How would you define the future of automation? With the complexity of the operations and systems in today's industrial automation industry, the question can be quite challenging. The future of this field is exciting and advancements in technology have opened doors to emerging trends that we are already seeing impact manufacturing. However, Intech Columnist Mike Caliel believes the industry has put too much of a focus on technology and less on the solutions it offers to problems. Good technology pulls valuable data from the operation it controls, he says. In this article, Caliel discusses three fundamental aspects of the plant that one must take into consideration for the future of automation.