The robotics market is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting markets right now. For investors, automation robotics is a key area to watch as its worth is expected to triple over the next ten years and go from $33.8 billion to $12.3 billion! But how will automation impact our every day lives? How will it affect the economy? And where do robots really fit into the workplace? Let’s take a closer look.
Automation means that a process is being handled without human input. Often, we take this to mean robotics automation, meaning that a machine is handling the job for us.
Automation is an incredibly powerful force because it not only removes human error but also because it allows us to massively scale up production. With automation, a small organization can compete with an international organization by creating the very same number of products. This also saves materials and more.
For investors then, the automation robotics is a very interesting market to watch. In the short term, growth is being driven by new types of robot, such as the ‘collaborative’ robot which is smaller, more affordable and designed to work alongside human workers.
This might help staff to hold onto their jobs for just a little longer as they will still be needed to assist their robotic counterparts. But don’t rest easy just yet as robotics is likely to massively increase in demand over the coming years. It is thought that the market will hit a record $14 billion this year and that it will reach $33.8 billion by 2025. It is thought to nearly triple in less than 10 years.
And then what will happen to our jobs? What will happen to the economy? There is much speculation but the thing to hope for is that with more robots driving the economy, we will be able to benefit from a basic salary and better living conditions. Perhaps we will work less and play more.
While there are any number of different types of business and infinite different industries to work in and products and services to provide, the amazing thing about business is that the same principles and systems generally apply across the board even if they occur in different ways. By applying these business principles then it's possible to enhance your profits and provide better value for your customers, almost regardless of your main business model or the kind of work you're doing.
One example of a business principle is 'automation' which describes any way you might hand an element of your business over to a machine or program that can handle it for you. Obviously, this applies in a big way to the manufacturing process for any business that produces and sells physical objects, and the use of digital manufacturing for instance can automate this process to the point where it is entirely handled by machines with minimum interaction required for your human staff.
Today, digital manufacturing processes are more common which reduces the need for human input even further. It is now possible for designers to upload 3D models of objects they wish to have created and then for the printers and assembly lines to simply create that object en-mass.
Of course, this provides a host of great benefits to the business. On the one hand it enables you to produce a much greater volume of work because you aren't working with staff who can get tired or require breaks and because machines as a rule can work much faster. At the same time it also enables you to save on overheads by paying one or two people to monitor the automated process rather than a team of staff to handle the entire process. Finally, it can often eliminate errors and imperfections because machines will operate according to precise measurements and movements.
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But if your business doesn't involve any manufacturing then how can automation apply to your business? Well no matter how you provide value to your customers or clients there will be repetitive elements of your business that will be predictable and that can be controlled by systems. For instance, if you create websites then you might be able to automate the creation of your page templates using software or automate the uploading of new content using a content management system.
And no matter what your business is you will probably have a customer service element or helpline, and many companies are now automating this process too by using AI assistants that visitors can chat with. Likewise, if you work in a commercial setting selling products or providing a service to the general product then you can automate your customer service by using information kiosks or self-service machines - again automating a process that enables you to spend less on your work force and provide the same service more quickly and conveniently. Break your business down to a number of processes from the moment you get the order or commission to the moment you get your payment, and ask yourself if any of those processes could be automated.
Note however that while automation can amplify your output, it can also amplify any errors or problems which is why it's incredibly important to make sure that you monitor any systems, machines or software at all times. Leave them to their own devices and they can do great damage before you catch the problem. In this way, automation is also an example of a ‘force amplifier’ – which is also a term used in business. This is any product, device or strategy that can increase an individual or organization’s output for the same input – such as a hammer.
The problem is that amplification of any kind – including automation – will also amplify errors. The solution for businesses is to use even stricter quality control measures and process fixes. From a robotics standpoint, the ‘collaborative’ robot helps to solve this issue to some extent.