What is the internet of robotic things and what does it mean to business?

Al Sisto

Blog by: Al Sisto - 11 / Dec / 2020

If your industry deals largely in heavy duty work or manual jobs that are mostly repetitive, then the Internet of Robotic Things may be the advanced technological solution that you have been looking for.

At the most basic level, the idea behind the Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT) is to empower robotic units with the artificial intelligence needed to communicate with each other and relevant systems in order to carry out certain tasks.

How does the IoRT work, and how can it be used?

A relatively recent concept, the first in-depth analysis of IoRT can be found in a paper from just 2016. The paper's author, Partha Pratim Ray, outlines the core principles needed in IoRT architecture to make it work successfully:

Composable – IoRT architecture should be easy to publish online, regardless of how complex the applications and designs are.

Context-awareness – All IoRT architecture should have information relating to the context of the surroundings it will be used in.

Adaptable – IoRT architecture must be dynamic, self-adaptive and interoperable in order to succeed.

With those criteria in mind, some potential use cases for successful IoRT implementation include:

  • IoRT connected robots can automate roles that pose a significant risk to human life, such as certain jobs in the construction industry. Using robots to load and unload heavy equipment and construction materials, or even build and disassemble scaffolding, helping site managers and construction engineers to drastically improve worker health and safety.
  • Warehouses can use robots in the QC process, inspecting products for quality and damage. Using IoT data, the robots will be able to take relevant actions without handing off to human employees.
  • Linking robots to camera systems and sensors through IoRT will allow them to provide guidance in spaces such as car parks, aiding customers with directions and adjustments needed to park safely.

These examples are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Investment in IoRT technology is increasing significantly and, in fact, a report published by i-Scoop projects that the market of IoRT will have reached 21.44 billion US dollars by the end of 2020.

Making sure to get the best ROI from IoRT

Automation is on the rise in industries everywhere, and from 2020 to 2022 alone there are projected to be almost 2million new industrial robots installed in factories around the world. In Europe alone, there is an average of 114 robotic units per every 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry, the highest robot density in the world.

Robotics are nothing new to heavy industry, with car manufacturers and others making use of their high-levels of precision, accuracy, and speed to carry out various operations 24/7. Such businesses are ahead of the curve when it comes to IoRT, but that doesn't mean that they aren't extra considerations that they have to take into account for a successful roll-out.

In order to get the best return on investment (ROI) it's important that businesses looking to utilise IoRT have a strategy in place that will allow them to integrate new robotics technology with IoT endpoints such as work stations and other terminals.

Deep dive - how IoRT is revolutionising supply chain

Implementing a supply chain strategy and IoRT management system gives businesses the chance to keep employees and robotics connected. This allows management and IT departments to optimise all systems and technologies in the supply chain, not just robotics.

With a fully integrated supply chain, a business will have access to important data from across the entire supply time, such as the performance and accuracy of IoRT devices, and real-time visibility for all connected endpoints. This enhances the use of robotics technology by allowing for the more rapid discovery of any inefficiencies or technical problems, and minimising their impact through quick action.

Utilising real-time insights from an integrated mobility and IoT management platform lets businesses drive down overheads such as the cost of maintenance and program updates by identifying potential problems before they have a chance to take hold.

This 'predictive maintenance' for IoRT tech also makes it possible to better evaluate performance, ascertaining whether it is being truly effective in achieving a ROI that benefits the business.

The importance of holistic IoRT solutions going forward

IoRT is doubtlessly capable of providing a significant boost to both productivity and revenue , but it is at its most effective when successfully entwined with IoT endpoints to form a holistic supply chain management system.


Topics: robotics, internet of robotic things

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