The multibillion-dollar global market for robotics, long dominated by industrial and logistics uses, has begun to see a shift toward new consumer and office applications.
The market for consumer and office robots will grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2014 and 2019, seven times faster than the market for manufacturing robots.
By 2019, there will be a $US1.5 billion market for consumer and business robots.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence we assess the market for consumer and office robots, taking a close look at the three distinct categories within this market — home cleaning, telepresence, and home entertainment robots. We also examine the market for industrial manufacturing robots since it is the market where many robotics companies got their start, and remains the largest robot market by revenue. And finally, we assess the factors that might still limit the consumer robot market.
Here are some of the most important takeaways from the report:
- The consumer/office robot market is currently led by three distinct categories: home cleaning and maintenance, “telepresence” (i.e., telecommuting to events or remote offices), and advanced robots for home entertainment.Other applications, such as robots that assist people with handicaps, are still nascent.
There are four stages in robot development beyond the stationary robots used in factory automation — robots that are mobile and can be moved around by humans; robots that navigate on their own; robots that not only move through their surroundings unassisted but perceive and map their environment and learn new route; and robots that can manipulate a wide variety of objects and obstacles.
- The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has made it easier to develop robots for consumer and office applications. Mobile devices offer designers the opportunity to “outsource” computing and user interface tasks to companion devices, allowing developers to produce app-controlled robots at more accessible price points.
- Would-be robot vendors face some major obstacles: one is the well-studied revulsion that most people feel toward robots that are too humanoid in appearance, and another is the high price demanded for key technologies that power robot mobility and object manipulation. There is also a brewing potential for the kinds of intellectual property battles we’ve seen in the smartphone space.
In full, the report:
- Assesses the market for consumer and office robots
- Looks at where the market for industrial robotics is growing the fastest, and why there has recently been a slowdown
- Examines the challenges faced by the robotics industry in bringing the “objects” to a mass market
- Outlines which consumer and office robot categories are seeing the fastest uptake, including home cleaning, telepresence, and toy robots
- Lays out at Google robotics efforts
- Explains the ‘Uncanny Valley’ problem