New techniques for electronic surveying and authoring are expected to shrink the time it takes to develop national and international standards. The American Society for Testing and Materials has launched a project aimed at sharply reducing paper communications in the drafting of standards. Called the Interactive Standards Development Program, the undertaking includes the setting up of forums on the Internet for worldwide participation by experts. A major problem has been assembling and analyzing diverse opinions around the globe. A promising solution is SPSS Data Entry, a new software tool from SPSS Inc. (Chicago). A Windows 95/NT product, the program offers a new way for standards makers to move swiftly from survey design through data collection to data analysis. Drafters of standards can easily create surveys using drag and drop forms and a library of commonly asked questions. When used with SPSS Data Entry Station software, the system permits standards experts at remote locations to respond simultaneously to the surveys.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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