The old adage necessity is the mother of invention, is timeless, and is as relevant today as it was in the past. Many technological advancements that we enjoy today and take for granted, were in fact discoveries or inventions that originated from the challenges encountered in navigating through one’s life (be it daily chores, personal or professional responsibilities etc). Now, we have reached a stage where technology is outpacing our needs, and is helping us become hyper-efficient, and super-productive [I will not get into possible side-effects of technology because I believe one is intelligent enough to use their discretion and choose wisely].
TIn general perception, automation is very often equated either with process automation, and/or digitization of physical processes. But the fact is, it is much more than that, and is the integration of many new generation (exponential) technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI, ML, Blockchain etc.
IoT-based automation is one such technological advancement that is revolutionizing multiple domains, and offers unlimited potential for human advancement.
Let us look at how automation is having a transformative impact in diverse fields.
Automation in education
An appropriate use case for understanding the impact of automation is to look at how implementing IoT would change our schools! A student attending school is assigned a unique identity by means of a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). As soon as a student enters the class, RFID reader records their attendance automatically. Likewise, attendance of the teachers can also be recorded and monitored. Based on the attendance data that is captured, a daily, weekly, or monthly report can be generated, and shared with parents. This can also be used to generate emergency notifications in case a student is absent without authorization. School boards and local governments can use this data to better manage student to teacher ratios, and also for teacher and school administration.
Let us take this up a notch! Imagine a student missing a class because s/he is sick. This data can be automatically shared with the healthcare system, if it is integrated with the school student records, which can lead to a predictive forecast that can be used to prevent an outbreak of infectious diseases!
Automation in healthcare
Another use case for understanding potential of automation is the implementation of new buzz Blockchain. Let us consider healthcare and insurance. A patient needs assistance from doctors, government, and insurance providers. If all stakeholders are on a Blockchain platform, everyone gets to see accurate data which cannot be manipulated (Blockchain is immutable) and is secure (Blockchain requires authorization). A patient profile in a Blockchain is a transaction which can be accessed by the government, which can use this data for further analysis and provision of medical benefits; and the governments usage of this data can also be added as a block to the existing chain thus providing transparency to the patient. Similarly, the insurance provider can add claims to the existing chain thus fulfilling accountability. Data being passed from one stakeholder to other, generation of notifications at each stage, can all be automated with Blockchain, thus ensuring everyone a seamless experience.
Disruption is natural
With the advent of Bitcoin, we saw how the banking industry is disrupted; Governments across the world are struggling to regulate this technology, which has the potential to replace cash! If technology can disrupt a crucial sector such as banking and finance, imagine its potential to disrupt other sectors.
Disruption is natural, and will always be there in one form or other. eCommerce platforms, with their zero-inventory model, have disrupted Retail industry and changed it beyond recognition from brick-n-mortar to click-n-deliver. Businesses which cry foul, will be left behind, and those who adapt and become adept with the latest technological advancements will stay ahead in the game.
Automation aided by a slew of technological advancements is at the heart of this disruption. Through automation, modern technologies also get tested thoroughly and make it to the market much faster than earlier. Innovation and modern technology lead to automation, which will inevitably generate significant enhancements to our quality of life, and this is a virtuous cycle that will continue for a long time.