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.
Home automation is exactly what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive. Others, like advanced surveillance cameras, may require a more serious investment of time and money.
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.

The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.
Rather than spending weeks at the end of the development cycle going through a hardening phase, you want to run automated tests that take a fraction of the time and run regression tests with each build. Unfortunately, many organizations start at the user interface layer, which delivers the smallest return on investment. This is where Mike Cohn's test automation pyramid concept can help. Follow this guide to get the most bang for your buck as you get started with test automation.
Ashok Gudibandla, CEO at Automate.io, notes, “Automation of business processes is of course constantly evolving. It requires alignment of people, processes, and technology. Each part is a challenge. We are experts at the last part, technology (software/systems/AI). The big challenge here is that with more and more systems (email, marketing, sales, customer service, payments) moving to the cloud, there is a fragmentation of data and processes, with each department using their own siloed tools. Automating processes across departments is a big challenge. 

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.


I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.
QA ensures that no code is created without a requirement; that all code is reviewed -- and approved -- before final testing can begin; and that the tests that will run are planned upfront and are actually run. The company defines its work process model and someone in a QA role either checks off each step, or, perhaps, audits after the fact to make sure the team performed each step and checked the right boxes.

^ Jump up to: a b "INTERKAMA 1960 - Dusseldorf Exhibition of Automation and Instruments" (PDF). Wireless World. 66 (12): 588–589. December 1960. Retrieved 2018-06-18. […] Another point noticed was the widespread use of small-package solid-state logic (such as "and," "or," "not") and instrumentation (timers, amplifiers, etc.) units. There would seem to be a good case here for the various manufacturers to standardise practical details such as mounting, connections and power supplies so that a Siemens "Simatic (de)," say, is directly interchangeable with an Ateliers des Constructions Electronique de Charleroi "Logacec," a Telefunken "Logistat," or a Mullard "Norbit" or "Combi-element." […]


Take the realm of elder care, in which robotics manufacturers see great potential for automation. This isn’t often treated as a nuanced or a particularly intellectual line of human work. We were struck, therefore, by a recent essay by the teacher, coach, and blogger Heather Plett. She wrote of her mother’s palliative care provider, “She was holding space for us,” and explained: “What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”
Jones defines BDD as the process where teams use domain-specific language to express the expected behavior of an application through scenarios. She points out that this is not magic - there is automation code involved in the process - but that BDD is ideal for developers and testers sharing automation work. Specialized tools like Cucumber, the most popular open source tool for automation code integration, executes this work and is the tool of choice for Jones.

A final example of automation is for customer support. SiriusDecisions reports that about 64 percent of a salesperson’s time goes to administrative tasks instead of selling, and 73 percent of customer support professionals say that the most challenging part of their job is managing time and workload. Automation can minimize the burnout for these professionals by enabling them to concentrate on the higher-level functions that touch your customers.


Chandra Kandukuri is a Technical Test Lead at Microsoft with more than 16 years of software development experience in multiple environments, developing automation frameworks and tools. He advocates the use of TDD and dedicating the time and resources to do it well. Although it is relatively uncommon to see teams utilize TDD in his experience, Kandukuri recommends the method with automated software testing because of the positive teamwork habits it can promote.


The legendary thoroughbred trainer D. Wayne Lukas can’t articulate exactly how he manages to see the potential in a yearling. He just does. Apple’s revered designer Jonathan Ive can’t download his taste to a computer. Ricky Gervais makes people laugh at material a machine would never dream up. Do they all use computers in their daily work lives? Unquestionably. But their genius has been to discover the ineffable strengths they possess and to spend as much time as possible putting them to work. Machines can perform numerous ancillary tasks that would otherwise encroach on the ability of these professionals to do what they do best.
Or, you can even automate 90% of your customer support, if you do some research. You can combine a list of frequently asked questions about the software & identify several keywords that are mentioned. Then, create separate messages you could send to the users whenever they complain about the keyword, and voila! There goes most of your customer support work.
Z-Wave and Zigbee are the two most popular wireless technologies, using RF to communicate between devices. These technologies are licensed out, meaning any number of companies can create their own products using Z-Wave and Zigbee technology. As a result (for the most part) all Z-Wave devices can work with each and all Zigbee devices can work together - regardless of brand. A Hub, or other Z-Wave interfaces will be required for smartphone control or voice control of Z-Wave products.

The Obama White House has pointed out that every 3 months "about 6 percent of jobs in the economy are destroyed by shrinking or closing businesses, while a slightly larger percentage of jobs are added".[98] A recent MIT economics study of automation in the United States from 1990 to 2007 found that there may be a negative impact on employment and wages when robots are introduced to an industry. When one robot is added per one thousand workers, the employment to population ratio decreases between 0.18–0.34 percentages and wages are reduced by 0.25–0.5 percentage points. During the time period studied, the US did not have many robots in the economy which restricts the impact of automation. However, automation is expected to triple (conservative estimate) or quadruple (generous estimate) leading these numbers to become substantially higher.[99]

The first and most obvious beneficiaries of this approach are “smart” devices and appliances that can be connected to a local area network, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. However, electrical systems and even individual points, like light switches and electrical outlets, were also integrated into home automation networks, and businesses have even explored the potential of IP-based inventory tracking. Although the day is still far off when you’ll be able to use your mobile browser to track down a lost sock, home networks are capable of including an increasing number of devices and systems.
 A business process is often started by a trigger, such as the filing of an expense report, which initiates a set of predefined workflow steps, or processes, that conclude with the employee receiving reimbursement. The goal of BPA is to not only automate business processes, but to simplify and improve business workflows as well. BPA can be a standalone initiative or part of a larger, overarching business process management (BPM) strategy.
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