ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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Advancing Technology in the New Work Scenario

Technological developments have steadily changed the work scenario since the First Industrial Revolution. We can perceive the effects of technologies, combined with political and social changes, that have contributed to a migration of the status quo.

We note the strong correlation of changing technologies with changing work models, and how both have had an exponential impact on the modern world. Recent developments have happened so quickly, at a speed never before practicedalthough Moore’s law for semiconductors predicted it in 1965.

Today, the new model of work and relations requires a pause to reorganize our careers and businesses.


  • Industrial revolutions forced people to evolve out of their comfort zones
  • Evolution from generation to generation
  • Emerging technologies
  • The new normal and the work scenario
  • The future, apparently accelerated by the current pandemic

From the First Industrial Revolution to the present, humankind has had to move to adapt to the “new normal” of each era. In the past, when working models were adjusted, humans gradually came to accept them. However, the speed of change today requires a mental evolution for which not everyone is prepared.

What can be done? The required mindset has not yet been absorbed by the majority of the workforce.

The unprecedented situation we are experiencing has sped up the process of digital transformation and, consequently, business. The conservatism of many organizations has made it difficult to perceive the need for a technological updateuntil now. (The process of human change does not follow the exponential trajectory of Moore’s law.)

If we analyze the population breakdown of generations in our world today, we realize that we have a great potential for transformation. The workforce in many areas already focuses largely on new generations. According to the September 2019 issue of Época Negócios magazine, millennials now make up 34% of the total population of Brazil, and represent 50% of the workforce. It estimates that, by 2030, Generation Y should occupy 70% of jobs in Brazil.

Emerging technology companies have not yet planned for business growth in the proportion required for international standards, except in some segmentsbusiness, for example, and agribusiness, which has advanced standards.

The Brazilian industrial sector, through Brazil's National Industry Confederation (CNI), has sought to accelerate this process despite the slowness of the country's innovation and transformation process. The gear requires multiple segments, and it is necessary to leverage small and medium companies to synchronize overall performance. For that, it has been moving through the Entrepreneurial Mobilization for Innovation (MEI) group.

The concept of dataism, a philosophy for the importance of data science used in concert with artificial intelligence (AI), will help us make decisionsbe it through performance monitoring of business performance indicators, discovering cures for diseases and improvements in genetic sequencing, or for any other purpose. Currently, it is possible to list at least one full page of such technologies that make business sense and that perform satisfactorily.

All these advancesespecially right nowwill make us reason differently. Their adoption may be one of the factors that maintain business continuity. Understanding each solution and applying it properly is a great challenge. It is important, in my view, that technology providers understand this moment and practice a model where cost and time projects are truly a partnership.

We understand that technology will be a catalyst for the business world; this is not new, and Moore’s law will be applied once again as we proceed through the pandemic. Even the most renowned futurists understand that there is no certainty in the future; however, moving forward without growth results in our stagnation.

It is time to reinvigorate management models. By the way, the vast majority of businesses currently use of a governance model that prepared them for the past and brought them here, so there is a strong need to review this model for the new reality.

When the pandemic hit, businesses that were further along in their digital transformation had more resources and saw less of an impact on the continuity of their operations. The home office and the use of collaborative tools have allowed people to work remotely and, in many cases, even with gains in productivity.

Tools like Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, and others associated with IT infrastructure enabled continuity of activities and reinvigorated several businesses, allowing them to maintain operations. Now the time has come when it is it is necessary to plan for today and tomorrow.

Strategic action will be necessary for the sustainability of many businesses, and technological advances will be involved. The growth of technologies is fundamental at this moment. Humans are capable of transforming processes through the use of technologies.

Innovation does not come from technologies, but from human beings. More than ever, ideas are very welcome.

Analyzing this complex scenario, we realized that we are in a time of many opportunities. Yuval Harari (2018) postulates that, to live in a world with many uncertainties, we need to be flexible and resilient, as well as rationally and emotionally balanced. Are you prepared? In this new era, whoever can distinguish fiction from reality the fastest will have reached new territory, both as a human being and as a business.

It is clear that it has become crucial to prepare for the “new normal.” There are many opportunities available to us—we must define our goals and choose our paths as soon as possible.

It is also a time to change our risk perception. In the face of so many uncertainties, it is natural that we will make some mistakes, but those mistakes will teach us how to better prepare and help us correct and/or modify our path.

In the current work scenario, we must quickly adopt these new technologies that fit our businesses.

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Ronaldo Ribeiro
Ronaldo Ribeiro
Ronaldo Ribeiro is the director of the International Society of Automation (ISA) Pulp & Paper Industry Division (PUPID). He is the CIO of Celulose Nipo-Brasileira SA (CENIBRA).

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