What Developers Need to Know About the Outlook for Robotics Solutions in 2023

The focus is shifting to software that gives robots unique capabilities.

manufacturing-automation

Businesses and enterprises are moving toward more efficient operations through automation, and a part of that digital transformation is deploying robotics solutions. Zion Market Research reports that the market will increase at an 11.8 percent CAGR to reach $82.1 billion globally by 2028. 

Florian Pestoni, InOrbit CEO and co-founder, says the most interesting challenge in the robotics space is the shift from the focus on hardware to software. “In some ways, robotic solutions are becoming the physical embodiment of software,” he says. 

Looking ahead, here are some of the trends Pestoni sees shaping up for 2023 and insights into where software developers can seek out opportunities to develop robotics solutions.  

Do you see the trend toward automation with robotics continuing in 2023?

Pestoni: The trend toward automation is unstoppable. Driven by demographics as well as labor and supply chain challenges, companies across every industry and around the globe are looking to improve operational efficiency.

Whether it’s with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or enterprises, the use of robotics is also a response to increased competition and consumer expectations. This is increasingly becoming an existential threat for companies that don’t embrace robotics.

Which industries will implement robotics?

Pestoni: Let’s look at ecommerce. Two decades ago, when ecommerce was really taking off, the standard delivery time for an order was roughly one week. Then came two-day, one-day, and same-day delivery. Now, some fast delivery companies are promising to bring items to your door in 10 minutes.

Over this period of time, we went from 7 days, or roughly 10,000 minutes, to 10 minutes. This was enabled by technology adoption, including warehouse automation, micro-fulfillment and even sidewalk delivery robots. Can you imagine trying to compete when you’re 1,000 times slower?

Beyond logistics and retail, agriculture is likely to embrace robotics at scale. I recently ran a poll on this with my (admittedly skewed) network on LinkedIn, and 61 percent of respondents expected AgTech to be the next success story. Construction was a distant second, with just 18 percent of votes.

Which industries will ramp up existing deployments?

Pestoni: Supply chain for retail and intralogistics are two areas that are already scaling their use of robots. Some robotics companies have surpassed 10,000 robot deployments. Of course, the leader in this space by a long shot is Amazon, with over 500,000 robots in operation.

John Deere is leading the charge in AgTech, with a growing lineup of fully autonomous tractors that can operate without anyone in the cabin. There are also a number of specialized robots for harvesting specific types of crops and fruits.

Are software developers enabling robotics solutions to work with each other and other systems?

Florian Pestoni
Florian Pestoni, CEO and co-founder, InOrbit

Pestoni: This is a topic that I have been advocating for during the last couple of years, and it is finally seeing traction with end users and robot developers alike.

The need for interoperability between different robotics systems has gone from nice-to-have to must-have and is receiving significant attention at trade shows and conferences. Ultimately, this will be driven by end users – companies large and small that are deploying robots as part of their operations – demanding a basic level of support for interoperability from their vendors.

There are some emerging standards that are attempting to tackle communication between different systems. However, the need goes well beyond basic interoperability. The ultimate goal is to have different robots working together in harmony with each other and in concert with existing infrastructure and systems such as a WMS (warehouse management system) or ERP (enterprise resource planning.) This requires orchestration.

What other trends do you anticipate?

Pestoni: Robots are becoming increasingly commonplace in everyday life. Whether it’s a robot waiter at a restaurant, which is already in widespread use in Asia; a delivery robot for food at a university campus and groceries in the city; or a security robot at the office or the mall, we are going from novelty to commonplace.

The growth in service robots will continue exponentially as more companies handle more use cases and scale their robotics solutions and fleets. 

Bernadette Wilson

Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.


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Bernadette Wilson

Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.