For businesses and industries worldwide, it can be both challenging and frustrating to implement automation. Some companies can be slow to automate processes because of adverse reactions to new technologies or a general distrust of what those technologies can do. And for some industries, automation can seem like some trendy new process not suited for their operations. But that isn’t always the case.
Automation has revolutionized a diverse range of industries and processes – many of them we might even take for granted today. At its core, automation is a system implemented to complete repetitive, easily replicated decisions and tasks. While automation has been around for centuries, like many processes and technologies, it is continually advancing and evolving. As companies scale up, they shouldn’t be afraid of these new advancements; they should embrace them.
We used to celebrate automation and praise how it simplified processes. It was unprecedented when Johannes Gutenberg automated the printing press. Since then, many of life’s essential functions have become automated: dishwashers, heating and cooling systems, garage door openers, and self-parking cars – just to name a few. The desktop/laptop computer created more than 19 million jobs in industries ranging from computer hardware to enterprise software to online retail sales.Doc Brown even used automation to feed his dog, Einstein, at the beginning of Back to the Future. And perhaps the most glaring example of automation we might take for granted: autopilot. Autopilot has transformed air travel for the better and simplified most, if not all, pilot processes. History has shown these diverse examples of automation have greatly improved our lives and allowed us to focus on more important tasks.
If automation has proven its success and convenience, why are so many businesses and industries reluctant to implement? According to a McKinsey report, as a whole, it is incredibly low-risk to implement automation technologies for enterprises. In fact, the report found that over 50% of work today can be automated with available technology. But, still, companies have concerns about automation. One of the predominant concerns is that automation is a slippery slope toward replacing human workers with machines.
In the 1970s, tellers had an enormous concern when the banking system introduced the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Fears rippled across the banking world that ATMs would make the teller position obsolete. But since the introduction of ATMs and its more extensive deployment during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the number of full-time bank tellers has grown. Why didn’t the dread of bank employees come to fruition? Because the ATM allowed banks to operate branch offices at a lower cost, prompting them to open more branches, thus hiring more tellers.
The future of work looks set to be not a tale of machines replacing humans, but of machines complementing humans in the workplace.
- James Manyika, Chairman & Director, McKinsey Global Institute
It’s simple: to keep up, companies need to redesign their business processes. If companies are expecting transformative results, they can’t continue dabbling with conventional practices. The only way to ensure your company thrives in the future is to embrace innovative technologies.
For industries like construction, energy, mining, and utilities, implementing automated practices can reduce costs, mitigate risk, and streamline operations. Automation can even be used in agriculture to help weeding, harvesting, spraying pesticides, and crop scouting. The mining industry is using AI and automation to re-visit abandoned mines to find sustainably sourced raw materials. For the utility industry specifically, a Capgemini report found automation offers the potential to save between $237 billion and $813 billion globally over the next three years. Additionally, with automation, resources can be diverted elsewhere, improving a company’s overall agility.
As companies implement automation and new technologies, there still needs to be a level of stability and control. Automation requires an essential device to ensure all moving parts are working together and communicating effectively. Think of automation as a car, and many components make up that car: transmission, filter, fuel pump, radiator, alternator, etc. All of these things need to work together in harmony to function properly. At DroneDeploy, we see our software as one of the critical pillars helping drive this automation. As companies scale up their automation, AI, and machine learning practices, we can process and analyze all the data from those automated tasks and give you precise, digestible insights so you can take action sooner and save money faster. We’re simplifying automation for hundreds of job sites with thousands of assets spanning millions of acres of terrain.
But just as automation and technology advance, so, too, must DroneDeploy. We know how imperative it is to stay connected, stay informed, and make better business decisions, which is why we tirelessly work to elevate your data. And as we roll out new advancements and features, we’re confident industries will improve their overall experiences; businesses will gain a competitive advantage; and companies will see gains in productivity, product quality, safety, efficiency, and product output.
We can’t guarantee it will be easy to implement automation, as employees will still experience some company pushback and slow adoption practices. A McKinsey study looked at a range of high-value technologies over the past 60 years – from airbags to MRI machines to smartphones – and found that the pace of adoption hadn’t changed. It still takes between 5 and 16 years to reach 50 percent adoption and 5 to 28 years to reach 80 percent adoption. But past examples have proven that those who apply new technologies into their practices sooner will succeed in the long run.