Build a thriving Robotics Industry – now is the time!

Robotics is fast becoming the ‘coolest’ topic of discussion amongst tech pundits, journalists, research companies, investors, and start-ups alike. Research predictions from the biggest names in Market Research suggest Robotics will be the next big thing – after Digital – and will create a hyper-change in the way we live our lives. Robots will grow in numbers, across factories, assembly lines, distribution centres and in homes. In the future, many everyday tasks and activities will be conducted by robots (that have artificial intelligence), making our lives more convenient (thanks to some serious amounts of automation).

We’ll soon be sipping our Starbucks coffee (ordered via an app and delivered to our ‘driverless car parking point’ -just in time), while we listen to an audio summary of the news (thanks to Siri) or watch the latest news headlines via a built-in tablet in the dashboard of our driverless car. It will be like the sci-fi movies – but in reality. Wild.

But before we get too carried away, let’s see what a simple google search for the following key words tell us. #Robotics = 63m vs #Digital Business = 569m search items. So, Robotics still has a way to go in becoming more ‘mainstream and popular’. The only way is up! 

What are global events, facts and trends telling us?

Well, first, the Robotics Industry is certainly becoming topical and front of mind.

Here are a few facts that will raise some eyebrows. (especially if you are new to this space)  

Fact 1 :  Softbank receives $236m from Alibaba and Foxconn for its Pepper Robot to market.

“SoftBank, Alibaba and Foxconn will build a structure to bring Pepper and other robotics businesses to global markets and cooperate with the aim of spreading and developing the robotics industry on a worldwide scale,” SoftBank said in its announcement.1. Government mandates, incentives and political will to develop the domestic market, drive innovation, efficiencies and exports 

Fact 2: Strategic acquisitions in the robotics arena are rampant and became most visible in 2012 when Amazon acquired Kiva Systems to help bolster their warehousing methods into the future, for $775 million. WOW!

Fact 3: China is the world’s largest buyer of industrial robots and will consume 25% of the Global supply of robots. By 2020, 70% of Foxconn’s factory floor will be robot run. 

Fact 4: The number of research reports on Robotics has quadrupled in the last 18 months. More is being published, more events are being held in cities around the world. #Robobusiness. More Start-ups are entering this exciting new domain. 

With all this in mind. Here are 6 things your country can do to build a Robotics Industry (that creates jobs, drives innovation, stimulates consumption).

1. A strong and clear government mandate, political intent, and initiatives (incentives) to develop Robotics capabilities (awareness, resources, skills) that eventually has a positive impact on growing export income  

2.  Access to alternative finance sources (like tech start-ups have enjoyed e.g., Angels, Crowdfunding, Grants), low-cost loans, and incentives/subsidies on factory spaces / offices

3. Tax credits and relief schemes for Robotics thinkers, educators, creators, makers (like S/EIS Tax Incentives created by the UK Govt to drive alternative investment routes for Start-ups and Growing businesses) 

4. Investing in Education and Skills development in Robotics 

5. Major involvement and investment in automation and robotics from private companies (domestic) and large manufacturing and global logistics players

6. A fast growing middle and upper class with an ever-increasing surplus of disposable income

Let me know what you think. Is this a wave / hype or reality?

What is your country doing to propel Robotics?

I know your time is valuable, thanks for reading. Much appreciated.