Call centre jobs threatened by smart devices and machine learning, says Xerox

call centres
Call centres are under pressure from smart devices and machine learning

Customer care – from the traditional call center to webchat to social media options – is being transformed almost daily by machine learning and smarter technology, according to a survey of 6,000 consumers by Xerox. 

In its report, The State of Customer Service, Xerox concludes that customer care is getting more personal but the leading trends emerging in 2016 indicate that smart machines may be key in driving the pursuit of individualized service.

“It’s clear that the relationships between consumers and brands will change radically over the next five years,” said Tim Joyce, chief innovation officer, Xerox Customer Care. “Customers expect a high quality of service and technology is maturing to the point where brands can efficiently meet those needs.”

Solving the PLC problem: Copa-Data provides automation expert with independent software solution

port of singapore

Case study: COPA-DATA and DBIS

Historically, manufacturing was a predominantly manual industry, but today, industrial automation has transformed the way manufacturers operate.

As of 2015, the booming industrial automation industry is worth more than $200 billion globally.

Enabling organisations to mass produce commodities and complete tasks with increased speed and quality, industrial automation has become an unbeatable ally in manufacturing environments. Although automation may reign supreme when it comes to choosing machinery, identifying the right automation software can cause headaches.

Based in the United Kingdom, DBIS provides cargo, asset, automation and resource control to enhance performance and profitability for bulk and break bulk terminals. Serving the automation, rail, marine and conveyor industries, DBIS, a leading terminal operating system (TOS) provider, has perfected a solution for smoother integration of SCADA software for all of its models of programmable logic controllers (PLCs).   Continue reading Solving the PLC problem: Copa-Data provides automation expert with independent software solution

SquareTrade uses ‘killer robots’ to test new smartphones

SquareTrade Labs says it used ‘killer robots’ to test some of the latest smartphones on the market, namely the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and the iPhone 6s.

The gadget protection specialist says its tests show the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were water-resistant, but that the Apple iPhone 6s is “still sturdier when it comes to drops and tumbles”.

SquareTrade says its latest tests had the new generation of Samsung Galaxy phones square up against the company’s “arsenal of bots, including the new Deep Water Dunkbot and Tumblebot”. SquareTrade calls them “breakability tests”. Continue reading SquareTrade uses ‘killer robots’ to test new smartphones

IFR survey: 1.3 million industrial robots to enter service by 2018

IFR survey industrial robots
Figure 1: Global robot density above average – European Union (Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Finland, France, Austria, Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom), Asia (Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan), America (USA, Canada)

The automation of the fourth industrial revolution is accelerating: By 2018, around 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories around the world. In the high-revenue automotive sector, global investments in industrial robots increased by a record-breaking 43 percent (2013-2014) within one year.

Viewed on a cross-sector basis, the international market value for robotic systems now lies at around 32 billion US dollars. So says the 2015 World Robot Statistics, issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

The robotic density figure is a key performance indicator for gauging the current degree of automation within the international markets: For example, the average global robotic density in producing industries lies at 66  robot units per 10,000 employees. Continue reading IFR survey: 1.3 million industrial robots to enter service by 2018

Global industrial robot population set to reach 1.3 million by 2018, says IFR

industrial robots

By 2018, approximately 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories around the world, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

In the high-revenue automotive sector, global investments in industrial robots increased by a record-breaking 43 percent (2013-2014) within one year. Viewed on a cross-sector basis, the international market value for robotic systems now lies at around 32 billion US dollars.

The figures have been published in the IFR’s report, 2015 World Robot Statistics.

The robotic density figure is a key performance indicator for gauging the current degree of automation within the international markets. For example, the average global robotic density in producing industries lies at 66 robot units per 10,000 employees. Continue reading Global industrial robot population set to reach 1.3 million by 2018, says IFR

Technavio survey lists ‘world’s top four’ robot companies

industrial robot playing a vinyl record

Technavio has listed what it claims are the top four leading vendors in their recent global articulated robots market 2015-2019 report. This research report also lists numerous prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market during the forecast period.

Competitive vendor landscape

According to Bharath Kanniappan, lead research analyst at Technavio for robotics, “The top four vendors in the global articulated robots market concentrate on the development of application-specific and industry-specific articulated robots, which help them to have a competitive edge.”

ABB is the market leader in the global industrial robotics market. Fanuc is one of the leading industrial automation vendors and offers various industrial robots under its robotics business unit.  Continue reading Technavio survey lists ‘world’s top four’ robot companies

World Economic Forum warns of ‘widespread disruption’ to business by robots

US Secretary of State John Kerry, delivering the keynote speech at the World Economic Forum
US Secretary of State John Kerry, delivering the keynote speech at the World Economic Forum

You know we’re in a lot of trouble when the World Economic Forum sees fit to issue a dire warning about the future of global employment, forecasting that more than 5 million people will lose their jobs across 15 developed economies by 2020 as a direct result of robotics and automation technology.

It’s difficult to say whether WEF is being conservative in its estimate, but since it is considered the mouthpiece of the leaders of the world economy, it’s in its interests to try and calm people’s anxieties over the issue.

In its report, The Future of Jobs, WEF says: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.”  Continue reading World Economic Forum warns of ‘widespread disruption’ to business by robots

Top 14 industrial robot companies and how many robots they have around the world

Finding statistics on the install base of robots is not as straightforward as it might be, but RoboticsandAutomationNews.com has compiled its own list of available data and the bar chart below is the result.

Many well known companies are missing from the list and graph, but that’s because we could not find any credible and up to date figures for their install base.

We will of course try and persuade those companies to release that information to us so that we can provide a more complete picture of the market.

We’ve called this list “Top 9”, but that is based on available information.

Update: Fanuc claims to have sold 400,000 robots worldwide. That takes it from fourth on our previous list to first place in the new 2016 list. So, Fanuc is now the world’s largest maker of industrial robots according to the latest information we have. We will update the list as and when we get more information.

Update: Epson claims to have sold 10,000 more robots worldwide since our previous list. The company says it now has 55,000 industrial robots installed worldwide. Our previous list had their install base at 45,000 – this has now been updated (below).

Update: Comau says it has 30,000 robots installed worldwide. In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, a senior executive at the Italian company provided the statistic as part of an extended interview. Our previous list did not include Comau as we could not find the data – this has now been updated (below).

Update: Universal Robots says it has installed 10,000 of its collaborative industrial robots worldwide.

Update: ABB says it has 300,000 robots installed worldwide, up from our previous number of 250,000. We have updated the list, and will update the pie chart at a later date. The new figure places ABB in joint-second place, along with Yaskawa, although our list shows ABB at number 3.

Update: Foxconn says it has installed 40,000 industrial robots in China, according to reports. We had not found this in official company documents, which is why we did not initially include it in the list for now. However, the report was in a reliable publication, so we have decided to include it.

Update: Mitsubishi Robotics says it has 70,000 industrial robots installed worldwide, which makes it number 8 in our list. The parent company is going through some interesting times, after a $2.3 billion capital injection, and reports that it is preparing to triple its executive pay.

Update: Stäubli is one of the original robot manufacturers, and still one of the largest. We estimate that the company has a large number of robots installed worldwide. However, in the absence of any available data, we have made our estimate as to how many robots the company has installed wordldwide.

Top robot companies in the world – robot install base worldwide

  1. Fanuc – 400,000
  2. Yaskawa – 300,000
  3. ABB – 300,000
  4. Kawasaki – 110,000
  5. Nachi – 100,000
  6. Kuka – 80,000
  7. Denso – 80,000
  8. Mitsubishi – 70,000
  9. Epson – 55,000
  10. Stäubli – 45,000
  11. Foxconn – 40,000
  12. Comau – 30,000
  13. Omron / Adept – 25,000
  14. Universal – 10,000

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Source: RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com

If new information becomes available, we would be happy to make additions and corrections if appropriate.

We recently found out that Nachi Robotics has a substantial number of industrial robots installed worldwide, which is why we have included it in the list.

We would very much welcome any information that will help us add more companies and more stats to the list.

 

Robot density: Top 10 countries with most industrial robots for every 10,000 people employed in manufacturing

According to the IFR, the 10 countries with the highest number of industrial robots for every 10,000 people employed in manufacturing are:

  1. South Korea, 347
  2. Japan, 339
  3. Germany, 261
  4. Italy, 159
  5. Sweden, 157
  6. Denmark, 145
  7. United States, 135
  8. Spain, 131
  9. Finland, 130
  10. Taiwan, 129

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Source: International Federation of Robots