Robots, artificial intelligence and other forms of automation are on the rise. Businesses are looking for ways to get more done with less people and investors are pouring money into new robotics startups.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why robots are changing the game for businesses in today’s economy. We’ll also dive into some of the biggest business changes caused by robot technology, how it is impacting human workers, and how your business can best respond and even benefit from robots in the workplace.
What Are Robots In Business
Robots are a form of artificial intelligence that can be programmed to do specific tasks, usually in place of human workers. Robots can take the form of machines, software or even living beings, like a remotely driven “drone,” which is basically just a flying robot.
Robots have long been used in industrial settings to replace human factory workers. These days robots have been implemented into nearly every industry, including sales and marketing, where they can provide valuable information to help drive business decisions and strategy.
They even play a significant role in the healthcare industry where they can help provide medical care and nursing without the need for human intervention. According to Adobe’s 2018 Digital Intelligence Briefing, 31% of organisations want to expand support for AI within the next 12 months, even though just 15% of businesses now do so.
Robots are also playing an important role in the transportation and logistics spaces, where they are helping to manage increasing volumes of cargo by working in automated warehouses. In recent years, there have even been rumors of robo-taxis driving on real roads in China.
Importance Of Robots In Business
Many businesses are already using robots to help increase the production and profits at their organization. In the past, robots were mainly used in manufacturing plants but now they’re being used in a number of different industries including health care, hospitality and even in space exploration.
Robots make sense for a variety of reasons. A robotic system can handle repetitive tasks with extreme precision and, unlike humans, can operate on a 24/7 basis without taking breaks or complaining about working long hours. This means that robots are far more effective than people when it comes to certain kinds of tasks.
The market for industrial robotics is anticipated to increase by 175% over the following ten years, according to Loup Ventures study. Once they are installed correctly and regularly maintained, robots are also incredibly dependable and long-lasting.
They’re not much different in this area than any other type of electronic device. However, there are several risks that come with using robots and it’s important for businesses to understand the possible problems before making a decision about whether or not to introduce robots into their business operations.
It all depends on your business situation but most companies find that the benefits make sense for them. Robots have transformed many industries, from manufacturing to health care, and have made products safer, easier to use and more affordable for consumers.
Benefits Of Robots In Business
As artificial intelligence and robotics become more prevalent in the business world, companies are increasingly turning to industrial robots to help them automate various tasks. These robots can range from simple machines that perform repetitive tasks to more complex ones that are capable of making decisions based on artificial intelligence.
In addition to helping businesses automate tasks, industrial robots are also being used more and more in the medical field, where they are used for everything from performing surgery to assisting in physical therapy.
According to the Robotic Industries Association, there were 32% more robot purchases in North America in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Industrial robots are being utilised more frequently in manufacturing and other industries thanks to the quick development of machine learning and robotics technology.
These robots are often designed to perform tasks that are difficult or dangerous for human workers. In some cases, industrial robots are equipped with sensor technology that allows them to interact with their surroundings.
1. Robots Automate And Increase Efficiency
One of the primary uses of robots in business is that they can automate tasks, which increase efficiency and reduce costs. For example, some businesses have begun using robotics technology to manage warehouses.
A computer can easily move shelves around, create or remove shelving units as needed and organize products on those shelves so they are reachable by humans or robotic forklifts. That kind of automation can cut out many hours per day that they would otherwise spend having humans do the work.
Robots also eliminate many of the problems that come with a human workforce such as getting bored, making mistakes or requiring bathroom breaks. Robots can help businesses save money by doing less in the traditional sense but accomplish more.
2. Robots Create Jobs
In some industries, lower cost and time to market for robots creates more jobs than possible without them, which means that businesses actually create jobs.
In fact, many experts believe that as robots become available to do tasks that a human worker could handle, the workforce will have far less need for personnel working in low-value areas such as customer service and data entry.
3. Robots Help Eliminate Jobless Growth
A major concern with robots is that they’ll eliminate many jobs from the overall workforce. But this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Robots can be programmed to do a variety of different kinds of tasks. In some cases, they work alongside humans or perform non-trivial functions that are not fully automated and require teamwork.
The point is that the robot will certainly replace some existing human workers but tens of thousands or millions more can take the place of those who are replaced by robots.
As businesses gain experience with robotics technology, they’ll likely find that they can use new robots to eliminate all kinds of manual labor while also creating more jobs for skilled workers needed in areas such as sales and marketing. The result will be an overall increase in employment rather than a net loss in jobs with the advent of robots.
4. Robots Can Create Products And Services At A Lower Cost
According to Zew, between 1999 and 2010, automation increased employment in Europe. Some industries in the past may have employed people to design items that would subsequently be printed or produced by machines.
But as robotics technology has advanced, many businesses are now using robots to perform the final stages of production as well. Robots can create products and services at a lower cost than traditional production methods, which could help businesses achieve a more competitive advantage in their market.
5. Robots Can Provide Better Customer Service
Robots don’t get bored, tired or frustrated with repetitive tasks and they don’t talk back. Robots are a great way for businesses to provide better customer service, especially in scenarios where a human operator needs to do the same or very similar process over and over.
With the growing use of chatbots, it’s becoming possible for businesses to provide highly automated customer service through instant messaging. Your customers can chat with a bot about your products and services, ask questions and get all the information they need without interacting with a human worker or having to wait on hold to speak with another human operator.
6. Robots Improve Efficiency In Logistics
The logistics industry is among those benefiting most from robots because they automate many of the tasks that have long been associated with manual labor.
Dispatching and managing delivery vehicles becomes much easier when a computer program can control the operation of the entire fleet. Some businesses also use robots to help with customer service.
Instead of needing to hire customer service reps and managers, you can use a robot that is programmed to speak with customers in person, over the phone or via chatbots.
7. Robots Can Help Protect Health
A lot of the jobs that humans do are very dangerous and potentially harmful to their health, which makes it critical for firms to have safety measures in place. Robots can help businesses ensure their workers are not at risk of injury or illness by performing dangerous or repetitive tasks that could harm them.
8. Robots Are Necessary For The Future Of Business
Many experts believe that robots will be a necessary tool for future success in business and in life, so it’s no wonder that many corporations are developing and implementing robotics technology.
Automation is already taking place across industries, which means that many jobs may not be sustainable or even exist in the future when robots become commonplace. In some cases, robots will replace skilled workers altogether and lead to dramatic changes to our working economy as a whole.
There have been many studies done regarding the impact of robotics over time. The results show that robotics is here to stay and will take its place as a useful tool for businesses to use in their every day operations.
Risks Of Robots In Business
With the advancement of robot technology, more and more electronics manufacturing companies are turning to manufacturing robots to help them with production. The da vinci surgical system is one example of a collaborative robot that is helping to revolutionize the manufacturing process.
By 2020, ABI Research projects that the collaborative robotics market will grow to $1 billion in total revenue, with the introduction of over 40,000 cobots. Robotic solutions are being used more and more in industrial manufacturing to address the demand for least invasive processes.
The global market for these manufacturing plants is growing rapidly, and many companies are investing in this technology to stay ahead of the competition.
1. Robots Create A Jobless Society
The biggest fear about robots is that they will eventually replace all human workers, which would mean a drastic change in the way we work. Some experts fear that at some point in the future, robots will replace human workers and lead to mass unemployment.
In the long run, this may be true but it’s unlikely to happen immediately. Even the most advanced business uses only a small number of robots and those are typically used for high-end tasks or processes.
The vast majority of businesses are still using humans in their workforce and this is not likely to change for many years, until robotics technology becomes more advanced or until global economies improve considerably.
2. Robots Might Be Unsafe
Robots can be dangerous and this is especially true for certain tasks. Many robots are designed to have extremely precise movements, which is great for most tasks but can create safety hazards when robots are working closely with humans or moving around in unpredictable ways.
Businesses must pay careful attention to safety protocols when using robots so they don’t harm humans. The good news is that many businesses have had a significant amount of experience using robots and have implemented the best practices needed to ensure the safety of their people, property and customers.
3. Robots Could Be Taken Over By Hackers
Just like any other computer system, a robot could be targeted by hackers who want to take control of the system. Malicious code could be introduced into the system to cause damage or a computer virus could be installed to take control of the robot.
To protect themselves against this risk, some businesses use anti-virus software and other security measures to keep hackers at bay. However, this is an inevitable risk that’s associated with any type of computer system.
4. Robots Might Be Misused
Robots can be used for good or bad purposes. Some people see robots as a way of eliminating human jobs and replacing them with robots, which could lead to mass unemployment.
This fear is often over-stated and likely to turn out to be false, at least in the short term. Robots will provide many benefits to society while still keeping human workers employed. In the past, some manufacturing companies were forced to shut down their operations when inexpensive labor made international competition too difficult to handle.
But with robots, increasing global competition never meant that manufacturing jobs went away entirely. Instead, manufacturing jobs were eliminated or reduced but the work was taken over by automated assembly lines.
5. Robots Are Interesting Targets For Criminals
Because robots are still relatively new, many businesses haven’t implemented proper security measures to guard their robotic systems against threats from criminals and hackers.
Robots are an interesting target for malicious attacks because of their value to a business and because they could be used to commit crimes that have a serious impact on a company’s operations.
For example, someone could steal your robots and use them in theft or commit other crimes with the help of your property. This is already happening in several cases with drones being used for illegal smuggling activities across borders.
6. Robots Could Be Used As Weapons
According to a Deutsche Bank report, Amazon’s cobots have cut its operating costs by 20%, and their addition to newly established facilities can lower fulfilment costs by as much as $22 million each time.
Another risk that comes with robots is the fact that they could be used as weapons to harm humans. For example, someone could use a robot to break into your facility and steal information or to destroy equipment or even kill people.
It would be relatively easy for someone to sneak into your facility and attach explosives or other destructive devices to your robots, which could then be detonated remotely by the criminal.
The good news is that businesses are already aware of this risk and are working together with law enforcement agencies to make sure it doesn’t become a problem in the future.
7. Robots Could Break Down
A robot can break down for many reasons, most often because it’s overworked or because of poor maintenance. The human operators are also at risk of broken robots if they take on a risky task that damages the device.
For example, if a human falls onto the robot or loads too much pressure onto the arm or hand that’s holding a heavy object, the robot might break down from mechanical issues and damage.
8. Robots Could Cause Harm To People
The risks associated with robots are not commonly thought of when it comes to crime but they’re actually quite serious and usually overlooked by criminal organizations. What if someone finds a way to hack a piece of heavy machinery and then uses it to harm people?
This is already a concern for many manufacturing facilities around the world whose huge machines are very capable of doing serious harm to people. It would be relatively easy for someone to find a way into your facility and either steal or destroy your robots and other automated machinery.
By now, nearly every business is using robots in some way if they don’t already have a robotic system in place. Many companies are also working on incorporating robots into their operations to boost productivity and turn the tide against increasing competition from other businesses around the world.
In fact, robotics will probably be a major growth industry for years to come but there’s still plenty of room for innovation that could make this technology even better.
The future of robotics has everything to do with making robots much more adaptable and easier to use by businesses around the world. This means that there will be many new forms of robotic systems from which to choose.