Apply technology advances to automation software

Automation software design inspiration comes from new technologies, partners, and involved customers.

By Melissa Topp, Iconics February 16, 2018

Recognizing new technology breakthroughs and applying them to automation software designs by involving partners and customers in the process provides inspiration.

In recognizing multiple new technological breakthroughs, automation software development teams can identify, understand, and integrate automation software solution advances. In the past 30 years, advances progress from the early days of DOS through the emergence of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It includes the move from 2-D graphics to more lifelike 3-D. It includes the evolution from 32-bit computing to 64-bit. It includes the widening access from PCs to laptops to mobile phones to wearable holographic devices. 

Help from partners

Beyond finding inspiration through continuous technological innovations, working relationships with companies and organizations can help, such as the close working relationship with Microsoft and the OPC Foundation. Programs offer opportunities and insights for participants, such as the Microsoft Gold Partner program and the Microsoft Partner of the Year program (including areas such as software application development and sustainability, among others.

In the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner program, participants work closely with Microsoft to best leverage technologies to improve automation-focused software. Microsoft products that help today include Windows 10, Windows Server, Microsoft .NET, Microsoft Azure, SQL Server, and SharePoint, to name a few. Working with the OPC Foundation provides an opportunity to share source code, host interoperability studies, and exchange information with other members. Helping advance the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard allows for the interoperability of best-of-breed real-time, alarm management, and historian systems.

Customer and integrator feedback

Soliciting frequent product feedback from customers and integrators and listening to the "voice of the customer" helps throughout product development and ongoing lifecycles. Customers get involved via summit events, on-site training, trade shows, beta programs, support contacts, and websites. A wide array of customer responses can inform decision-making for automation software developers. Automation software improves by keeping an eye on the future of information technology (IT), maintaining involvement in industry partnerships, and adhering to the customers’ needs.

Melissa Topp is senior director of global marketing, Iconics. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS Automation software development

  • Information technology integration
  • Software industry partnerships, and
  • Learning from customers improve automation software.


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