TJ, I agree with you that these capabilities have been around for awhile, and actually go way back further than the introduction of PACs. Making it easy to collect information is one step, and also for users to gain confidence that the machine controller has both the processing power and flexibility to do multiple tasks without creating problems with machine control.
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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