The fundamental purpose of automation, controls & drives is to improve productivity - generate increased output with reduced costs. Productivity has now become a global race. It's a fierce, head-to-head competition between regions and nations for the single reason that it is the source of the wealth, the key to improvements in living standards. Those who can produce cheaper, faster, better - win!
Technology improves productivity and wins market-share. Hardware and software, products and systems, will continue on the technology treadmill, becoming smaller, cheaper, higher performance at a better price, more widely available. Within the next few years, literally billions of communications-enabled products and processes will provide intelligence and connectivity for almost everything, extending the Internet into almost every aspect of our lives.
Machine-to-machine communications (M2M) will yield significant benefits over the next decade. Imagine every major piece of equipment monitoring its own operation, including uptime, downtime, dwell-time, energy usage, malfunction and repair-time. Usage can then be reported with an Internet connection, providing real-time asset management and operating return on investment (ROI).
Wireless sensor networks will generate significant new growth, providing vast arrays of real-time, remote interaction with the physical world. The future of wireless is not just replacement of copper in conventional applications. New leadership and market share will go to those who use wireless imaginatively to completely reshape old systems with as yet unimagined benefits.