Home automation takes the mundane, day-to-day activities involved in managing your home and leaves them to a computer, freeing you up to kick back and relax. Once a staple of science fiction fantasies and luxury homes, over the past decade home automation has become a realistic option for the average American homeowner. With this in mind, the home-automation experts at SafeWise have put together an interactive home tour, brief history, explanation of common features, and projection of future trends unique to today’s home automation systems. Hover on the image to learn more about home automation.
Automation is already contributing significantly to unemployment, particularly in nations where the government does not proactively seek to diminish its impact. In the United States, 47% of all current jobs have the potential to be fully automated by 2033, according to the research of experts Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne. Furthermore, wages and educational attainment appear to be strongly negatively correlated with an occupation’s risk of being automated. Prospects are particularly bleak for occupations that do not presently require a university degree, such as truck driving. Even in high-tech corridors like Silicon Valley, concern is spreading about a future in which a sizable percentage of adults have little chance of sustaining gainful employment. As the example of Sweden suggests, however, the transition to a more automated future need not inspire panic, if there is sufficient political will to promote the retraining of workers whose positions are being rendered obsolete.
Robotic process automation (RPA)—typically used to automate structured, back office digital process tasks—turns out to be the opening gambit in many organizations’ digital transformation strategies. It also appears to be a precursor to artificial intelligence (AI). In a recent research project on priorities in process and performance management, APQC, a business research institute, found that RPA was a nucleus of 69 percent of digital strategies. In another survey on investments in process automation, anticipated RPA projects were right behind analytics and data management, and almost twice as likely as near-term investments in AI or intelligent automation. (See Figure 1) Only 12 percent of those APQC surveyed had no plans to invest in any of these technologies in 2018.
Agent-assisted automation refers to automation used by call center agents to handle customer inquiries. There are two basic types: desktop automation and automated voice solutions. Desktop automation refers to software programming that makes it easier for the call center agent to work across multiple desktop tools. The automation would take the information entered into one tool and populate it across the others so it did not have to be entered more than once, for example. Automated voice solutions allow the agents to remain on the line while disclosures and other important information is provided to customers in the form of pre-recorded audio files. Specialized applications of these automated voice solutions enable the agents to process credit cards without ever seeing or hearing the credit card numbers or CVV codes
With an easy-to-navigate interface, this app is a great choice for those trying food journaling for the first time. Save and re-use your logged meals, which can be built from the four million foods in the MyFitnessPal database. Best of all, there’s a barcode scanner that can help easily input your daily diet. While you’ll only be able to set a caloric goal and not a macronutrient goal, you’ll still be able to see your nutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrition” pie chart icon at the bottom of the “Diary” screen. Red, blue and green slices make visualizing your progress a piece of cake! Check out your weekly breakdown under the “Nutrition” tab in the menu. (Free; iOS, Android)
In August 2015, Trump told a press conference that American-born children should not be citizens if their parents are undocumented. “A woman is getting ready to have a baby, she crosses the border for one day, has the baby, all of a sudden for the next 80 years, hopefully longer, but for the next 80 years we have to take care of the people. No, no, no, I don’t think so … There are great legal scholars, the top, that say that’s absolutely wrong.”
Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn.
Energy Management Home automation is the perfect tool for managing your family’s power consumption and making your entire home more energy efficient. Automatically switch off lights and appliances when not in use or during specific times of the day. Stop heating or cooling an empty house all day long and opt for a smarter approach to indoor climate control.
In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes with predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or perform additional testing that would be difficult to do manually. Test automation is critical for continuous delivery and continuous testing.
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.
The economic anxiety over AI and automation is real and shouldn’t be dismissed. But there is no reversing technological progress. We will need the economic boost from these technologies to improve the lackluster productivity growth that is threatening many people’s financial prospects. Furthermore, the progress AI promises in medicine and other areas could greatly improve how we live. Yet if we fail to use the technology in a way that benefits as many people as possible (see “Who Will Own the Robots?”), we risk fueling public resentment of automation and its creators. The danger is not so much a direct political backlash—though the history of the Luddites suggests it could happen—but, rather, a failure to embrace and invest in the technology’s abundant possibilities.
Best Functional Testing Tools25Functional Testing Tools suppport continuous, automated, thorough testing of applications, transactional procedures, and user interfaces (UI / GUI) across multiple web, desktop, and mobile platforms.Sauce Labs1https://www.trustradius.com/products/sauce-labs/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/4b/Wm/A1HKR1GD7JMK.PNGTestComplete2https://www.trustradius.com/products/testcomplete/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/4B/Jw/7RZBHQKP6PWK.PNGSelenium3https://www.trustradius.com/products/selenium/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/3q/9o/I2IDCMT2B304.jpegSoapUI NG Pro4https://www.trustradius.com/products/soap-ui/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/Jv/gB/6187RCKN3V59.PNGBrowserStack5https://www.trustradius.com/products/browserstack/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/8M/m1/ZKSFO07EG7GL.PNGUnified Functional Testing (formerly HP UFT)6https://www.trustradius.com/products/unified-functional-testing/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/Zm/IY/D5DAJSH3LPPI-180x180.GIFOracle Application Testing Suite7https://www.trustradius.com/products/oracle-application-testing-suite/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/VC/02/T4E108T4IWP2-180x180.PNGProgress Test Studio8https://www.trustradius.com/products/progress-test-studio/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/R7/rr/QLIB3ZTZ3984.JPEGTricentis Tosca9https://www.trustradius.com/products/tricentis-tosca/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/Y9/AG/QJL8QGW5774X.JPEGKatalon Studio10https://www.trustradius.com/products/katalon-studio/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/c2/WD/MUH0IGT3ITT4.JPEGWorksoft Certify11https://www.trustradius.com/products/worksoft-certify/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/nc/3v/T3J2U80OTCPA.pngPerfecto Mobile12https://www.trustradius.com/products/perfecto-mobile/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/X9/G5/XRS2P9S345G7.jpegQASymphony13https://www.trustradius.com/products/qasymphony/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/oo/XG/F2D20ZNERTI2-180x180.PNGAutomation Anywhere14https://www.trustradius.com/products/automation-anywhere/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/1K/1I/SJOM303KN859-180x180.PNGCA Application Test15https://www.trustradius.com/products/ca-application-test/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/gg/9W/HVBIZE1VBDZ6-180x180.PNGIBM Rational Functional Tester16https://www.trustradius.com/products/ibm-rational-functional-tester/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/yf/sf/DNSXTG99HOK3-180x180.JPEGBusiness Process Testing (formerly HP Business Process Testing)17https://www.trustradius.com/products/business-process-testing/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/Zm/IY/D5DAJSH3LPPI-180x180.GIFRapise18https://www.trustradius.com/products/rapise/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/uS/Zp/26AAAKR7HJBA-180x180.PNGTestomato19https://www.trustradius.com/products/testomato/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/z8/IG/K7GT8SLS84OS.pngBqurious Test Automation Software20https://www.trustradius.com/products/bqurious-test-automation-software/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/bN/Ev/KXWFPJB2EJ53.JPEGAscentialTest21https://www.trustradius.com/products/ascentialtest/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/qh/kG/U91PCGTKPTO1.jpegeggPlant Functional22https://www.trustradius.com/products/eggplant-functional/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/i8/c2/N90NL19NZRUE.jpegZAPTEST23https://www.trustradius.com/products/zaptest/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/6L/jk/VC5TWZSI61I0-180x180.PNGLeanFT (HP LeanFT)24https://www.trustradius.com/products/leanft/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/vendor-logos/Zm/IY/D5DAJSH3LPPI-180x180.GIFAppvance25https://www.trustradius.com/products/appvance/reviewshttps://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/wE/PB/CH3MC1G4WABE.png
The possibilities are immense, ranging from lights and locks to cameras and coffee makers. The common denominator is automation, and a promise that these devices can save you time, save you money or make your life a little easier. An automated lamp might turn on by itself as soon as you walk into the room. An automated thermostat might turn the heat down when it detects you've left for the day, then back on when it thinks you're on your way back.
Environment issues aside, automated checks that need to be run by hand create a drain on the team. Most teams we work with tend to want to just get started by running automated checks by hand. I suggest a different approach: Start with one check that runs end-to-end, through the continuous integration server, running on every build. Add additional scripts to that slowly, carefully, and with intention. Instead of trying to automate 100%, recognize that tooling creates drag and maintenance cost. Strive instead to automate the most powerful examples.
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.
Automation frameworks provide guidelines to achieve beneficial results from test automation tools and automated testing activity. They establish a universal standard for testers to achieve the specific goals of the automated tests. The framework should be easy to maintain and easy to change. Consider dedicating the role of framework design and development to a dedicated, qualified tester. A poorly designed — or hard to maintain — framework causes problems even if you are using the right automation software tools. Poor planning and the failure to create or select the appropriate framework to guide test automation activity limits the benefits of automating tests.
Every software development group tests its products, yet delivered software always has defects. Test engineers strive to catch them before the product is released but they always creep in and they often reappear, even with the best manual testing processes. Test Automation software is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of your software testing.
Late last year, the health-care start-up Viome raised $15 million in venture-capital funding for at-home fecal test kits. You send in a very small package of your own poop, and the company tells you what’s happening in your gut so that you can recalibrate your diet to, among other things, lose weight and keep it off. In the company’s words, subscribers get the opportunity to explore and improve their own microbiome: Viome “uses state-of-the-art proprietary technology” to create “unique molecular profiles” for those who purchase and submit a kit.
“I see it as a grassroots effort by office workers and others who use a computer as part of their job,” Al Sweigart, the author of Automate the Boring Stuff With Python, told me in an email. Even those with little or no familiarity with programming are now seeking out his work, driven by the ease of automating modern jobs. “I get emails from readers who tell me that they’ve freed up several hours of their (and their coworkers’) days with a collection of small programs,” Sweigart writes.
Once you've got the hang of automating something like a lamp, you can try automating other things, too. Coffee makers, desk fans and space heaters all work well with WeMo. You can even plug a power strip into a WeMo Switch, then automate several devices all at once -- a handy way of shutting down TVs, game consoles, and other electronics that can leech power even in the off position.
Intelligent machines, Nicita thinks—and this is the core belief of an augmentation strategy—do not usher people out the door, much less relegate them to doing the bidding of robot overlords. In some cases these machines will allow us to take on tasks that are superior—more sophisticated, more fulfilling, better suited to our strengths—to anything we have given up. In other cases the tasks will simply be different from anything computers can do well. In almost all situations, however, they will be less codified and structured; otherwise computers would already have taken them over.
“For example, one process automation involved a distribution company that sold primarily to big-box retailers. In its old state, the organization had no window into what customers were ordering until after the warehouse fulfilled it. In addition, they would get a report once a week, which required someone to manually manipulate the data and import the data into the accounting software.
A business process management system is quite different from BPA. However, it is possible to build automation on the back of a BPM implementation. The actual tools to achieve this vary, from writing custom application code to using specialist BPA tools. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are inextricably linked – the BPM implementation provides an architecture for all processes in the business to be mapped, but this in itself delays the automation of individual processes and so benefits may be lost in the meantime.