Robotics – Part of Industry 4.0 – An Overview
Industrial robots are on the verge of revolutionizing manufacturing. As they become smarter, faster and cheaper, they’re being called upon to do more and are an essential component of Industry 4.0, the fourth Industrial Revolution that is upon us. There has been a recent surge in robotics globally, reflected on a number of fronts – in the number of orders for robots placed, amount invested in robotics start-ups, and in the number of patents on robotics technology.
Robots are being deployed beyond traditional automated tasks in the auto industry and are increasing ranks in sectors such as F&B and Life Sciences and doing work that requires dexterity and precision humans cannot achieve. The emergence of so-called collaborative robots is opening the door to greater human-robot collaboration.
Much of the resistance to widespread adoption seems tied to cost, expertise and a lack of understanding of how they could produce an attractive return on their investment.
Some Recent Trends in Robotics:
1. Big ticket Investments – Google, Amazon, Qualcomm, Toyota have all made investments in robotics. Even venture capitalists, who for many years didn’t seem particularly attracted to robotics, are now extremely interested in funding robot startups.
2. Newer Players – Other than US and Japan, India and China are emerging as serious players in this segment. Switzerland, the Netherlands, and United Arab Emirates are among some of the other countries investing heavily in AI, robotics, and drones.
3. Cost reduction – The cost of industrial robots has been declining over the years, especially with their usage getting widespread.
4. Drones for Delivery – Amazon has ushered in the use of Delivery Drones which further popularise robots as also result in delivery efficiencies, Myanmar is engaged in using drones for mangrove seed population in ecologically sensitive areas as they deliver 10x increased efficiency.
5. Leveraging Social Media Data – A lot of software robots or Bots are in use on all popular Social Media channels – these learn with increased usage with Machine Learning and can deliver better insights on user behavior.
The integration of machines and software seamlessly to improve and drive efficiencies, control costs, deliver margins, enhance customer experience and drive innovation and productivity has been a big step forward in IT going from an enabling function to integration with core business process in every industry today.