5 Diverse Tasks We Have the Power to Automate

Automation plays an influential role in a variety of industries, ranging from automating menial tasks like data entry and invoicing to automation of backups and media. Automation can result in increased productivity and improved consistency, cutting out the potential for human error.

While some forms of automation are more well-known, such as diagnosing illness and finding patterns, there are several uses of automation that you may not know about, including these five:

1. Making Your Coffee

Many are familiar with the routine of preparing their coffee so it’s set to make in the morning. What many don’t know is that they can automate the coffee-making process so it’s even easier.

Start with a simple, manual coffee maker, where you can flip a switch to the on position to start brewing. This feature is important since smart switches operate by turning the power on and off based on a power source.

A smart plug or switch works with the coffee maker, so you can set your schedule for when the coffee begins to brew. Schedule the plug to turn on about 15 to 20 minutes before you wake up, so by the time you come downstairs, the coffee is hot and ready to drink.

There’s also the option to turn on the coffee maker using the switch, regardless of your location. Look for something like the iDevices Switch, which can automate the process of turning on several home appliances, like setting a humidifier to turn on or off based on the amount of humidity in the air.

2. Tending to Your Farm

Automation is already underway in the world of farming, thanks to Japanese lettuce production company Spread and its mission to host the first farm manned entirely by robots. These robots are mostly conveyor belts with arms, though they automate processes like planting seeds, watering plants and trimming lettuce heads.

Automation in agriculture can have immense benefits for crop production, with automated robotic processes being able to tend to crops, while also recognizing nonoptimal circumstances for growth. The results have the potential to cut costs for consumers, reducing labor costs by 50 percent and cutting energy use by 30 percent.

While it’s unlikely that robots will take over certain occupations entirely, they are certainly playing a larger role in the farming industry than ever.

3. Helping You Find Inventory

Problems seem bound to arise if you put people in charge of remembering the precise location of thousands of items of inventory. Even if they have a manual process in place, the time spent logging and tracking items is not efficient for business. This is why locations like Orchard Supply Hardware warehouse, a chain owned by Lowe’s, uses a 5-foot-tall robot called Oshbot to help find items.

In addition to speaking seven languages, Oshbot utilizes facial recognition technology to identify humans and greet them. Then, you can select your item of choice on Oshbot’s touch screen and the robot will lead you to the item. Best Buy’s Chloe robot accomplishes a similar function, with the ability to find a multitude of items within half a minute.

4. Providing a Real Estate Valuation

Automated review processes are also becoming normal for appraisal management companies. Automated review processes can review property type, risk and complexity, and help compare the reports against AMC qualifications.

Automation helps the real estate valuation process go faster by sifting through relevant data quickly and accurately, revealing valuable insight for appraisal management professionals and those seeking real estate valuations.

5. Designing Your Optimal Footwear

Sportswear giant Adidas has a facility called Speedfactory that pairs a human workforce with automated technology that includes robotic arms, 3-D printing and automated knitting.

The human-robot team creates running shoes, using digital designs that consumers can tweak to their delight. The automation-friendly factory already has several shoes out, including the AM4LDN, AM4PAR and AM4NYC.


Automation has an abundance of exciting and unique uses across multiple industries, from shoe design to farm management. The automation niche continues to grow with unique allure.

Photo by Kevin Bhagat

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about technology and gadgets for Motherboard, MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog Productivity Bytes.