Even With Industry 4.0, Sometimes The Best Level Of Automation Is None – Forbes


This waning year of 2019 featured a constant flurry of commentary about how the business world is being transformed by advanced manufacturing. IIoT, 5G, 3-D printing, AI, VR, revolutionary robots and cobots theyve all had gallons of real and virtual ink spilled about how theyre fundamentally changing the production and supply chain picture.

That commentary is perfectly true. Those giant leaps in technology make it one of the most exciting times ever to work in manufacturing. For big companies with plants like those included in the World Economic Forums Global Lighthouse Network of model Industry 4.0 facilities, its a brave new world in the very best of ways.

But when I talk to the small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) that dominate the U.S. producer base, theres often a disconnect between their core concerns and all that glitz and glamor surrounding advanced manufacturing. Particularly in the SMM world, there are many central production jobs that just dont lend themselves to automation. Even with individual jobs that do, though, the mix of work can still make automation a non-starter. And even with work that can be automated, the reality is often that the financial justification simply isnt there to support spending on high-tech solutions.

Bob Jacquart, CEO and owner of Jacquart Fabric Products in Ironwood, Michigan, knows firsthand the barriers to automation for some producers. His firm employs 180 people and does both mass production and custom work, including playground canopies, pet beds, cooling vests, and winter apparel, along with rink pads for the 2009 U.S. Olympic Trials and custom acoustic panels for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. While custom jobs obviously dont warrant automation, surely the firms Stormy Kromer subsidiary, making the iconic felt winter hat, could benefit from it?

I sit on the Board of Directors at Michigan Technological University, and I asked the former Dean of Technology there to see if he could have a team come up with a way to make it robotically, Jacquart said. Their study concluded that it couldnt be done economically.

For other companies, the combination of work precludes the high-tech approach. At HM Manufacturing in Wauconda, Illinois, a machine parts maker of power transmission components, its the changeovers any adjustment in the size, style, material, or design of whats being produced that requires a reset of the production equipment that preclude automation. For HM, automation is difficult, said Nicole Wolter, the companys President and CEO. We do 11 to 12 changeovers a day it just doesnt work for that.

But even if the work fully lends itself to improvement with the application of advanced manufacturing technologies, money can stand in the way. It may be that the firm simply doesnt have the capital available to invest the sums it takes to install new systems. Or it could be an opportunity cost problem; for smaller firms, investing in the basics for growing the business usually makes a lot more sense than spending on high-tech equipment. Finally, it might simply be that labor is so cheap, automation simply isnt economically attractive. In rural areas of the country, where labor costs are lowest, that can be a very good thing, since the jobs are needed there.

A worker checks an industrial robot in a high-tech company.

For SMM executives who express concern about being left behind when they read about our burgeoning advanced manufacturing world, then, my first word of advice is to look frankly at the financials and the business fundamentals, and not to be afraid to conclude that Industry 4.0 simply isnt their answer right now.

But what can SMMs do to ensure their businesses arent left behind in the competitive environment, if automation isnt going to help?

The first is to invest in other ways. Jacquart, finding that he couldnt automate his way to higher productivity, instead improved the plant floor environment for his employees. We installed Vita-Lite full-spectrum lighting, and invested in premium chairs for our workers, he said.

Another option is to invest in smaller machine improvements. Legacy equipment can be vastly improved by upgrading subsystems to newer versions, or by updating control systems to more modern equivalents. One of the most under-reported advantages of the IIoT is the many solutions that are now on offer to improve the performance of existing equipment and manufacturing systems. That was the case for Wolters. There are lots of smaller manufacturers where high-tech isnt a fit just yet so in the meantime Ive invested in IIoT for the factory floor, she said. I believe its important to continue to update with technology as its evolving.

Providing ways for workers to improve their skills is equally important, and that applies to both current employees and potential future ones. Our new employees get the new technology and programming we do have, she said. But they may not get the basic operations. If older workers cant understand the newer technology, then pairing and cross training their jobs with the younger workers sets them up to learn from one another. She also works to educate the local community about manufacturing career opportunities. I feel like I genuinely have an advantage as a small, family-owned business, she mentioned. I can lead efforts at local high schools, offer shop tours, and bring on interns were currently offering four to six-week paid internships.

Collaborative robot technology.

A final focus should be on continuing to look at what technology has to offer. Todays industrial robots cost a fraction of what the early versions did, and modern computerized control systems are cheaper, more robust, and easier to program and maintain than ever. The kinds of jobs that robots can take on have increased dramatically, and with cobots and industrial exoskeletons entering the workplace, what used to be impossible or economically non-viable may soon be practical. Its important that SMM executives continue to stay abreast of what the high-tech world can do for their businesses.

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Even With Industry 4.0, Sometimes The Best Level Of Automation Is None - Forbes

What we can do to make sure automation doesn’t negatively affect the work force – TNW

Artificial intelligence and automation are continuing to drill deeper into our society.

Yet, there seems to be a disconnect between the people designing and implementing these systems, and those who will be most affected by the outcome.

The reported median annual salary for an AI programmer in the UK in 2019 is currently around 60,000. Meanwhile, the reported median annual salary for all workers in the UK is reportedly around 36,611.

Automating routine operations presents a lot of benefits. It presents the opportunity for people to move on from repetitive tasks to more rewarding, challenging work that allows them to engage their emotional intelligence.

But currently, this is far from the case. Instead, low skilled workers are finding themselves being continually downgraded into increasingly insecure, low-paid roles. For some people, their jobs have been completely replaced.

In 2013, researchers at Oxford University studied 702 occupational groupings. They discovered that 47% of US workers have a high probability of seeing their jobs automated over the next 20 years. More recently in 2017, a McKinsey report predicted that 30% of work activities would be automated by 2030 a change that is set to affect up to 375 million workers worldwide. Thats a significant number of people.

Throughout history, new waves of technological innovation have always led to a spike in public debates regarding automation. The movement is comparable to the shift away from agricultural societies throughout the Industrial Revolution. Evidence from this can give us some insights to inform policy debates today.

People have been worrying that automation would leave humans without work as far back as the 20th century. In 1950, John F.Kennedy described automation as a problem that would result in hardship for humans.

15 years later in 1965, an IBM economist saidautomation would result in a 20-hour workweek. Considering the average American still works an average of 34.4 hours per week, this prediction was clearly quite a way off.

But it took decades to tackle the injustices of the Industrial Revolution. This time, we cant afford to wait that long.

If employment levels fall significantly enough, there is a fear that Western democracies could resort to authoritarianism, which spread in some countries back in the 1930s following the Great Depression, and as is the case in many countries today that have experienced high levels of income inequality.

Western politics is already becoming increasingly turbulent. Income inequality is slowly beginning to grow even further, contributing to the already shaky political instability. A large proportion of the population will need to retrain for new careers, and they wont be young theyll be middle-aged professionals. Developed economies are likely to be hit hardest by the transition, as increased wage averages increase the incentivization for automation even further.

Automation will vary widely, depending on the industry sector. Jobs in industries such as health care are set to increase to cope with an aging population, while jobs involving manual labor and data processing are set to decline.

Its impossible to know exactly how many jobs will be affected by AI, as studies give wildly different estimates, depending on the treatment of the input data.

A report by PwC suggests there will be three major waves of automation.

Wave 1 will occur in the early 2020s and is expected to displace a very low proportion of jobs around 3%.

Wave 2 is expected to arrive in the late 2020s and is expected to displace many jobs in the clerical and administrative sector.

Wave 3 is expected to arrive in the mid-2030s and could result in the automation of up to 30% of todays jobs particularly those that involve automotive equipment and machines.

Workers with lower education levels are likely to be much more vulnerable to being replaced by machines:

The McKinsey report used Americas transition away from agriculture during the Industrial Revolution as an example. With the decrease in farming jobs came a significant increase in spending on secondary education and new laws that made attendance compulsory.

In 1910, 18 percent of children between 14 and 17 years of age went to high school. By 1940, 73 percent of children between 14 and 17 years of age went to high school. This increase in education helped to create a booming manufacturing industry.

If we want the future of automation to be successful, it is clear that a similar push is needed today. Its becoming increasingly clear that AI will not result in the end of work. It could create as many jobs as it gets rid of. Instead, the jobs of the future will merely require a different skillset.

Government advice networks need to support more businesses to use machine learning. We need to build skills at all levels from schools to industry professionals, to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Unfortunately, this doesnt seem to be the case. In fact, in the last few decades, spending on training and supporting the labor force has been in decline. In addition, many schools are still failing to teach the key concepts of technology to their students.

If we want technology to benefit everyone instead of further widening inequality, we need to start training our workforce for the future immediately. Inaction will result in even greater division and polarization between communities.

Politicians, trade unions and business leaders need to act now if they want to make sure the result of technological change is good.

This article was originally published on Towards Data Science byAimee Pearcy, a computer scientist, writer, and campaigner. Her work focuses on human rights issues in the tech industry.

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What we can do to make sure automation doesn't negatively affect the work force - TNW

Automation and Public Policy – State of the Planet

It is clear that the brain-based economy has supplanted the brawn-based economy as manual labor is replaced by automation and as the service economy replaces manufacturing. About 80 percent of the U.S. economy is in the service sector and the skills required to participate in that economy evolve rapidly. Lower skilled employment remains in the service sector, but its clear that wherever possible, machine labor will continue to replace human labor. The logic of capitalism drives organizational efficiency and that efficiency enables the production of greater wealth. We want all of that to continue but while the logic works for the organization, it can leave people behind without marketable skills and often without hope.

Those with economic and political power should not think for a second that leaving people behind is possible without political blowback. Hillary Clinton learned that in 2016 in Michigan and Wisconsin. The engine behind the nearly daily protests in Hong Kong is not only fear of political repression but an educated mass of young people with little economic opportunity in a crowded and overpriced island city-state. Transportation, communication and information technology have built a global economy that makes businesses more mobile than ever. Companies use that mobility and both the threat of departure and the promise of arrival to extract tribute from state and local governments. These forces of the modern economy need to be better understood and better managed to ensure political stability and economic well-being.

In the United States, corporate giants like Amazon demand public subsidies for the jobs they bring, but the benefit of hosting these businesses is not always obvious. Last week, in a terrific piece of journalism New York Times reporter David Streitfeld charted the 20-year history of one of Amazons early fulfillment warehouses in Campbellville Kentucky. According to Streitfeld:

Campbellsvilles warehouse was among the first of what are now an estimated 477 Amazon Fulfillment centers, delivery stations and other outposts around the country. That makes Campbellsville, with 11,415 inhabitants, a case study for what may happen elsewhere as Amazon continues expanding. Brenda Allen, Campbellsvilles mayor, said: Amazon has had a really good business here for 20 years. They havent been disappointed at all. And were glad theyre here. But, she added, I really would feel better if they would contribute to our needs. In central Kentucky, Amazon has reaped benefits, including a type of tax break that critics label Paying Taxes to the Boss. In the arrangement, 5 percent of Amazon workers paychecks, which would ordinarily be destined for the county and the state, go to Amazon itself. The company netted millions of dollars from this incentive over a decade.

A political reaction against these types of business siting incentives is starting to set in. In New York City, activists made so much political noise that Amazon became unwilling to accept a multi-billion-dollar subsidy. I expect we will see more of an effort to reset the power relationship between companies and communities. The theme of government and communities as supplicants to giant corporations, coupled with growing automation and public discontent is a prescription for economic misery and political upheaval. The 20th-century ideological battle between the left and the right is ill-suited to address the public policy needs of the rapidly evolving, global and technology-based economy we have created. We need new thinking about how to effectively influence these global, high tech corporate giants.

The benefits of the market and its logic are irrefutable. But the absence of a role for government to assist the victims of the market is a prescription for political instability and ultimately economic disaster as well. Government and public policy must be used to encourage better corporate citizenship than companies like Amazon seem to practice. Minimum wage requirements, support for public institutions and infrastructure, and support for life-long learning for workers must become the rule rather than the exception. This will require national public policy in the United States of the type we are unlikely to see from todays federal government. While companies are highly mobile globally and we cant control a company willing to relocate to another nation, we could try to set ground rules for state and local competition for business siting within the United States. We could also devote far more resources to retraining workers to develop and redevelop marketable skills.

A pervasive feeling of economic insecurity and fear of downward mobility is a growing phenomenon in large areas of the United States. The stock market may be rising, but the publics faith in the future is falling. The transition to a more automated, specialized, creative and brain-based economy is unstoppable. This is not the first time Ive quoted these lyrics, but remarkably its now three and a half decades since Bruce Springsteen wrote in My Hometown:

Theyre closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks. Foreman says These jobs are going boys and they aint coming back to your hometown.

Its long past due to recognize that these transitions are now a part of economic life. The feeling of stability and security we once knew has been replaced by an economy of constant change based on new technologies and new opportunities. The force of these changes cant be stopped by a president nostalgic for a muscular coal and steel-based manufacturing economy. The jobs arent stolen by immigrants and in a few decades wont be moved overseas due to lower-priced labor, as the economic logic of automation replaces that of poorly-paid workers.

What will people do? The answers are seen in the changing nature of the modern workforce. The number of jobs we have invented for services we didnt even know we needed. Think of the Best Buy Geek Squad or the folks working at Apple Stores Genius Bar and similar jobs. How many people were employed installing home entertainment and internet systems in the 1980s? How many worked in a store to help you learn how to retrieve your photos from the cloud? How about all the people developing those applications everyone is running on their smartphones as they ride the subway? Did anyone know in 1990 that everyone would be carrying a miniature computer in their pocket? Smartphone hardware is a smaller and smaller part of our GDP as the real money moves to the software. Think about some of the people who work in the food service business: Restaurants are not simply places that provide food and drink anymore but are places we go to enjoy experiences. This form of dining is, in part, entertainment designed by people who are experts in producing the food, dcor and the overall ambiance that generates the restaurant experience.

To remain employed and employable in the modern economy, change has replaced constancy. There are some basics of organizational, family, social and personal life that do not change. The need for love and social interaction and personal fulfillment remains, but the world we meet those needs in is constantly changing. Many families are separated by thousands of miles and see each other on screens more often than over a dinner table. I sometimes think about how much I wish Id had the patience to teach my late mother how to use FaceTime. She refused to ever use the internet. That unwillingness to learn carried a cost for her and our family. Thought of more broadly, we must institutionalize life-long learning in the new technologies and new professions that are now emerging daily. And people must somehow learn to accept and even embrace constant change. Automation will continue to replace human labor with machine labor. The economic history of this change has been to reduce the drudgery of work, but those routine tasks must be replaced by something else.

We need government and public policy to get in the middle of this mess. Heres one idea for starters: Young people are gravitating toward new business start-ups and seeking to avoid established bureaucracies. Lets use tax policy to encourage investments in these new businesses and both public policy and direct subsidies to encourage start-ups to train and hire people whose jobs have been replaced by machines. Lets marshal the energy of the market to mitigate its harshest impacts. But to do that we need to develop public policies designed to deal with the impact of automation on people.

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Automation and Public Policy - State of the Planet

Improving Your Manufacturing Productivity and Quality with CMM Networking and Automation – Quality Magazine

Improving Your Manufacturing Productivity and Quality with CMM Networking and Automation | 2020-01-01 | Quality Magazine This website requires certain cookies to work and uses other cookies to help you have the best experience. By visiting this website, certain cookies have already been set, which you may delete and block. By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Visit our updated privacy and cookie policy to learn more. This Website Uses CookiesBy closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Learn MoreThis website requires certain cookies to work and uses other cookies to help you have the best experience. By visiting this website, certain cookies have already been set, which you may delete and block. By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Visit our updated privacy and cookie policy to learn more.

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Improving Your Manufacturing Productivity and Quality with CMM Networking and Automation - Quality Magazine

In 2020, AI to enable acceleration from automation to autonomy, say experts – Robot Report

In 2020, AI could empower robotics with tools such as this Brain Bulder workspace. Source: Neurala

For the past decade, robotics has been one of the most interesting areas for developers, industry analysts, and startups to focus on. From emerging technologies and new applications to ongoing challenges, both innovators and entrepreneurs will have a lot to watch in 2020.

The Robot Report spoke with the following executives at robotics and artificial intelligence companies about their observations of 2019s trends, as well as their expectations for the new year:

Which technologies do you expect to mature the most in 2020, such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), edge computing, 5G wireless networks, or autonomous vehicles?

Visti: In 2020, Industry 4.0 will become more of a reality than a vision. Smart machines keep getting smarter as they get access to more data, and they keep getting better at connecting to other machines and systems, and therefore they become truly useful for manufacturers.

Thomas Visti, Mobile Industrial Robots

While many companies have been hesitant and seen Industry 4.0 as merely a buzzword, were starting to see connected supply chains where MES [manufacturing execution systems], robots, and picking systems are connected.

We also see the connectivity between robots and ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems within production environments.

The entire process from ordering to producing and then transporting goods can now be fully automated. Industry 4.0 is still evolving, and it will not reach its full potential in 2020, but we will see more companies adopting the enabling technologies. This will also influence the workforce, as we will see the same companies wanting to upskill their current workforce and recruit new employees with Industry 4.0 skills.

Versace: Well see more demand for AI that can be trained, deployed, and refined at the edge. 2019 has shown us that many organizations, robotics companies included, are saying No to giving up their data and having to ping the cloud.

I believe that in 2020, AI will need to live and learn at the edge, so that processing occurs where the data is being generated. As a result, robotics companies will see reduced latency problems while mitigating privacy issues and massive cloud fees for manufacturers.

Sudhir Jha, Brighterion

Jha:Enterprises will transition into deploying complex AI models in production at scale. So far, most AI applications are experiments but not in production, simple recommendation/prediction/regression models, or applied to smaller problems.

In 2020, we will see more enterprises getting bolder with their AI ambitions and requiring their vendors to support large deployments.

There will be be an acceleration from automation to autonomy, and AI will play the most crucial role in this. Also, robotics will move further from industrial arena to consumer arena, where they will act as personal coaches, instructors for children, conversational buddies for elders, and guides for the disabled.

Which market or application represents the biggest area of growth potential in 2020?

Visti: We expect to see an increase in the use of robotics in all our existing markets such as automotive, electronics, FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods], pharmaceuticals, and more.

There is still a huge focus on optimization, and with the lack of qualified workers, the need for automation across industries has never been higher.

We expect big growth in the use of AMRs by the 3PL [third-party logistics] segment, which has not been an early adopter of AMRs. In fact, our recent survey showed that only around 50% of 3PLs are currently considering automating internal logistics with AMRs. We expect to see this figure increase significantly in 2020 and the years ahead.

The hospital sector is also looking to automate internal transportation worldwide. For MiR, we have many customers within this segment in Scandinavia and China, but we expect it to grow even more.

Jha: Verticals like healthcare will see expanded AI-based applications, not only in the areas of diagnosis and personalized medicine, but also on the operational side like customer service, payment processing, and FWA (fraud, waste, and abuse).

How will trade conflicts or the slowdown in automotive manufacturing affect robotics in 2020?

Visti: While the automotive manufacturing market may have slowed, the latest statistics from the Robotic Industries Association actually shows what looks like an uptick in ordering of industrial robots by automotive OEMs, up 47% for 2019 over 2018.

Were also experiencing increased growth in that market and overall, with companies like Toyota and Ford purchasing fleets of our AMRs.

We expect this is due to these manufacturers realizing how automation can help fill difficult-to-fill jobs; increase overall productivity; and enable humans to focus on higher-skilled, higher-quality, and higher-paid tasks. These are all benefits that can lead to growth and new job opportunities, which could help turn the automotive industry back around.

Versace: We will always be faced with some degree of socioeconomic uncertainty around the world. In terms of manufacturing, possible decoupling of Chinese and Western economies may actually bolster manufacturing in the U.S. and make it less reliant on overseas production in the long run. This may indirectly boost robotic deployments in the U.S. and Europe.

But at Neurala, were focused on what we can control, which is first and foremost to provide robotics and other companies with an AI platform that they can apply to solve real-world challenges. Our Brain Builder platform is helping organizations accelerate the process of building, deploying, and analyzing AI so they can focus on improving visual inspections.

Related content: Industry experts provide more robotics predictions for 2020

What challenges and opportunities do you expect for AI in 2020?

Jha: As AI-based solutions become more mainstream across industries, we need to carve out a handful domain where our technology provides sustainable differentiation and allows us to be a leader.

We have focused on risk and compliance areas in financial services and are looking to diversify in other verticals. Also our strength in building mission-critical applications in highly regulated industries will serve us well to ensure data privacy and ethical use of AI which is a growing trend globally.

Max Versace, Neurala

Versace: Im thinking of 2020 as the Year of Productization and the Customer.

At Neurala, well continue to work with customers so that they can independently build and deploy custom AI applications for the real world.

Furthermore, AI products such as Brain Builder will enable customers with little or no expertise in AI to build an end-to-end application from scratch, on their proprietary data. This means that enterprises will no longer be restricted by their size or resources when it comes to implementing AI as a part of their business strategies.

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In 2020, AI to enable acceleration from automation to autonomy, say experts - Robot Report

How the most vulnerable workers to job automation can adapt – Yahoo Money

In recent decades, women have made huge gains in employment. But the rise in job automation is threatening to undo that.

Jobs held by women are more likely to be displaced by automation, according to The World Economic Forums2020 report on the global gender gap, while men are more likely to be employed in less vulnerable roles.

To avoid job irrelevance, female workers must approach education and their careers in new ways, finding opportunities in areas that predominantly employ men.

The jobs that are emerging are not very gender-equal, said Vesselina Ratcheva, the data lead at the World Economic Forum. If we think about shifting workers from declining to emerging roles, what we are also likely to see is that the environment for women in those roles is not necessarily going to be one of parity.

Graphic Credit: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

Of the eight employment areas with increasing prospects across 20 leading economies, six of those sectors are dominated by men. The emerging sectors with the smallest share of women are cloud computing, engineering, and data and artificial intelligence.

On the other end, jobs that are being displaced by automation are routine, white-collar roles, like secretarial work, Ratcheva said. The vast majority 94% of secretaries and administrative assistants in the U.S. are women.

In the automation age, all workers need to be skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy to keep their job or successfully transition into a different field. They also have to think about education and employment in a different way.

Here are four ways women and men can prepare and adjust to the changes automation brings.

To avoid job irrelevance, female workers and male ones, too must approach college and their careers in new ways. (Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

Dont think of employment as a series of full-time jobs or lifetime employment, but rather as a range of workplace arrangements, including self-employment, freelancing, and salaried roles, saidApril Rinne, an independent advisor focusing on the future of work.

Moving forward, professional paths will not be linear. We will not study for a profession and do that profession for life, Rinne said. Rather, we will have many roles, many positions, many professional chapters. Like an artist or an investor, we will curate portfolios of our work.

To be well-positioned for this journey, learn how to handle your own taxes; be ready to start your own business; develop a wide professional network; and find the best practices for working remotely.

With the rapid automation of technical skills, human skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, ethics, curiosity, creativity, and coordination will become more valuable, Rinne said.

The really distinguishing factor for success of tomorrow's leaders lies not in programming apps and algorithms, but rather upon a solid foundation in the humanities, she said. How we develop and use technology is equally, if not more important, than the technology itself.

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Investing in and developing those human skills can make you almost 'unautomatable.' Building curiosity can help you adapt for the jobs of the future. One way to do this is to spend more time with children or with your own five-year-old brain, which is inherently curious, Rinne said.

Human skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, ethics, curiosity, creativity, and coordination will become more valuable in the future. (Photo: Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The idea that higher education is something you only do early in your life wont help you in the world of automation.

Today's education system was designed for the First Industrial Revolution to train factory workers and soldiers and is woefully outdated for the 21st century, Rinne said. As automation changes and eradicates certain skills, roles and even entire vocations, individuals will need to keep learning, not only to work, but to better understand the world.

If you can continue to learn beyond the traditional means such as college, maintain insatiable curiosity at any age, and embrace the future's uncertainties, youll have an advantage. Study abroad, do cultural exchanges, or any experience that expands your perspective and takes you out of your comfort zone, Rinne said.

Even when entering sectors more immune to automation, women often take marketing, people, or culture roles, rather than the technical ones. Their employer might encourage them to focus more on their soft or coordination skills rather than technical ones, Ratcheva said.

What female workers should do is look for companies that are actively working to diversify their workforce through inclusion initiatives, especially for more technical roles dominated by men. Workers should also ask about a potential employer's support to help workers re-skill or up-skill to stay relevant.

That might be quite effective at increasing the take-up of that [job] offer by female workers or those whove become inactive in the labor market, Ratcheva said.

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter@denitsa_tsekova.

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How the most vulnerable workers to job automation can adapt - Yahoo Money

Listen to top VCs discuss the next generation of automation startups at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI – TechCrunch

Robotics, AI and automation have long been one of the hottest categories for tech investments. After years and decades of talk, however, those big payouts are starting to pay off. Robotics are beginning to dominate nearly every aspect of work, from warehouse fulfillment to agriculture to retail and construction.

Our annual TC Sessions: Robotics+AI event on March 3 affords us the ability to bring together some of the top investors in the category to discuss the hottest startups, best bets and opine on where the industry is going. And this years VC panel is arguably our strongest yet:

TC Sessions: Robotics+AI returns to Berkeley on March 3. Make sure to grab your early-bird tickets today for $275 before prices go up by $100. Startups, book a demo table right here and get in front of 1,000+ of Robotics/AIs best and brightest each table comes with four attendee tickets.

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Listen to top VCs discuss the next generation of automation startups at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI - TechCrunch

DevOps The Troubles Of Automating All The Things – JAXenter

Watch J. Paul Reed's DevOps Conference session

A culture of automation is such a cornerstone of DevOps, one of its oldest, most famous tropes is automate ALL the things. But are there things we maybe shouldnt automate? What if how we go about automating things is actively causing us pain in the form of incidents? Watch this DevOpsCon talk by Netflixs J. Paul Reed to find out more.

In this DevOps Conference session, J. Paul Reed takes a look at some of the impacts and challenges pervasive automation has presented for engineers and operations, along with some important considerations when automating Netflixs complex, living socio-technical systems, as well as some strategies to cope with these ironies of automation.

J. Paul Reed has over 15 years of experience in the trenches as a build/release and tools engineer, working with such organizations as VMware, Mozilla, Postbox, Symantec, and Salesforce. In 2012, he founded Release Engineering Approaches, a consultancy incorporating a host of tools and techniques to help organizations realize how they can Simply Ship. Every time. Hes worked across a number of industries, from financial services to cloud-based infrastructure to healthcare, with teams ranging from 2 to 2,500 on everything from tooling, operational analysis and improvement, team culture transformation, and business value optimization. He regularly speaks internationally on release engineering, DevOps, IT operations complexity, and human factors. Paul is also the founding host of The Ship Show, a twice-monthly podcast tackling topics related to build engineering, DevOps, and release management.

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DevOps The Troubles Of Automating All The Things - JAXenter

The unsettling grip of the automated gods | News, Sports, Jobs – Williamsport Sun-Gazette

So the perfectly enjoyable dinner with friends was over and it was time to get the bill.

The waitress informed us they were in front of us. And there were the machines, ready to be poked and prodded with enter this and enter that and computerized math full of tip percentages.

Followed by the electronic signature which might as well have read Lee Harvey Oswald, given my cursive challenges with a pen.

So how long will it be before there is no waiter or waitress and we are just ordering off that dadgummed computer at every restaurant?

Not very, apparently.

Over the holidays, I heard an estimate that one third of the jobs in America will become automated in the next decade.

In the electronically dominated age we live, this is considered progress. And some automation is needed progress. But a lot of it is a nuclear threat to our lives.

Full disclosure. I have never used an ATM machine. I dont do my banking online and am not interested in learning how to do it. I like getting the bank statement in the mail and checking to make sure the books are correctly balanced. I pay the bills by check. Through the mail. I have never used the self-checkout line at a grocery store. If I had my way, I would carry enough cash in my pocket to pay for gas, restaurant meals, groceries and incidentals every month instead of using a charge card.

One of my friends says I am swimming upstream at about a 45-degree angle. Hes correct.

Another friend says he always uses a teller when he goes to the bank to preserve their job. And hes correct.

If you want an indication of where we are headed, consider what seems like daily announcements locally of retail outlets closing, their market share eaten up by online shopping. Thats a lot of jobs lost for retail clerks, jobs that go to people trying to make ends meet and improve their economic standing with hard work.

Consider, beyond the economic struggle, the loss of self-worth that comes with not having a job. For a significant portion of the population, employment is the primary source of pride. A lot of that population is part of the third that will lose jobs to automation in the coming decade.

What will be the social impact of that job loss should it become long-term, a distinct possibility?

From a practical standpoint, there is a portion of the consumer product market that works for online shopping. But I cant buy a shirt online with confidence it will fit when it magically shows up at the door. My wife cant buy any clothes online.

What she can do is order a double-waffle iron online and experience that sinking feeling that comes with electronic messages seconds later that make us suspicious our charge card has been compromised. Not exactly what the doctor ordered for that Christmas morning feeling.

We recently made reservations online for a one-night motel stay at a price, according to the online language, of $98. When we checked out, the bill was $239. There was no one online to tell us of all the extras and fine-print conditions that would more than double the price. Good thing this wasnt two decades ago. Would have fractured the family budget.

So this is where we are at the start of the third decade of the 21st Century.

When we sit down at dinner, the cell phone has priority space over the knives and forks. That rectangular gadget has replaced over-the-picket-fence conversation with our neighbors. One survey says 70 percent of us dont have any significant friends among our neighbors.

When its time to buy that special gift for someone, we scroll our computers rather than stroll the mall. We dont ask a clerk to compare two like items. We fill in the boxes on the screen and wait for the delivery, all the while giving up parts of our identity to the online god rather than Maggie in Aisle 4.

Some of this is convenience and fits our brisk lifestyles in 2020. I get it. But a lot of it is not progress when you consider the dangerous economic and social overhaul it is creating.

Tease me all you want about being old fashioned. I will own that. And I will not go quietly into that automated night.

I like talking with the waiter and the waitress, the folks in the checkout line at the grocery store and the tellers at the bank.

I just hope I still have the opportunity to do it a decade from now.

David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.

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The unsettling grip of the automated gods | News, Sports, Jobs - Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Hashtag Trending Automation predictions for 2020 – ITBusiness.ca

The ever closening presence of automation has a vast majority of the world at least a little bit worried. And every year we see more and more advancements in this field, bringing us closer to a potential world in which much of everyday life and our work lives is automated. So with that yin and yang of utopian and dystopian future possibilities in mind, for this special holiday episode of Hashtag Trending we look at our predictions for automation in 2020.

When many people think of automation, their minds wander to a world in which robots do everything, completely autonomous of any human control. And we dont think such a future is that far fetched and may actually be closer than many would think. We have already seen a rise in the use of industrial robots, as stats from Statista show that 2019 saw the installation of 413,000 industrial robots, with those numbers only expected to rise in the future. But now a new wave of robots in coming, the rise of service robots. Projections from Deloitte show that the market for such robots has been steadily gaining on the industrial robot market, and should actually pass it in the next year or two.

Our next prediction is related to the brain that makes robots like that possible: artificial intelligence. We believe that the world will begin to see AI operating in places that has not been seen before. For example, AI could be set to make a major move into the edge. For those who are not aware, edge computing is bringing the computing power, like AI for example, right onto devices, allowing them to perform complicated procedures entirely independently, even if they lose connection with their network. And AI should make big headway in this space in 2020. In fact, according to statistics from Market Watch, the market for edge AI software is expected to more than triple in size from $355 million USD in 2018 to a staggering $1,152 million USD in 2023.

And finally, we believe the rise of AI and automation will be a major reason why we see the downfall of support centres for devices. Much of the duties that would fall into the hands of such support centres will now begin to shift into the hands of the users, with the aid of AI built into the devices designed to solve those problems. According to stats presented by Nextiva, by 2020, 85 per cent of all customer service interactions will be automated, while over 60 per cent of Americans say that they prefer a self-service system to actual human interaction.

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Hashtag Trending Automation predictions for 2020 - ITBusiness.ca

Automation and AI will launch a golden age of marketing – The Drum

Marketers are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing, both when it comes to user demands and the future of the marketing industry. At the moment, many of these conversations focus on automation and AI. While theyve become the buzzwords of the year, their introduction to the marketing sphere has the potential to dramatically change how we work and raise important questions about the future of marketing. How will the future marketer work with AI? Will it be a battle between humans and machines?

I doubt it. AI will not threaten marketers jobs, but it will take the drudgery out of them. Today, marketing still involves a lot of manual tasks. Moving forward, automation can liberate us from the tedious and time-consuming tasks that we dont want to do. Freedom from this routine gives us back the time to focus on creative and strategic thinking that can move the needle on campaigns.

I worked in the media industry before launching Adjust, and I know the pain marketers experienced 20 years ago and still do today. Back then, I wasted so much time thinking and planning for digital campaigns, how to set them up, how to structure them, how to g ain more users for our clients. We relied on hunches, not hypotheses. Even when I later moved to work at MTV, a pioneering company that understood the power of digital, it was near-impossible to figure out ROI and how to attribute conversions for our campaigns. I was always looking for a better way to paint a fuller picture of our users, and that sparked the idea that eventually became Adjust.

New technology means the daily drudgery has drastically improved since then, but it still doesnt run like clockwork. Today, we work with so much data that its beyond the human capacity to distill it. And more data means more complexity. When we talk to our clients, we know that they spend much of their day handling very repetitive, manual, data-related tasks.

These are tasks that also require a lot of heavy lifting. Marketers have to acquire, clean and organize data; manually create campaigns for every channel; constantly check in on various dashboards to make sure campaigns are performing well. The list goes on. So, how can AI help ease the burden and promote growth, and shape the future of marketing?

The future marketer wont feel the need to compete with AI, they will co-create with it.

It will largely be driven by demand humans simply dont want to deal with the very simple, frequent tasks at scale, but they are better at the strategic or creative decisions. The future marketer will be liberated from a life sentence of reading and sifting through spreadsheets because AI can do it faster.

Essentially, we want to shape a golden age of marketing where technology and humans work seamlessly to create growth and the most effective advertising ever seen. Were on the right path, but currently falling short. This argument is echoed in an interesting book, Lemon: How the Advertising Brain Turned Sour by Orlando Wood.

To reach this golden age of advertising, we need to offload routine tasks to machine learning so we can focus on being creative and pushing the boundaries of what marketing can achieve. At the moment, too much focus on technology and mindless tasks means advertising styles have changed to become less effective. The outcome is fact-driven and product-focused ads that move metrics over the short-term, rather than creative and emotional ads that move audiences and have lasting impact.

This is largely due to shifts in industry trends. As Wood observes: Procurement is making creativity more difficult. Holding companies want to encourage greater profitability by cutting staff and increasing workloads. Specialists are prioritized over generalists. Standardization is valued more than individualization. Reason is more important than emotion.

Of course, taking an analytical approach to advertising is important. Marketing decisions will absolutely still be based on data, although not on data alone.

AI will unlock what is really needed to compete and win in marketing: human creativity. Its the ultimate irony to be more effective, we need to automate so we can focus on bringing humanity to our work. Data fuels marketing, but we need AI to sift through the data that powers those results. By liberating the Excel marketer, they can focus on the decisions that require creativity and spirit.

Ultimately, its the marketers with the best tools and the most creative mindsets who will succeed and become the growth architects for their brands of tomorrow.

To hear more predictions for 2020, attend our Predictions breakfast event on 21 Jan, register here.

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Automation and AI will launch a golden age of marketing - The Drum

Stories that will define the next decade: Automation will likely cause changes to the ports of LA, Long Beach – The Daily Breeze

Story: Automation will likely cause changes to the ports of LA, Long Beach.

What will happen: When the Port of Los Angeles largest terminal applied to bring in automated equipment this year, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union members and supporters objected to the move, turning out in large numbers for rallies protesting the growing trend of port automation that promises to take some jobs.

The specter of robots taking over jobs on the docks and displacing workers fueled an impassioned movement at the end of this decade which will only grow as the 2020s get underway.

Port automation has been on the horizon for some years, but U.S. ports have been slower to adapt than their European counterparts, in part due to strong unions that are quick to circle the wagons when jobs are at stake.

Tour of the Long Beach Container Terminal showing phase 1 of the Automated Shipping Container Cranes and battery-operated sleds that move the containers around the yard by remote control.To go with story by Rachel Uranga for P-T. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/SCNG/06-20-17

ILWU members and supporters took a moment of silence for all member before attending another Harbor Commission meeting to vote on the appeal regarding the permit allowing zero-emissions automation to move forward on the APM (Maersk) Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. This vote came after Los Angeles City Council rejected the ports earlier support of the permit and sent it back to harbor commissioners for reconsideration. Ultimately the commissioners voted exactly the same as they did previously 3-2 in favor of the permit for APM in San Pedro on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)


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Harbor Commissioner Edward R. Renwick asks a question during another meeting to vote on the appeal regarding the permit allowing zero-emissions automation to move forward on the APM (Maersk) Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. This vote came after Los Angeles City Council rejected the ports earlier support of the permit and sent it back to harbor commissioners for reconsideration. Ultimately the commissioners voted exactly the same as they did previously 3-2 in favor of the permit for APM in San Pedro on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

More than 1,500 ILWU members and supporters showed up for another Harbor Commission meeting to vote on the appeal regarding the permit allowing zero-emissions automation to move forward on the APM (Maersk) Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. This vote came after Los Angeles City Council rejected the ports earlier support of the permit and sent it back to harbor commissioners for reconsideration. Ultimately the commissioners voted exactly the same as they did previously 3-2 in favor of the permit for APM in San Pedro on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Some automation already has come to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. But when APM Terminals, on L.A.s Pier 400, applied for what was a routine permit to bring in new equipment in the summer of 2019, the ILWU erupted.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti brought the two sides together for private talks and, in the end, an they agreed on a deal allowing the terminal to move forward with automation while providing re-training for workers to save jobs.

But the issue wont die there.

Especially with the onset of computerization, automation in all job sectors continues to change the way business is done.

Automated ports also promise a cleaner operation the equipment will help meet strict pollution-cutting standards set out by both ports in the coming years.

How to balance the advantages of automation with the human factor providing and preserving needed jobs presents what will be an ongoing challenge for years to come.

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Stories that will define the next decade: Automation will likely cause changes to the ports of LA, Long Beach - The Daily Breeze

Robotic Process Automation Market Size, Outlook on Key Growth Trends, Factors and Forecast to 2026 – ReportsPioneer

New Jersey, United States, The report is a brilliant presentation of critical dynamics, regional growth, competition, and other important aspects of the Robotic Process Automation Market. The factual, unbiased, and thorough assessment of the global Robotic Process Automation market presented in the report assures players of access to much-needed information and data to plan effective growth strategies. The report has made a brilliant attempt to provide a comprehensive research study on industry value chain, major companies, deployment models, and key opportunities, drivers, and restraints of the global Robotic Process Automation market. It shows how the global Robotic Process Automation market will advance or lack growth during each year of the forecast period. Readers are offered with detailed and near-accurate predictions of CAGR and market size of the global Robotic Process Automation market and its important segments.

Global Robotic process automation Market was valued at USD 0.83 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 6.71 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 29.8% from 2019 to 2026.

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Top 10 Companies in the Global Robotic Process Automation Market Research Report:

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The competitive landscape of the global Robotic Process Automation market is extensively researched in the report. The analysts have largely concentrated on company profiling of major players and also on competitive trends. All of the companies studied in the report are profiled on the basis of production, revenue, growth rate, markets served, areas served, market share, and market growth. The report will help readers to study significant changes in market competition, the level of competition, and factors impacting future market competition. It discusses important target market strategies that leading players are expected to adopt in future. In addition, it throws light on future plans of key players.

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Regions Covered in the Global Robotic Process Automation Market:

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Table of Content

1 Introduction of Robotic Process Automation Market

1.1 Overview of the Market 1.2 Scope of Report 1.3 Assumptions

2 Executive Summary

3 Research Methodology of Verified Market Research

3.1 Data Mining 3.2 Validation 3.3 Primary Interviews 3.4 List of Data Sources

4 Robotic Process Automation Market Outlook

4.1 Overview 4.2 Market Dynamics 4.2.1 Drivers 4.2.2 Restraints 4.2.3 Opportunities 4.3 Porters Five Force Model 4.4 Value Chain Analysis

5 Robotic Process Automation Market, By Deployment Model

5.1 Overview

6 Robotic Process Automation Market, By Solution

6.1 Overview

7 Robotic Process Automation Market, By Vertical

7.1 Overview

8 Robotic Process Automation Market, By Geography

8.1 Overview 8.2 North America 8.2.1 U.S. 8.2.2 Canada 8.2.3 Mexico 8.3 Europe 8.3.1 Germany 8.3.2 U.K. 8.3.3 France 8.3.4 Rest of Europe 8.4 Asia Pacific 8.4.1 China 8.4.2 Japan 8.4.3 India 8.4.4 Rest of Asia Pacific 8.5 Rest of the World 8.5.1 Latin America 8.5.2 Middle East

9 Robotic Process Automation Market Competitive Landscape

9.1 Overview 9.2 Company Market Ranking 9.3 Key Development Strategies

10 Company Profiles

10.1.1 Overview 10.1.2 Financial Performance 10.1.3 Product Outlook 10.1.4 Key Developments

11 Appendix

11.1 Related Research

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Home Automation Is Taking Control On The Upper Cape – CapeNews.net

Technology over the past decade has become more easily controllable and automatic, responding to the touch of a finger or the sound of a voice.

This extends from our smartphones and tablets to our cars and homes. Some technology for control and automation is relatively simple to install and use; some of it is so complex it requires the expertise of a professional electronics integrator.

Homeowners on the Upper Cape who are looking for an integrated system to control lighting, thermostat, entertainment, security and other technologies have many options, whether they are building a new house or renovating an existing one.

Two Upper Cape-based home automation integrators areNew England Home Automation in Falmouth andTechnical Operations And Development, or TOAD, in Bourne.

New England Home Automation, formed in Hyannis in 2016, will open a showroom with its partner, Vineyard Home, at 587 Main Street in Falmouth next month.

Vineyard Home on Main Street in Falmouth

"We're planning to open our showroom February 1," said Jacob D. Avakian, a Bourne resident and owner of Vineyard Home since 2018. "We focus ongas fireplaces, audio and video, custom closets, outdoor living and home automation."

His partners are Addison Alder and Thomas Crabtree, both Barnstable residents, of New England Home Automation.

"Home automation is definitely the way things are going and the customer have gotten accustomed to smart technology and are coming to these in their homes," Mr. Avakian said, noting that builders, architects and homeowners sometimes shy away from "smart home tech" because they do not understand it.

"A smart home is really just a connected home, and though it sounds complicated to them, we can provide the knowledge and education," he said.

Jacob Avakian, owner of Vineyard Home (left) is opening a Falmouth showroom with Addison Alder and Thomas Crabtree of New England Home Automation.

A customer testimonial on the company's website says, "They installed a complete audio/video system, security, including cameras, alarm and remote, keyless door access, lighting control, HVAC monitoring and swimming pool electronics and provide monthly equipment monitoring."

A decade ago, there was great demand for a universal remote to control multiple devices in one device, Mr. Crabtree said.

"It's the same with home automation. You can take a few devices and integrate them together, like individual musical instruments, to create a symphony orchestra," he said.

"Rather than having multiple apps on your phone, you have a single interface to learn, and that's where the convenience comes in," Mr. Alder added.

The company has recently worked on new and existing construction projects with Longfellow Design Build and Pinsonneault Builders in Falmouth, along with builders and architects throughout the Cape, Mr. Crabtree said.

Developer Mark Bogosian, owner of Longfellow Design Build, said his company "is seeing an absolute increase in demand for home automation, everything from a smart thermostat to a total integrated home system. Vineyard Home and New England Home Automation have taken care of everything we need, and the partnership has been fantastic. They can coordinate directly with our clients."

"In the Cape Cod market, we have clients, builders mostly, who are approaching us, and for some reason we find that builders are somewhat afraid of technology," Mr. Crabtree said. "What we like to do is be that bridge to bring the mysterious world of technology to their clients, the homeowners. There's an information gap."

Providing dependable customer service is a huge priority for the company, Mr. Alder said.

"A lot of big Boston companies have satellite offices on the Cape. They'll come in and sell the system, but if something needs to get fixed, you might need to make an appointment weeks out, but that's not what these clients deserve or need. We're that local, full-service company that can meet their expectation quickly," he said.

The company primarily works with the Control4 home automation platform and also uses individual products such as the Google Nest hub, Mr. Crabtree said.

Control4 "has the best third-party integration" and is modular and expandable in design, Mr. Alder said.

"A basic system is between $1,000 and $2,000 and can expand to hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said.

In addition to whole-house systems, the company installs one-room systems, such as dedicated home theaters and media rooms with projectors and surround sound.

When working on new construction or major renovation projects, the partners recommend "future-proofing" a home by installing structured wiring before the interior walls are completed, Mr. Crabtree said.

"Everyone seems to think that WiFi or wireless is the way everything's moving, but a hard line is always better for reliability," he said. "Even in today's world, we still want to run a wire to everything. When you're building a new home or renovating, a prewire is relatively inexpensive, and it gives you options, even for resale. It gets much more expensive later on, when you're ripping out walls."

Builders sometimes overlook prewiring because they do not understand the benefits, Mr. Alder said.

"You might not want to install something now, but in the future, when you do want those components, the wire is there, and that is a cost saver in the future," he said.

Homeowners often ask the partners why they should install a certain technology when it will likely become obsolete in a matter of years, and this is where future-proofing makes the most difference, Mr. Avakian said.

"A lot of the cabling we use is a universal cable. In 10 years, most likely that cable can still be used for whatever they're trying to accomplish. You might ask, 'Why would I put a touchscreen on my wall if in five years there's going to be a new touchscreen?' But it's the same wire that runs to the touchscreen," he said.

New England Home Automation is a Barnstable-based company that is partnering with Vineyard Home in Falmouth.

Mr. Adler added that, while the end-user experience is often WiFi-based, "what gives you that connectivity is that solid wire."

Along with its residential work, New England Home Automation also does commercial work for businesses and corporations.

"We're working with a relatively large Falmouth company, and we have done the structured wiring in their corporate office. We're now in the design phase of a restaurant and store they're opening off-Cape," Mr. Avakian said.

The company mainly uses social media to market its services. Once the showroom is open, it will offer consultations and education sessions for homeowners, builders, architects and real estate agents, Mr. Avakian said.

At TOAD, which is headquartered in Buzzards Bay, Mark Hooper, a Bourne resident and former US Navy SEAL, formed his company in 2000 and now has clients across the Cape and Islands as well as along the Route 3 and Route 128 corridors. His business is 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial, he said.

"We began only with audiovisual technology, but as home control and automation technology evolved, I came to offer a full suite of services," he said. "This trade mirrors a little bit of the complexities of being a SEAL. There are a lot of elements to master, and you have to be a hybrid electrician and switch specialist."

Recent Upper Cape projects have involved working with Jill Neubauer Architects, Hutker Architects and C.H. Newton Builders in Falmouth, as well as Archia Homes in Duxbury.

"Not everybody gets a full-scale smart home. Some only do an aspect of it," Mr. Hooper said. "The demand is growing because a lot of companiesApple, for instanceare advancing, teaching people how to use their devices, with the idea of how to streamline that process."

In the past TOAD installed systems from Crestron, RTI and Control4, but its go-to system is now from Savant, based in Hyannis.

"Savant is the first Apple-based system, and it is simple to program," Mr. Hooper said. "Being part of that hometown team helps with clients, and having Savant here on the Cape has been a great resource."

To future-proof a home, Mr. Hooper recommends installing a system of interlocking copper tubes as an in-wall infrastructure for structured wiring, with access points to allow for upgrades and expansion.

"If you do nothing else, let us put in the tubes. It allows customers to take advantage of new technologies and will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years," he said, noting that TOAD installs state-of-the-art Cat8 wiring and fiber optic cable in certain projects.

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Home Automation Is Taking Control On The Upper Cape - CapeNews.net

True automation, a bigger streaming revolution: Tech that will take over our lives this year – Economic Times

By Brian X. ChenThe 2010s made one thing clear: Tech is everywhere in life.

Tech is in our homes with thermostats that heat up our residences before we walk through the door. Its in our cars with safety features that warn us about vehicles in adjacent lanes. Its on our television sets, where many of us are streaming shows and movies through apps. We even wear it on ourselves in the form of wristwatches that monitor our health.

In 2020 and the coming decade, these trends are likely to gather momentum. They will also be on display next week at CES, an enormous consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas that typically serves as a window into the years hottest tech developments.

At the show, next-generation cellular technology known as 5G, which delivers data at mind-boggling speeds, is expected to take center stage as one of the most important topics. We are also likely to see the evolution of smart homes, with internet-connected appliances such as refrigerators, televisions and vacuum cleaners working more seamlessly together and with less human interaction required.

The biggest thing is connected everything, said Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst for the research firm Creative Strategies. Anything in the home well have more cameras, more mics, more sensors.

If some of this sounds the same as last year, it is but thats because new technologies often take time to mature.

Heres what to watch in tech this year.

The Smarter Home: True AutomationIn the past few years, Amazon, Apple and Google have battled to become the center of our homes.

Their virtual assistants Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respond to voice commands to play music from speakers, control light bulbs and activate robot vacuums. Smart home products work well, but they are complicated to set up, so most people use virtual assistants just for basic tasks like setting a kitchen timer and checking the weather.

Then in December, Amazon, Apple and Google came to what appeared to be a truce: They announced that they were working together on a standard to help make smart home products compatible with one another.

In other words, when you buy an internet-connected light bulb down the line that works with Alexa, it should also work with Siri and Google Assistant. This should help reduce confusion when shopping for home products and improve the ease with which connected gadgets work with one another.

Milanesi said that eliminating complexity was a necessary step for the tech giants to achieve their ultimate goal: seamless home automation without the need for people to tell the assistants what to do.In December 2019, Amazon, Apple and Google came to what appeared to be a truce: They announced that they were working together on a standard to help make smart home products compatible with one another. You want the devices to talk to each other instead of me being the translator between these device interactions, she said. If I open my door, then the door can say to the lights that the door is open and therefore the lights need to turn on.

If and when that happens, your home will truly and finally be smart.

The Slow, Steady Rise of 5GIn 2019, the wireless industry began shifting to 5G, a technology that can deliver data at such incredibly fast speeds that people will be able to download entire movies in a few seconds.

Yet the rollout of 5G was anticlimactic and uneven. Across the United States, carriers deployed 5G in just a few dozen cities. And only a handful of new smartphones last year worked with the new cellular technology.5G will also go to work behind the scenes, in ways that will emerge over time. In 2020, 5G will gain some momentum. Verizon said it expected half the nation to have access to 5G this year. AT&T, which offers two types of 5G 5G Evolution, which is incrementally faster than 4G, and 5G Plus, which is the ultrafast version said it expected 5G Plus to reach parts of 30 cities by early 2020.

Another sign that 5G is really taking hold? A broader set of devices will support the new wireless standard.

Samsung, for one, has begun including 5G support on some of its newer Galaxy devices. Apple, which declined to comment, is also expected to release its first 5G-compatible iPhones this year.

And 5G will be going to work behind the scenes, in ways that will emerge over time. One important benefit of the technology is its ability to greatly reduce latency, or the time it takes for devices to communicate with one another. That will be important for the compatibility of next-generation devices like robots, self-driving cars and drones.

For example, if your car has 5G and another car has 5G, the two cars can talk to each other, signaling to each other when they are braking and changing lanes. The elimination of the communications delay is crucial for cars to become autonomous.

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For a long while, Apple has dominated wearables. In 2015, it released Apple Watch, a smartwatch with a focus on health monitoring. In 2016, the company introduced AirPods, wireless earbuds that can be controlled with Siri.

Since then, many others have jumped in, including Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei. Google recently acquired Fitbit, the fitness gadget maker, for $2.1 billion, in the hope of playing catch-up with Apple.

Computer chips are making their way into other electronic products like earphones, which means that companies are likely to introduce innovations in wearable accessories, said Frank Gillett, a technology analyst for Forrester. Two possibilities: earphones that monitor your health by pulling pulses from your ears, or earbuds that double as inexpensive hearing aids.

That whole area of improving our hearing and hearing the way other people hear us is really interesting, he said.

The Streaming RevolutionWe have rushed headlong into the streaming era, and that will only continue.

In 2019, Netflix was the most-watched video service in the United States, with people spending an average of 23 minutes a day streaming its content, according to eMarketer, the research firm. In all, digital video made up about a quarter of the daily time spent on digital devices last year, which included time spent on apps and web browsers.

Netflixs share of the overall time we spend watching video on devices will probably decline in 2020, according to eMarketer, because of the arrival of competing streaming services like Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV Plus.

Even though Americans are spending more time watching Netflix, peoples attention will become more divided as new streamers emerge, Ross Benes, an analyst at eMarketer, said in a blog post.

So if you dont like 'The Mandalorian', 'The Morning Show' or 'Watchmen', you wont change the channel. You will just switch to a different app.

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True automation, a bigger streaming revolution: Tech that will take over our lives this year - Economic Times

Despite Chaotic Year, Automation, AI Offer Benefits to Indian IT Industry – Analytics Insight

The year 2019 witnessed a lot of dramatic events in India IT industry, be it hostile takeover at Mindtree, change of guard at Wipro, and whistle-blower allegations against Infosys top leadership. Despite all the chaos, it has been expected that automation and AI will continue to harness multi-million prospects for the industry.

Also, as quoted inBusiness Standard, in a departure from the past, industry body Nasscom discontinued providing its annual growth forecast for the industry which was considered as an important tool to measure the sentiment of the sector. Nasscom analyzed, for 2019 it was cautiously optimistic and cited rising global economic uncertainties arising out of trade wars and protectionism.

As we can observe the impact of new-age technologies across the nation, the industry is focussing on robotics,artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning to help customers stay ahead in the game and also remain competitive themselves.

Nasscom Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer Sangeeta Gupta said, the advent of new technology paradigms like robotics, AI, blockchain and IoT is changing howcompaniesand individuals consume technology and for the Indian businesses to remain successful, an update to the technology of tomorrow, today will be needed.

With the rise ofautomationandartificial intelligenceis becoming an integral part of business, the concerns around layoffs also continued to emerge through 2019.

Moreover, at the end of October 2019, Cognizant said it planned to cut off around 7,000 jobs as part of cost-reduction efforts. Adding up to that Indian MNC Infosys also reported to be mulling firing thousands but the company clarified that there were no planned layoffs.

Despite all the slow and steadiness, industry experts predicted that industry continues to be a healthy net hirer.

WNS Group CEO and Nasscom Chairman Keshav Murugesh said, the IT industry continues to hire in large numbers. The sector, in fact, expected net hires to total about 1.2 lakh last year and ended up hiring 1.7 lakh. This year, in the first quarter itself, 85,000 net new hirings have taken place.

He further stated that considering that the industry has witnessed a positive hiring trend, from Nasscoms point of view, we are cautiously optimistic in terms of the overall year and aim to see this trend continue in the coming year.

As cited in Business Standard, the US continues to be an important market for the Indian IT services players, accounting for over 60 percent of the export revenues. WhileIndian companieshave ramped up local hiring in these markets, there continue to be challenges on the regulatory front in terms of visa-related issues.

Furthermore, Sangeeta Gupta said, Nasscom strongly supports eliminating the per-country caps on Green Cards as was the original intent of S. 386, the Fairness For High-Skilled Immigrants legislation. However, Nasscom is opposed to both the process being followed and discriminatory provisions of the bill that deal with the unrelated matter of H-1B visas.

Today, the new money and core of IT services are inclusive of innovation at scale rather than scaling IT services. Some experts believe that in order to accelerate technological growth, India needs to attract more foreign investment, offer tailored upskilling programs, retain home-grown talent, as well as create a favorable regulatory environment. Moreover, the IT industry in India will have to maintain a fine balance between driving innovative solutions and overcoming the challenges that these solutions may introduce.

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Despite Chaotic Year, Automation, AI Offer Benefits to Indian IT Industry - Analytics Insight

How AI may be the key to future-proofing jobs at risk of being automated – Employee Benefit News

AI isnt stealing jobs. It could be the key to retraining workers for the jobs of the future.

While reskilling of America may be one of the top challenges for employers over the coming decade, employers that use technology and AI to nurture their staffs career development will be the big winners in keeping top talent, says Anne Fulton, CEO of of Fuel50, a career pathing solution that provides AI tools to bolster employee retention.

Artificial intelligence and automation is estimated to replace 75 million jobs by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum. Companies have started adopting AI in ways that best support their workforce, without losing valuable employees.

We need to think very carefully about how to leverage AI and automation and implementation so that people's contributions are protected, Fulton says. I'm a proponent of protecting those jobs but lets power that person up with as much AI and intelligence so they can do their job better.

Fuel50 utilizes artificial intelligence through algorithms to match employees with internal opportunities with their current employers. The program also provides learning tools and professional development training.

With a roster of 70 companies worldwide and more than one million employees engaged in the program, Fulton says Fuel50 bridges the gap between AI and human touch to help employees seek out opportunities within their own organizations instead of looking for other employment elsewhere.

Read more: How AI can assist overworked human resources

AI has come into many jobs, but I think there is an awareness that it can be done better and there are risks associated with removing those learning moments and problem solving skills, Fulton says. Organizations have been struggling to fill those positions and HR needs to think very, very carefully around how they can future-proof their business and have the skills for the future.

Employees are eager to gain valuable skills and education needed to advance in their careers. According to a 2019 survey by Careerbuilder, just 32% of employees are satisfied with opportunities for career advancement within their own company and 58% say their employer does not offer enough opportunities to advance their skills with education and training. However 73% of employees said they would participate if opportunities were made available.

To attract and retain talent, hiring managers will need to meet workers' career expectations and provide the perks, work-life balance and career advancement opportunities they demand," says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Companies are quickly recognizing the need to invest not just in technology, but in their workforce too. In July, Amazon announced it would be spending $700 million to train more than 100,000 workers for higher-skilled positions by 2025.

We think its important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves, Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR at Amazon, said in a statement.

Read more: The real reason employees leave their employer

Fulton believes this investment will pay off Fuel50 provides educational and skills-based training through their online module and helps identify opportunities within an organization where those skills are most valued. Fulton says the program helps employees stay engaged and excited about their future path.

We start with the employee first. Most HR technology is top-down, compliance driven. We're all about you and your future, Fulton says. Part of that future includes your resilience. We want you to be agile, engaged, motivated and at your best at work.

Currently, Fuel50 has been implemented at DHL, eBay and Pepsi, among other companies.

By focusing on improving the employee experience, companies are able to balance the fast pace of automation and technology with a more engaged and well-skilled workforce aligned with a companys vision for the future, Fulton says.

We're a retention solution, helping employees see where the future lies within that organization, Fulton says. My dream is we utilize AI so that humans are able to do their jobs better and in a more powerful way and people can create futures for themselves.

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How AI may be the key to future-proofing jobs at risk of being automated - Employee Benefit News

The End of the Road for Spreadsheets? – Automation World

Two predominant aspects of Industry 4.0 are connectivity and analytics. In the digital transformation of industry, connectivity is commonly viewed as the means to an analytical end that better informs the way industrial business is conducted.

While most everyone is generally clear on what analytic technologies for industry are designed to do, i.e., transform the data generated by our factories systems and devices for direct application to improve operations and decision making, thats where the clarity ends. Beyond this point, the definition of analytics can vary widelyespecially from technology supplier to technology supplier.

Michael Risse of Seeq, a company that provides industrial analytics software, says the term analytics can mean anything from data visualization, machine learning, and business intelligence to dashboards and key performance indicators. No matter how analytics is defined, Risse, argues, the overriding issue is the pressure to gain insight from data.

Against this backdrop, Risse says industrys long-preferred tool for analyticsspreadsheetsare not up to the task of performing advanced analytics on ever-larger datasets being created by Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 projects. Insights that take too long to discover, as tends to be the case with spreadsheets, languish because they cannot easily be published and shared with others. Though theyve been the backbone of the past 30 years of analytics efforts in manufacturing, spreadsheets will simply not suffice for the next 30 years. There is too much data, too few engineering professionals, and too many demands for insight from improvements in analytics for spreadsheets to be the primary solution.

From this viewpoint, Risse sees three trends industrial companies should be aware of as they look to move beyond spreadsheets as their primary source of data analyses.

The first of these trends is the recognition of employee empowerment through self-service analytics. Risse says the reason spreadsheets have enjoyed their run of success as the primary tool for analytics is that they are accessible to the employees who know the questions to ask. So, if you lack plant-floor expertise, you likely dont know what questions to ask.

Engineers are the most important group of analytics users, says Risse. They have the required experience, expertise, and history with the plant and processes. Self-service analytics let engineers work at an application level with productivity, empowerment, interaction, and ease-of-use benefits. In the future, however, the universe of analytics users will expand beyond engineers to operators, executives, and accountantsall of whom will also benefit.

The second trend Risse notes is the emergence of advanced analytics. This new class of analytics speaks to the inclusion of cognitive computing technologies into the visualization and calculation offerings that have been used for years to accelerate insights for end users, he says. The introduction of machine learning and other analytic techniques accelerate an engineer's efforts when seeking correlations, clustering, or any other needle-in-the- haystack analysis of process data. With these features built on multi-dimensional models and enabled by assembling data from different sources, engineers gain an order-of-magnitude improvement in analytic capabilities, akin to moving from pen and paper to the spreadsheet 30 years ago.

The movement of analytics to the cloud is the third trend Risse highlights. Analytics workloads are particularly suited for this migration, because most use cases require the scalability, agility, time to market, and reduced costs provided by the cloud, he says.

Though this trend of moving analytics to the cloud is still in its infancy, Risse notes that some industries are ahead of the curve in this respect. He points out that Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have specifically focused on the oil and gas sector as a starting point for their efforts in targeting industrial use of the cloud for analytics purposes.

To provide some real-world context to support his view of these developing trends, Risse offered an example of a chemical company that chose a browser-based advanced analytics application running in the cloud to connect to its on-premise data via a secure HTTPS connection and a remote connection agent. The solution was deployed and accessible in a matter of hours, and the data stayed where it was, enabling insight in days rather than months, he says. Another option is to make the cloud the destination for datasets collected from remote or IIoT end points. This is a more natural and easier option than trying to reroute data from carriers and wireless systems back into IT systems and then to the cloud. In this case, end users can then access the data by either running analytics on the cloud or by running the analytics solution on premise with a remote connection to the cloud-based data.

Another option for industrial companies is to use cloud-based analytics software to access multiple sites. This kind of application facilitates cross-plant comparisons for yield and quality analyses. It also can be used as a simple remote connection for occasional queries and comparisons may suffice, depending on the frequency and requirements of the end user, Risse adds.

In any of these scenarios, Risse points out that the monitoring data may be complemented or contextualized by connecting the analytics solutions to other data sources-historians or manufacturing execution systems to get a complete view of all data.

Read more about Risse's insights related to the big changes he sees coming to industry from software applications.

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The End of the Road for Spreadsheets? - Automation World

Automation benefits and costs – Economics Help

Definition of automation

Automation refers to the process of automatically producing goods through the use of robots, control systems and other appliances with a minimal direct human operation.

Within manufacturing industries, automation has led to increased labour productivity as fewer workers are needed to produce the same number of manufactured goods.

A perceived downside of automation is that it leads to jobs being displaced in traditional areas of work in particular, blue-collar manufacturing jobs. Less visible is how the process of automation leads to the creation of new jobs in areas such as robot manufacture, research, marketing and software development.

However, there are still concerns about the social and economic impact of the rapid job displacement associated with automation and globalisation. In fact, there is enduring concern automation is costing jobs an idea some economists argue is just an enduring faith in the Luddite fallacy.

Automation is a major influence on the economy and will continue to be over the next decade. In theory, automation can lead to significant benefits for the whole economy. Greater GDP, higher productivity and increased customisation of the consumer experience. However, there are legitimate concerns about how these gains will be distributed. It is tempting to dismiss all concerns of new technology as the old Luddite fallacy. But, there is no guarantee that displaced workers will be seamlessly integrated into a very different labour market.

But, on the other hand, it would be a mistake to be too pessimistic. Past trends in automation have served the economy well. Who would go back to a time of 1 million people working as a coal miner or 90% of the population growing their own food? Automation will lead to new opportunities, and with increased technology, we could see the potential for a revitalisation of cottage industries with self-employed workers having the ability to use their creativity to join a fast-changing economy.


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Automation benefits and costs - Economics Help

What is Automation | IBM

Foundational automation is rules based

Fueled by bots, basic automation removes the need to manually perform repetitive and rules-based tasks involving structured data. IBM uses business process management (BPM) libraries and workflow software with select robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities for faster implementation to help you realize benefits more quickly.

Serving as the core of any automation program, basic automation can eliminate errors, reduce biases and perform transactional work in a fraction of the time.

According to a recent IBM study, 91 percent of organizations use at least some basic automation. TakeIBMs 5-minute assessmentto see if youre one of them.

Advanced automation combines technologies

IBM artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enhance automation solutions in ways that few competitors can match. Robotics, coupled with machine learning, natural language processing and analytics, extends the reach and range of automation. This approach can derive insights and recommendations designed to improve outcomes and create higher levels of productivity across your workforce.

Advanced automation brings together man and machine to integrate multiple systems and work together to execute functions across an enterprise. Supporting more complex processes that rely on unstructured data, it helps with knowledge management and decision support for work requiring greater levels of expertise.

Curious about more advanced processes? Check out our infographic (PDF, 624KB) to learn more.

Intelligent automation drives autonomous decision making (and more)

The IBM automation technology ecosystem helps reimagine process designs and create new ways of working. Intelligent automation drives autonomous decision making, continuous process improvements and learned orchestration to help transform your business and adapt to the changing marketplace.

More companies are using automation to take front-office and back-office operations to the next level. While automating simple, repetitive processes through RPA is becoming more common, many organizations are still challenged with where to start and how to meet their full potential. IBM Automation Services can help.

The IBM approach to transformation reflects a broad spectrum of business needs, from basic task automation through RPA to intelligent automation with advanced analytics and cognitive technologies. Digital labor strategy, change management and continuous improvement principles are the basis of how IBM drives transformation to optimize and sustain measurable business benefits for your enterprise.

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What is Automation | IBM