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The pervasive introduction of the Internet into robotics and automation systems pushes forward an evolution that began when the computer was introduced in the enterprise in the middle of the last century, and that continued. with the interconnection of shop-floor workstations in local networks in the 1980s. Today, the Internet represents a challenge both for research and development in the area of distributed robotics and automation. In order to gain a better understanding and evaluation of results in distributed computing the paper classifies the most promising technological approaches, provides examples of how they are applied in robotics and automation, and discusses available standards and commercial solutions.