The perfect storm for robotics and AI
Global compound growth rates of robotics, automation and AI companies are expected to grow by more than 40% per year, with revenue generated by these companies reaching $237bn by 2022 according to some estimates and $498bn by 2025 according to others.
But why now? After all, robotics has been in widespread use in industrial processes, such as car production, to enable high volume, low variability mass production since the 1980s. In many respects, the sudden interest in robotic technology is based on the fact that it’s only recently become economically viable to larger groups of users.
The building blocks of robotics and automation systems (computing power, data storage and network speed) have drastically decreased in price since the arrival of the computer. According to Deloitte, between 1992 and 2015 the cost of 1 million transistors, 1 gigabyte of storage and 1000 megabyte per second of network speed each have become more than 99% cheaper!
The invention of 3D printing and the ability for small businesses to access affordable, small scale parts manufacturing through resources like our campaign partner Geomiq, have also reduced the cost of prototype manufacturing. The net effect is that robotics is now increasingly cheap relative to labour, and therefore an increasingly attractive business resource.
What’s more, technological progress continues to make robotics “smarter” and therefore suitable for a greater number of tasks than its traditional use on the factory production line. The ongoing growth of computer power has made the software which powers robotics systems increasingly sophisticated and capable of being applied to a greater variety and complexity of tasks than before.
The global opportunity across sectors is enormous, particularly in service industries which to-date have been largely unroboticised. According to McKinsey, in an analysis of over 800 occupations across the US, over 73% of activities in accommodation and food services could be automated, 58% in agriculture, 53% in retail, 47% in construction, 43% in finance and insurance and 36% in health care and social assistance.
The increasing amount of digital data in the world – approximately 80% of which has been created in the last 24 months– has also acted as a foundation for breakthrough artificial intelligence technology, which is trained and improved using large sets of data, and which powers the functioning of “smarter” robotics.
The dramatic improvements and falling costs in robotic technology is particularly timely in a world where global consumption continues to rise. This is driven by population growth and rising wealth levels, with labour growth shrinking in developed economies and global productivity growth slowing. Workloads are also increasing, largely due to rising consumer expectations and increasing levels of international regulatory compliance.
As these problems seem likely to continue, robotics and automation are likely to become the significant global economic engine to compensate for these major changes, drive global economic growth and become a source of superior returns for investors.
If you’re a company employing robotics, AI or automation technology, we want to talk to you. We've partnered with Britbots, who are offering opening up £2m of funding.Learn more and enter before 31st October to be in with a chance of raising funds to supercharge your growth, here.