As technology continues to evolve, business experts warn small businesses not to fall too far behind. Some small businesses remain resistant to change and thus fall ever further behind in utilizing office automation technology, despite the plethora of evidence that it constitutes the wave of the future. The entrepreneurs and managers who lead these enterprises typically defend their inaction by noting that they remain able to accomplish their basic business requirements without such investments, or by claiming that new innovations in technology and automation are too expensive or challenging to master. But according to Zarowin, "those rationalizations don't acknowledge what many recent converts to technology are discovering: the longer one delays, the larger the gap and the harder it is to catch up. And though many businesses still can function adequately with paper and pencil, their customers and their competition are not sitting on their hands."

There is a difference between functioning, and functioning well !

Automation engineering demands the broadest skill set of any engineering discipline it requires knowledge of chemical processes, mechanical, electrical, electronics, software, networks and information technology. In a typical project, the automation amounts to less than 10 percent of the total cost, yet it has the most impact on the performance of the process. All of the best equipment and process designs are rendered helpless if the automation doesn't work. Conversely, when the automation is done brilliantly, the operation sings.

How to Build a Raspberry Pi with Node-RED and Industrial GPIO

The Raspberry Pi® is an unquestionably powerful computer for just $35. And it really is just that: a computer. That means the Pi is capable of many tasks and perfect for many automation applications.

Couple the Pi to industrial, solid-state digital inputs and outputs, and you can build compelling and cost-effective solutions for commercial and industrial applications, too.

One of the easiest and fun ways to quickly build software applications is with Node-RED, the free, open-source software tool designed by IBM Emerging Technologies and used for wiring together hardware devices, APIs, and online services in new and interesting ways.