Taking the fear out of change: Automation is freeing you up

When talking about process automation, say the use of technology to automate repetitive and manual tasks within a business process, somehow people get lost in the jargon. And that’s pretty normal as vendors brand Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligence Automation, Intelligence Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence tools that make all sorts of things. At the end of the day, it’s all about avoiding time-consuming tasks and freeing up employee-hours. But how is this changing the nature of work?

Books say you need to make your chief point about a topic in the first place and then add some supporting details. But, sometimes, a simple example is more effective to deconstruct a complex concept than a long explanation.

Imagine you work in a building where heating, lighting, energy and even occupation time are controlled via IoT. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software enables you to automate the decision to adjust heating or air conditioning and lightning according to preset settings. Simply put, you can tell your RPA software to turn off the lights and adjust the temperature when a meeting room is empty.

Now imagine you work in the healthcare sector and you need to use wearables to monitor your patients’ vital signs. RPA can take this real-time data to automate alerts and preventative actions. For example, if data from a wearable indicates a dangerous increase in a patient’s blood pressure, the RPA system could automatically send an alert to the medical team or the patient themselves, and even adjust appointment scheduling for earlier evaluation.

Overall, this is what RPA does: making easier some repetitive tasks that emulate human actions, while avoiding errors, improving efficiency, and reducing costs. And this is changing the nature of work not only because it’s freeing you up from menial tasks but also because it gives you time for more strategic work that can contribute to economic growth or even address moonshot societal challenges.

“The convergence of RPA and IoT is marking a before and after in the way we understand and apply technology in our daily lives and in the business environment”, says Xavier Laballós, expert in AI and Co-Founder of Growthhackingcourse. “With its ability to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks, RPA is a perfect complement for IoT, which provides a constant stream of data in real-time thanks to the interconnection of smart devices,” he adds.

“This synergy not only expands the reach of automation beyond traditional back-office tasks to encompass physical and operational processes, but also enhances businesses’ ability to make data-driven decisions, optimize operations, and deliver more personalized and efficient services,” he insists.

This is substantiated by data. The global Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market is forecast to grow to more than 13 billion U.S. dollars by 2030, an increase of more than 12 billion compared to 2020 as it expands to more and more sectors to tackle a wide range of tasks including data entry, transaction processing, customer service such as managing frequently asked questions or managing complaints, regulatory compliance or accounting and finance.

AI superpowers

But what happens when you add Artificial Intelligence to the equation? Sometimes the two are confused to be the same. But for simplicity, as before mentioned, RPA is a software that mimics human actions while AI focuses on machines simulating human intelligence. So, when you add AI to RPA you give superpowers to your automation software.

It goes without saying that when considering RPA for your company you need first to identify automatable tasks, then choose an RPA tool aligning with your specific needs, develop and deploy bots, while manage and monitor its implementation. This isn’t done overnight and needs a clear roadmap which considers how it will affect your staff.

A McKinsey analysis underlines that “about half of the activities (not jobs) carried out by workers could be automated.” Therefore, “nearly all occupations will be affected by automation, but only about 5% of occupations could be fully automated by currently demonstrated technologies”. The least susceptible categories include managing others, providing expertise, and interfacing with stakeholders, says the report.

In any case, we need to prepare for work disruptions while being optimist. At IOTSWC24 we will det deep into the use of RPA and AI so that workers can focus on unseen problems instead of executing tasks. In the end, redefining work for new value is the next opportunity.

Article by: Anna Solana

Pedro Mier

Pedro Mier holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineer ing from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, MBA from ESADE and PADE from IESE. He is currently President of AMETIC (Association of Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies of Spain), Shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TRYO Aerospace & Electronics, Board Member of the Premo Group and Committee of CTTC. member of Space Angels Network and Member of the Sc ientific Advisory