Robots ready willing and able to work are becoming common place.
Cheaper robots are helping small enterprises to adjust and survive
- New generation models are smaller, cheaper and friendlier
- Start-up enterprises are using robots on day one.
- Programming of robots is becoming easier.
Robots are everywhere, in business, non-profit organisations and communities of all shapes and sizes. Many are doing unimaginable things. They’re serving customers, stocking shelves, pruning trees, making cocktails, delivering room service and carrying out intricate operations.
Now they’re even showing up for work in some of the smallest factories, in a boost for manufacturing and are a potential new threat to the traditional production line, in fact, any repetitive jobs.
The robotics wave began in the vehicle manufacturing and other large plants decades ago and they have just become better, more human, smaller, cheaper, very reliable and more easily programmed. Like most technology products they have become cheaper and more reliable.
Technological advances have made robots more compact and responsive in the human working environment. Collaborative models have sensors to prevent them from harming real-life colleagues. You can sit down with these things and, in a matter of minutes, watch a couple of YouTube videos and know how to do basic programming required.
By adding robots, you can keep your business thriving in the face of stiff competition from lower-wage countries including China and India.
Jobs are not always lost
When you introduce a robot, people can be re-trained for jobs which keep morale up and allows employees to see the robots as an advantage, when they take over menial chores they find repetitive and boring.
Robot waiters are here an getting better and better at their jobs.
Automation has negatively impacted low-skilled employment, and predictions are robotics will change the future of labour so dramatically that it is predicted that many as 50% of the jobs that exist today are at risk.
At the same time, while technological advances kill some jobs, they generate others. The Boston Consulting Group study focusing on Germany concluded intelligent automation will crowd out about 610,000 factory slots, but create 960,000 new positions. And automation is a big driver of productivity, which allows wages in general to rise.
For small enterprises, robots are tough to resist, especially now that they’re more affordable. They can toil around the clock and never call in sick. They also perform duties that people simply won’t.
The medical industry leads the field in robotics innovation
Do you remember how Anakin Skywalker was seriously burnt and lost his legs in the third episode of Star Wars, The Revenge of the Sith? And do you also remember how robot surgeons did the best they could to save him? In the very near future, similarly amazing robots might come to healthcare to save your life, too.
Difficult work is already being undertaken with robots. Work that was previously considered impossible is already becoming common place.
Medical robots do not only exist in sci-fi movies and the distant future, they are coming to healthcare and all stakeholders must prepare for them. Robots can support, assist and extend the service healthcare professionals are offering.
And how long will it be before your next medical procedure is being carried out by a robot?
Some robots not only promise to make up for the shortage of carers but to save human personnel from having to carry out strenuous tasks, such as lifting patients out of bed 40 times a day.
Agriculture is also leading the field
Agricultural engineers are teaming up with robotic engineers to create the future of farming with totally new approaches, using robots to farm as alternatives to manpower.
Perhaps it is time for farmers to put their feet up with robots that are already being used to cultivate the soil, inspect crops, dig up weeds, harvest fruit and so on. Robots are also becoming shepherds too.
Agriculture is a leader in robot development. it’s no longer science fiction.
Commercial farming involves thousands of man-hours of repetitive work. Crops and forests are even being sown on land that was previously inaccessible to men and their machinery.
Will be taking advantage of being a ‘first mover’?
The majority of small enterprises do not have any robots helping them at this time. But it won’t be long before robots become the norm in every business, non-profit and their community, and of course in the home.
How long do you think it will be before a robot takes you on a tour of a local business, tourist attraction, or even the whole community.
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Many people assume that the majority of robot customers are in larger, more traditional industries that deploy many work stations in the course of production. While it is true that automotive, electronics, and consumer goods manufacturers are major users of robots, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees represent a growing segment of the market for robots.
These small businesses face special challenges and needs when deciding to invest in robotics. One fundamental challenge is, “What do I do after I buy the robot system”?
Small enterprises face the challenge to develop and retain a robot ‘champion’ who can reprogram the robotic for new products and address technical issues as they come up. This is much like the technology industry in general except we dealing with robots.
Thanks to a steady decline in prices, robots have become very affordable to small businesses, non-profit organisations and communities. Attractive options can no include used and reconditioned robots.
If you think the small business community is immune to automation, think again. I see the greatest beneficeries as those buisnesses and non-profits operating in regional, rural and remote communities where labour shortages are always a problem.
Agriculture and mining in these areas should boost the conversations surrounding robotics and porvide much needed expertise.