Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Virtual Events
Future of Automation 2021
September 29, 2021 at 1:00pm ET

Join the conversation

Automation is no longer simply a “nice to have.” The pandemic has made it clear that manufacturers must implement technology to build resilience and ensure global competitiveness.

Throughout COVID-19, manufacturers have faced an immediate need: to augment their workforce with technology to get the job done. Now, with economic rebound on the horizon, decision-makers are turning their attention to digital transformation plans that employ tools such as modelling, predictive analytics and end-to-end visibility.

Future of Automation is an education forum focusing on applications and trends that increase production efficiency, optimize throughput and maximize workforce potential. In a series of presentations, industry-leading technology manufacturers will share information and solutions to help reduce costs, boost profits and secure market position.

Note: The editor of Manufacturing AUTOMATION is currently finalizing the speakers for the virtual summit. If you have questions about the agenda, email

Register Now


1:00 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.
Welcoming Remarks

  • Sukanya Ray Ghosh, Editor, Manufacturing AUTOMATION

1:05 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Keynote: The future of automation is now

Speaker: Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Finance & Supply Chain Transformation, IBM

The adoption of automation is accelerating as COVID-19 challenges squeezed supply chains and forced manufacturers to reassess risk.

Whether it's ensuring a reliable workforce through human-machine collaboration or driving efficiency across an unpredictable supply chain through digital modelling, the pandemic has hastened the decision whether or not to automate into one that must be made today, not tomorrow.

1:30p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Tomorrow’s connected factory – Building partnerships to prove and scale new technologies

  • Christy Michalak, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Development Programs, NGen Canada
  • Mihaela Vlasea, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo & Research Co-Director, Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Laboratory
  • Jonathan Gross, LLB, MBA, Managing Director, Pemeco Consulting
  • Atefeh Zarabadi, CEO and co-founder, Artificial Intelligence Imaging Sensors
  • Jeanine Lassaline-Berglund, President, Automate Canada & Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM)
Networks are crucial to getting connected with Industry 4.0 solutions— and we don't just mean wire and cable. Developing partnerships with industry, academia and consortia can help to iterate and test next-generation technologies and enable more access to resources. Our panel discusses how building relationships is a means to innovation.

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
The Digital Factory

  • Patrick Rowland, Senior Product Manager, Industry Management & Automation, Phoenix Contact
Companies and manufacturers are working together to create the world of digital factories. This allows an open architecture and free flow of information. In this session, Phoenix Contact will address problems like security, legacy components and skill shortages.

2:50 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.
Reducing Inspection Errors, Costs and Risk with Hybrid AI

  • Jonathan Hou, President, Pleora Technologies
Manufacturers navigating through the complexities of AI are left with a few key questions. How can AI reduce errors and automate manual tasks? Is algorithm training expensive or complicated? Can I augment existing infrastructure and processes?

This session will discuss hybrid AI – an evolutionary approach that merges the best of computer vision and machine learning to address these concerns and allows manufacturers to deploy advanced end-to-end quality inspection. We will outline hybrid AI deployment strategies for established automated inspection systems, and opportunities to add decision-support to manual tasks. We’ll close the session with an overview on how a parts manufacturer is deploying hybrid AI today while also preparing for more advanced Industry 4.0 and IIoT automation.

3:10 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Fireside Chat: Digital Revolution in Pandemic Times

  • Asghar Rizvi, Vice-President, Factory Automation and Motion Control, Siemens Digital Industries, Canada
For the first time in modern manufacturing history, demand, supply and workforce availability have been affected globally at the exact same time.

During this session, Asghar Rizvi, Vice President, Factory Automation and Motion Control at Siemens Canada, will provide insight on the COVID pandemic’s impact on the digital transformation, identify the current and future trends and provide guidance on how organizations can start their digitalization journey.

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Seeing the future – how vision and artificial intelligence are advancing automated applications

  • Ina Foalea, Director of Investments, SCALE AI
  • Ilija Jovanovic, Co-founder, Taiga Robotics
  • Steve Wardell, Director of Imaging at ATS Automation
  • Jim Beretta, President, Customer Attraction
The flexibility required of high-mix, low-volume manufacturing has led to an increase in the number of product shapes and sizes that prove challenging for traditional automation methods.

The need for visibility is paramount. From robots that "see" with vision systems to machine learning that drives decision-making, our panel discusses how advanced tools are helping to increase throughput and maximize production efficiency.

4:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks


Introduction to SIMATIC Automation

Webinar:“I need AI! What is AI?”

Webinar: Summary PLCnext Technology

Product Demos

Industry Partner

Frequently Asked Questions About Future of Automation 2021

When & Where?

Future of Automation 2021 will take place virtually via Zoom Webinar on September 29, 2021 at 1:00pm ET.

There will be a 15 minute break between live sessions.

Why Virtual?

The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers, and community is our number one priority. By making this event an online experience, it eliminates the need for attendees and sponsors to travel in-person, while enabling them to still benefit from the event content.

What’s Included?

Your registration provides you with access to watch the virtual keynote, all live sessions, and on-demand recorded content and product demonstrations.

How do I access?

We will email you an access link to the virtual event the morning of September 29, 2021.

If you don’t see an access link in your email inbox, please check your junk folder. If you are still unable to locate the email, contact Azeemah Abowath.