Robots: Giving An Edge To Smart Workplaces

Nidhi Arora, executive editor, EFY

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The biggest benefit robots bring to organisations is cost optimisation.

The robotic army is taking over our workplaces. The presence of robots is no more limited to factories and warehouses to lift heavy loads. It has spread to more sophisticated areas for assisting human beings, beyond their own analytical abilities, and for making decisions based on facts.

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Sumit Joshi, vice chairman and managing director, Philips Lighting India, shares, “India will have the youngest employable population in the world by 2020. With an average age of 29, it is predicted that, as flexibility and ease of work goes up, the average retirement age will also go up. This will result in a workforce that is multi-generational and more diverse than ever before. Thus, workplaces for a resurgent and young India will need to be designed to keep employee comfort, well-being, energy-efficiency and connectivity in mind.” Therefore as India strives to create advanced workspaces, robots are being integrated in to the core of systems.

Amarendra Srivastava, a consultant for smart workplaces, shares, “Robots have been present on industrial floors for decades now. But, earlier they were considered helpers. In modern workplaces, robots are taking up more diverse and collaborative roles with humans. They make the workspaces more interactive and increase mobility.”

Roles robots play

Chetan Chawla, digital transformation consultant, Emaar, says, “Currently, robots are mostly in demand for jobs that are repetitive in nature. These jobs could be mechanical or technical. It is believed that artificial intelligence (AI)-embedded robots will be able to perform such tasks more efficiently.

“To take up jobs that are assistive in nature, robots could just be the right choice to relieve humans from basic administrative tasks.”

Srivastava further reflects, “Robots will play a crucial role in tasks that have high error rates. Automation aims to reduce such errors. Humans can teach and guide robots to perform these tasks without committing mistakes.”

The biggest benefit robots bring to organisations is cost optimisation. Even though they bring marginal cost benefits to companies, the shift towards adopting robots will come sooner than expected.

Concerns and the future

Chawla adds, “Robots are smart; they can be useful almost everywhere. They can carry out tasks better than their human counterparts in extreme environmental conditions. However, the biggest challenge that remains unaddressed is that robots can do repetitive tasks better but, they still cannot handle unexpected circumstances.

“Robots save time but, at the end of the day they are machines. When they malfunction, work could get delayed for much longer than it would with humans.”

Having robots in digital workplaces and making them perform advanced functions is still at an experimental stage. Exact job roles and functions are yet to be defined.

Robots taking up human roles and changing work environment (Credit: www.roboticstomorrow.com)

Adaptation phases for robotics in smart workplaces (Credit: Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital)

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