What to Expect from Robotics in 2016?

With robotics being touted as one of the most important technology trends in enterprises by research analysts, let’s have a look at the cards being played by Indian CIOs in 2016.

With the advent of time, we have found machines and ways to do our work for a fraction of our time. Making our lives easier is something humans have always excelled at. From inventing the wheel to discovering fire, to the first PC, to the first robot and now to the nth robot, we have made our lives simpler and faster every day. But, robots are much more complex than ceiling fans, and need more control, funding and expertise. So, how far can technology take robots?

Kartik Visweswaran, CIO at Wipro, talks about how machines can simplify even the most mundane yet time consuming tasks. Taking the example of parking spaces at public places, he elaborates how using a robot can help in keeping a tab on location of available slots at any given time without a human actually driving or walking around the area looking for the same. Visweswaran feels that robots will play a larger part in the IT services sector in the coming years to a great extent, a technology the vertical hasn’t explored much.

Perhaps, manufacturing leads the path in being able to leverage and effectively use the functionality and resources robotics can offer to a much greater extent.

But that’s all in theory. What about people who have already deployed robotics in their organizations? Larsen & Toubro has been using welding robots in its factories for quite some time now. Bhupendra Pant, Head HO IT, spoke about robots undertaking hazardous tasks without any scope of fear with uninterrupted services at the same. “Consistent and around the clock automation processes will empower your team with better productivity,” he added.

Perhaps, manufacturing leads the path in being able to leverage and effectively use the functionality and resources robotics can offer to a much greater extent. New Holland Fiat is one of the first auto manufacturers that has pioneered and championed in using this technology. Speaking to Avinash Arora, Director ICT (India & S.E.Asia) & Supply Chain Management at New Holland Fiat, one can easily comprehend the hardships and yet understand the amazing results yielded by the deployment of robotics in an organization, if the person in charge is willing to take the leap.

Avinash Arora, Director ICT (India & S.E. Asia), New Holland Fiat

From robots specializing in building power trains for the car industry to building harvesting machines to simple product stacking, robots are a win-win here. The company actually delivers engines to Maruti, General Motors and TATA Motors and the whole process, from manufacturing to supplying, is automated and handled by robots.

Arora stresses upon the enormous productivity the company has gained from this deployment. “With successful implementation, you can actually plan out your activity so well in advance that you will be fully aware of how it is going to perform and the question of reworking an assembly is almost eliminated,” he added.

“Machine to machine talking and automation on the shop-floor is somewhat of an inevitable pathway for all industries really,” said Arora. According to him, being a part of a low cost country with a superior manufacturing quality has given us an edge in the machine building sector.

Forget cars and services for a moment. Robots have been performing surgeries, and unmanned ones too.  From robot-assisted bladder reconstructions in 2008 to performing unmanned complex heart surgeries today, they have come a long way. Research suggests that using robots in healthcare has so far yielded in positive outcomes – lesser bleeding, quicker recovery and fewer complications.

From robot-assisted bladder reconstructions in 2008 to performing unmanned complex heart surgeries today, they have come a long way.

Fortis Healthcare has been a pioneer in the healthcare sector when it comes to deployment of robotics and has recently finished a robotics setup for a cardiac lab. Sudeep Dey, General Manager – India IT said, “For us, it’s all about serving better care and everybody is gaga over this new technology.” The company has been dealing in robotics for the past one year and the only question they have asked themselves so far – why didn’t we do this sooner?

If New Holland Fiat, Larsen & Toubro and Fortis are so satisfied, why isn’t everyone deploying this technology? Of course, there are the challenges to overcome and maybe, they are too big to jump over. Will 2016 change this?