How clear were 2020 automation predictions?

Think again: Did you have 2020 vision? How clear were your foresights? Predictions of automation, controls, and instrumentation for 2020 were spot on, though perhaps closer to the ideal than to where most are. Are you making these changes quickly enough to stay competitive?

By Mark T. Hoske January 11, 2020

What will automation, controls, and instrumentation look like in 2020? That was the question representatives of the System Integrator of the Year (SIY) winners answered five years ago. Looking around, I’d say those 2020 visions were clear. I worry some technology users aren’t moving quickly enough with upgrades and new installations and are putting their organizations at risk with hesitation. (With this article online, see links more 2020 predictions.)

2015’s view of 2020

Looking back at 2015’s view of 2020…

Why hesitate?

Why do any of us avoid change, especially for automation, controls and instrumentation?

  • Change is challenging; why change what’s working?
  • We have a lot on our plates, and cannot adequately evaluate or migrate to the next generation of technologies.
  • If I just keep this running for another few years, I can retire and leave the upgrade to someone else.
  • If we wait a few more years, I can install what I want and not what the elders think we need.

Any of that sound familiar? Step up and think again about upgrades before more retirees walk out the door. Work with the next generation of control and automation experts at your location to upgrade before you go. They’ll be glad for your insights.

And you, next generation of automation and control experts: Don’t let that domain knowledge walk out the door without capturing the best and letting go of the rest.

Everyone: Collaborate with experts; don’t let another year pass without the competitive advantages from new designs, technologies and implementations. Get help and advice from system integrators to move quickly with confidence.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS: 2020 predictions, upgrades, advances

Predictions of 2020 technologies were spot on.

Implementations might be a bit behind.

Collaborate to upgrade soon.


As CFE Media and Technology celebrates its 10th anniversary, get advice about factory controller upgrades in January 2020 Control Engineering and on process control upgrades in February.

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What will automation, controls, and instrumentation look like in 2020?

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.