How COVID-19 Is Driving Robotics Adoption Across Industries
In the global fight against COVID-19, advanced technology solutions are playing an important role in curbing down the spread of the virus and helping people stay safe. One key technology that has made a huge difference during COVID-19 is robotics. From healthcare to supply chain, retail to manufacturing - businesses are taking the assistance of robots or drones to run their company operations smoothly and deliver customer services.
Robots are influential in delivering medications, food, measuring vital signs and monitoring lockdown enforcement practices everywhere around the world. Enterprise software companies and tech innovators are now working to build advanced robotics solutions that can be rapidly deployed across industries.
Let’s look at how different industries are employing advanced robotic solutions to stay operational. But, before we discuss robot and drones industry-specific applications, let’s understand:
Covid-19 Impact on Global Robotics Software Market in 2020
After Covid-19, the global robotics market is expected to grow from $44.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to be worth $73 billion by 2025 at a 10.4% CAGR rate. The primary reasons behind this rapid growth include the faster adoption of robots in commercial and industrial applications. The rise of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud computing and IoT will also contribute to faster growth of the robotics market globally. Post-COVID -19, it’s expected that manufacturers will focus more on in-house production by applying automation rather than going for outsourcing services.
How Different Types of Robots are Contributing in Covid-19
As you can see from the above data, robots are playing a key role in the battle against COVID-19 across the world. They are used in almost every aspect of managing the crisis. From healthcare to public safety, essential goods delivery to supply chain automation, robots are turning into a life saviour for every business.
Here are some of the popular types of robots that are extensively used during the present crisis globally:
Robots on the frontline: In short, robotics solutions providers are stepping up for the present challenge by building robots and drones for assisting front line workers. Applications include cleaning, disinfecting and assisting during surgeries in hospitals where humans are at risk. In a surveillance role, robots are used by country governments to monitor social quarantine and lockdown rules abiding by citizens.
Delivery Robots/Drones: These are a lifesaver for logistics, restaurant and medicine delivery app businesses during COVID-19. From service robots delivering food and other essentials to drones delivering medicines, robots have ensured the fluent moment of goods or essentials during the crisis.
Companion robots: In times of social quarantine, it is difficult for anyone to handle the stress and loneliness. Robots in these times are finding space in people’s homes as they entertain them, perform household tasks, or help them communicate with friends or family members. A great example is Silver Friend project robots that communicate with older people dealing with loneliness.
Manufacturing Robots: Social distancing guidelines enforced globally are a big challenge for manufacturers who are looking to ensure their team’s safety. In times like social distancing, keeping the wheels of industry running is key. It’s not an issue exclusive to mass manufacturers, but also to ones producing essential PPEs and medical equipment like ventilators. So, robot-driven automation in the production process is offering the much-needed agility and flexibility to manufacturers during the present crisis.
Telepresence Robots: With millions of people working from due to the current pandemic, the usage of audio and video conferencing mobile apps and solutions have increased drastically. Amid this, the telepresence robot companies are getting heavy requests for mobile telepresence solutions. Telepresence robots are used in different scenarios for ad-hoc conversations at the office, patients seeing at hospitals or even troubleshooting at factories. You can understand it simply as embodied video conferencing on wheels. Companies like Ava Robotics are actively working on delivering such solutions during COVID-19.
Use Cases of Robot and Drones in Various Industries Amid Covid-19
Use of robots as healthcare solutions is rising continually, especially during COVID-19. Three types of robots - clinical care, service or utility and customer service were seen primarily at hospitals during the pandemic.
1. Clinical Robots
Clinical robots assisted medical staff in complex, clinical applications like surgery, noting patient temperatures, drawing blood and taking samples. Clinical robots were effective in assisting highly infectious COVID-19 patients with specific activities.
“Anthropomorphic” (human-like) robots, also known as “CloudGinger” were used in large field hospitals of China to take care of COVID-19 patients. These robots have articulating joints and somewhat human-like expressions. They were used to take temperature, change linens and even communicate with patients. The adoption of such bots is likely to grow in other countries too.
2. Service/Utility Robots
These robots are more service-oriented and perform general tasks or provide utilitarian assistance at hospitals. Tasks include delivering medical supplies, linens, and even meal plates to patients. Many advanced countries like the US, Singapore, South Korea, etc. are using these robots for “hunting and gathering” as well as delivery activities at hospitals. Service robots are multipurpose and can assist with activities like cleaning floors and disinfecting rooms. That’s the reason UV cleaning robots at hospitals was a buzz during COVID-19.
China and European countries used UVD (ultraviolet light disinfection) robots actively at their hospitals during the pandemic to disinfect the hospitals.
3. Concierge Robots
These are customer service robots that are used for wayfinding, registration, check-in and even food ordering. Such robots streamline and simplify activities like functioning, registration and bill payment at hospitals.
Retail & Ecommerce
Robots in the retail and ecommerce sector have been influential during COVID-19 in terms of improving service delivery, productivity and customer satisfaction. They were used by both online and brick and mortar businesses for a speedier shopping experience. Retail & ecommerce solution businesses have used robots for managing inventory, preparing orders, delivering groceries and other essential items. Look at the below examples for more details:
Most retailers in California, US are using automated floor cleaner robots for cleaning tasks. Autonomous robots perform 8000 hours of daily work there.
Ocado, Britain’s leading online grocer used robots for inventory management tasks like picking and packing customer orders during a pandemic.
Retail giants Walmart and Amazon use more than 45000+ robots for tasks like material handling, inventory tracking and cleaning.
Food & Beverage
Food and restaurant solution industry have also embraced automation and robotics to cope up with the pandemic. End-to-end automation in the production of certain foods has helped companies cut down costs, increase safety and improve food quality. 3-D printing of foods for mass manufacturing is also becoming a trend in this industry during the pandemic. Companies like Natural Machines are already engaged in 3D printing of different kinds of foods.
Miso Robotics (hamburger expert), CafeX (coffee and other drinks), and Picnic (pizza preparation) used robots for food preparation and delivery during COVID-19.
Many grocery stores in the US accepted robotic contactless payment options during the pandemic and asked customers to pay through mobile instead of traditional payment methods.
In Europe, US, and Canada, food manufacturers used robotics solutions to cut down costs, increase production efficiency, and improve food quality.
Education & Elearning
Most e-learning app development companies were engaged in building mobile robots and online learning solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational institutions relied on these mobile robots along with Artificial intelligence and video conferencing apps to deliver education to students who were quarantined at home.
Robokind, a social robot development company partnered with US schools during COVID-19 to deliver computer science education to elementary and middle school students via its advanced robot solution called District Enterprise robots4STEM® Avatar Version.
COVID-19 is a Crisis for Which Robots Were Designed For!
As the world continues its battle against COVID-19, it has become clear that robots and automation technologies are much needed for a collaborated response against the deadly virus. Human and robotic solutions can work together to break the chain of virus transmission globally.
For companies working in diverse industries, businesses continuity is vital with minimal service disruptions. Working with advanced technology solution providers is also essential for businesses to drive better business outcomes during a crisis like COVID-19. If you are also looking to partner an expert technology solution provider, we can help!
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