If you are looking for the future of human-machine interface, control rooms, operator training and other applications for manufacturing and production plants, it pays to be aware of developments in consumer electronics. Automation technology developers have been leveraging technology advances from that industry for several years.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show was held the week of January 3 in Las Vegas and attracted a huge crowd. Tablet computers were everywhere at the show. Many were based on the Android operating system developed by Google Inc. Expect to see an increase in mobile workers in industry based on those technologies. 3D displays and TVs were also prevalent. Although many people scoff at the technology–especially the requirement for special glasses, 3D without glasses popped up. And 3D cameras, as well. Imagine the uses for training and operator interface that could be derived.