoT), and it's a key component of home automation and smart homes.

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To do more with less, developers reused test scripts during development and integration stages to work more efficiently. The demand for new software built, and the constant change to software under development opened the door for automation testing practices to serve as a reliable control mechanism for testing the code (Automated Software Testing, 1999).
You can upgrade to Gold for $5.99 a month (less if you subscribe for six or 12 months), which gives you an ad-free experience, premium content, and even more detail. You also get advanced charts and analyses. One example is the function that shows your nutrient ratios on a scale from green to red, like your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (here’s why that matters) and your zinc to copper ratio (here’s why that matters). There’s lots of opportunity to geek out on CRON-O-meter Gold.

At some point, someone may want to change the way the code works. Some operation you call a hundred times suddenly requires that the users fill out a captcha or click a button before they can proceed, and all of the automation breaks. Fixing it requires a great deal of searching and replacing, and that could take days, while the programmers continue to move further and further ahead of you. Once this happens a few times, the test process becomes messy and expensive, and fails to deliver much value.
The post proved unusually divisive, and comments flooded in. (It’s now been viewed nearly half a million times.) Reactions were split between those who felt Etherable was cheating, or at least deceiving, the employer, and those who thought the coder had simply found a clever way to perform the job at hand. Etherable never responded to the ensuing discussion. Perhaps spooked by the attention—media outlets around the world picked up the story—the user vanished, leaving that sole contribution to an increasingly crucial conversation about who gets to automate work and on what terms.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.

Many roles for humans in industrial processes presently lie beyond the scope of automation. Human-level pattern recognition, language comprehension, and language production ability are well beyond the capabilities of modern mechanical and computer systems (but see Watson (computer)). Tasks requiring subjective assessment or synthesis of complex sensory data, such as scents and sounds, as well as high-level tasks such as strategic planning, currently require human expertise. In many cases, the use of humans is more cost-effective than mechanical approaches even where automation of industrial tasks is possible. Overcoming these obstacles is a theorized path to post-scarcity economics.

Here you might ask, Just who is augmenting whom (or what) in this situation? It’s a good moment to emphasize that in an augmentation environment, support is mutual. The human ensures that the computer is doing a good job and makes it better. This is the point being made by all those people who encourage more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. They envision a work world largely made up of stepping-in positions. But if this is your strategy, you’ll also need to develop your powers of observation, translation, and human connection.
Yet many self-automators are afraid of sharing their code outside the cubicle. Even if a program impeccably performs their job, many feel that automation for one’s own benefit is wrong. That human labor is inherently virtuous—and that employees should always maximize productivity for their employers—is more deeply coded into American work culture than any automation script could be. And most employment contracts stipulate that intellectual property developed on company time belongs to the employer. So any efficiency hack or automation gain an employee might make is apt to be absorbed by the employer, the benefits rerouted upstream.
Where home automation becomes truly “smart” is in the Internet-enabled devices that attach to this network and control it. The classic control unit is the home computer, for which many of the earlier home automation systems were designed. Today’s home automation systems are more likely to distribute programming and monitoring control between a dedicated device in the home, like the control panel of a security system, and a user-friendly app interface that can be accessed via an Internet-enabled PC, smartphone or tablet.
"This app is basically a personal nutritionist. It comes with a variety of recipes and food options to not only help you track your calories daily but to lose weight. It has a user friendly interface where you can get suggestions on foods to eat, join an online community where you can interact with others and you can search thousands of foods to get ideas of healthy eating. I love this app."
Summary: A desktop tool for load, stress and scalability testing that works with both HTML sites and rich internet applications. SmartBear LoadComplete can generate load from virtual machines, on premise computers or the cloud and offers record and replay capabilities, visual programming, a test cost simulator, distributed load testing, analytics and functional test reuse.
Home automation is nothing new, but a recent boom in smart home tech has thrust it straight into the spotlight. Smart home kits, sensors and gadgets have been a dominating presence at CES for the past two years, with big names like Apple, Google, GE and Microsoft right there in the thick of it. That's not surprising, given that market experts predict that the smart home's market share will be worth tens of billions within the next few years.
What to automate, when to automate, or even whether one really needs automation are crucial decisions which the testing (or development) team must make.[3] A multi-vocal literature review of 52 practitioner and 26 academic sources found that five main factors to consider in test automation decision are: 1) System Under Test (SUT), 2) the types and numbers of tests, 3) test-tool, 4) human and organizational topics, and 5) cross-cutting factors. The most frequent individual factors identified in the study were: need for regression testing, economic factors, and maturity of SUT.[4]
“Users of Enterprise RPA consider ease of software and robot maintenance, security and scalability to be its most important features. Integrated cognitive and machine learning for processing unstructured data is also important, as is the availability of robot operational analytics. RPA is a journey and the richness of the software speeds up that journey.”
The use of GUI applications introduced the first generation of automated test tools capable of performing record and playback functions. Testers continued to write down scenarios and test scripts, but the widespread use of GUI meant that users of an application now had multiple ways to interact with the software. Testers had to overcome this scenario, and the evolution of test automation tools gained momentum.
Approval Management – Let’s say you’re working in procurement & are ordering the new machinery. For the order to be completed, it has to go through the approval of 5 different general managers. Without automation, you’d have to hunt down each management member & ask for signatures. With approval management software, all you have to do is click “start the approval process.”
“I use Zapier to automate my outreach and collect user stories to feature in blog posts. After compiling a list of users to reach out to in a Google Sheet, I set up an automation between my Google Sheets and my Gmail. Then, every time I update a row in my Google Sheet, the system sends a personalized email to the user using a template I created. The email has a link to a Typeform survey with a couple of questions. After users submit the survey, their answers are automatically routed back to the Google Sheet. With this automation, I can spend more time crafting a piece of content and less time manually compiling the information I collect.”
It was from the automotive industry in the USA that the PLC was born. Before the PLC, control, sequencing, and safety interlock logic for manufacturing automobiles was mainly composed of relays, cam timers, drum sequencers, and dedicated closed-loop controllers. Since these could number in the hundreds or even thousands, the process for updating such facilities for the yearly model change-over was very time consuming and expensive, as electricians needed to individually rewire the relays to change their operational characteristics.
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.
No stranger to outdoor appliances, Sweden-based Husqvarna offers a variety of robot lawn mowers for yards of all shapes and sizes. We got our hands on the Automower 315X, a high-end, feature-packed model with a premium $1,999.95 price. The 315X works with a well-designed mobile app that lets you use your phone to start and stop the mower, monitor its progress, create schedules, and see where it's been on a map of your property. Its user-friendly programming options, outstanding cutting performance, and quiet operation earn it our Editors' Choice for robotic lawn mowers.
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.
This article uses the term “tester” to refer to the person involved in testing software with automation tools. It is not meant to distinguish by job title or technical proficiency. Jim Hazen describes himself as a hybrid, or “technical tester,” because he can write test scripts and develop what he refers to as “testware.” The trend is to hire for multiple skillsets, but that does not mean the non-technical stakeholders involved in software development don’t benefit from automation testing.
You can build automated business processes without a single line of code, complex formulas, or help from IT. Achieve faster progress by creating automated approval requests and automated update requests that are triggered based on preset rules. Use Smartsheet to automate and streamline the following processes: time card tracking, sales discounts, procurement, HR hiring, content, and more. Plus, Smartsheet integrates with the tools you already use, to seamlessly connect your efforts across applications.

See below for a list of popular unit testing frameworks and tools for major platforms and programming languages. These frameworks can be used by programmers to test specific functionality in libraries and applications. Unit tests can then be used to automatically test new versions and builds as part of an automated build system or deployment process.
Top software development teams around the world rely on Smartsheet to get their products to market in record time. Software development often requires collaboration across teams and functions, and Smartsheet provides a flexible solution to accommodate the different ways people work. With multiple views - traditional Grid, Gantt, Calendar, and Card - each team can work the way they want, yet remain connected on the ultimate goal. Improve visibility into work as it’s getting done across teams with Smartsheet Sights dashboards, and improve collaboration with automated workflows. Streamline new software development efforts, accelerate time to market for product launch plans, and create and manage product roadmaps, all in one intuitive platform.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.

TL;DR: Testing is a sophisticated task that requires a broad set of skills and with the means currently available cannot be automated. What can (and should) be automated is regression testing. This is what we usually refer to when we say test automation. Regression testing is not testing, but merely rechecking existing functionality. So regression testing is more like version control of the dynamic properties of the software.
An image-based automated functional testing tool that enables testers to interact with AUT the same way end users do. TestPlant eggPlant is completely different from traditional testing tools in its approach: modeling user’s point of view rather instead of the test scripts view often seen by testers. This allows testers with less programming skills to learn and apply test automation intuitively. The tool supports various platforms like Web, mobile, and POS systems. It offers lab management and CI integration as well.

LoseIt, as the name suggests, puts emphasis on losing weight. Based on your current and target weight, height, gender and desired pace of weight loss, it assigns you a daily budget for your food intake. You can scan barcodes to log meals and calculate how many calories you have burnt from a session in the gym.  The app displays green and red bars to indicate which days you hit your goals or overindulged, allowing to track your weight loss journey. LoseIt has a community forum where you can share your favorite meals and enter challenges to keep you motivated.
Where home automation becomes truly “smart” is in the Internet-enabled devices that attach to this network and control it. The classic control unit is the home computer, for which many of the earlier home automation systems were designed. Today’s home automation systems are more likely to distribute programming and monitoring control between a dedicated device in the home, like the control panel of a security system, and a user-friendly app interface that can be accessed via an Internet-enabled PC, smartphone or tablet.
With the advent of the space age in 1957, controls design, particularly in the United States, turned away from the frequency-domain techniques of classical control theory and backed into the differential equation techniques of the late 19th century, which were couched in the time domain. During the 1940s and 1950s, German mathematician Irmgard Flugge-Lotz developed the theory of discontinuous automatic control, which became widely used in hysteresis control systems such as navigation systems, fire-control systems, and electronics. Through Flugge-Lotz and others, the modern era saw time-domain design for nonlinear systems (1961), navigation (1960), optimal control and estimation theory (1962), nonlinear control theory (1969), digital control and filtering theory (1974), and the personal computer (1983).

These success factors make RPA a reasonable, low cost and lower risk entry-level approach to AI even if the technology is not very smart today.  RPA nicely lays the foundation for more intelligent applications later. And even without the potential of more intelligent RPA, the ease of implementation and rapid ROI from many RPA projects makes them worth strong consideration for almost any firm today.
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.
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RPA alone covers mostly low-value tasks, but when combined with ML and AI, it can automate higher cognitive tasks. This includes work that requires perception and judgment, sometimes intelligently automating 15-20 steps of a process. Gartner says that by 2020 the RPA market will top $1 billion, going from use in less than 10 percent of businesses to about 40 percent, and reducing the human need in service-share centers by 65 percent.
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