2019 Automation & Control Trends

Automation & Control Trends in 2019

My Top 2019 Automation & Control Trends

Accelerating Change & Reaching the Tipping Point

The pace of technological change in the automation industry seems to be accelerating as we head into 2019, driven by innovations developed for Internet of Things and general computing.   In last year’s Top 10 Automation & Control Trends for 2018 – A Year of Technology Driven Change, I shared the view that 2018 would look to bring structural and architectural changes that would be disruptive to organizations and suppliers that resist change. As we enter the new year, there are indeed signs of disruption in various industrial automation niches, leading to a prominent question for 2019.

Question: Is the industrial automation industry at a tipping point with innovative new system architectures, software, and edge devices leading to broad disruption?

Manufacturing Competitiveness at Stake

In countless industries, we have seen companies, who leverage disruptive innovations, position themselves to become industry leaders, bastions of productivity, and economically prosperous.  One example that Industry 4.0 discussions universally employ is the the early automotive industry. These arguments cite Henry Ford’s domination, in the early years of the automobile industry, with the world’s first moving assembly line producing Model T’s and 93 minutes.  Yet, decades later, the 1990’s saw United States automakers innovating less in manufacturing. The US automakers eventually started losing significant market share to Japanese automotive manufacturers, who were leveraging newer management methods, advanced manufacturing methods and aggressive use of automation, and robotics. United States automakers, during that time, had access to the same technologies and methods, but they were not moved to take advantage of them until compelled by economic factors. By that point, for some of them, it was too late.

The lesson: if new transformative technology and methods are not adopted by manufacturers, they may soon struggle to remain competitive and profitable.

Key Trend in the article:

  • Enterprise Systems Absorb Plant Floor Computing

  • Open Architecture Initiatives Growing

  • Wired & Wireless Ethernet & Networking Advancing (TSN, 5G; APL)

  • The Invasion of the Robots

  • The Emergence of Open Systems from New Sources

  • Embedded Cyber Security

  • Stricter Cyber Security Regulation on the Horizon

  • New Automation Hardware Platforms

  • User Unrest with Status Quo

  • Incumbent Automation Suppliers Dilemma


About Bill Lydon

Experienced industrial, process control, and building automation professional with technology and business experience ranging from corporate experience, co-founder & president of a start-up company and as an industry consultant.

Successfully launched major new technical products as a marketing manager for a Fortune 500 company and by contrast built an early stage start-up company from seed money to venture capital. Based on my experience I take a common sense approach to technology and business analysis.

Active in the automation industry with articles appearing regularly in Automation.com and InTech magazine ( ISA.org/InTech ) providing insights and industry analysis.


Automation & Controls Industry Technology & Business Analysis
Industrial Automation, Building Automation, Process Control; M2M, Embedded Automation

Interested in Industrial Automation Business Coaching from Bill? (Click here)

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