​Workplace of the future unveiled as robotics spending edges towards $135 billion

“Robotics as a technology has really reached its tipping point.”

Robotics has been identified as one of six Innovation Accelerators that will drive digital transformation by opening new revenue streams and changing the way work is performed.

In the new Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide, IDC forecasts global spending on robotics and related services to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent from more than $US71 billion in 2015 to $US135.4 billion in 2019.

The new spending guide measures purchases of robotic systems, system hardware, software, robotics-related services, and after-market robotics hardware on a regional level across thirteen key industries and fifty-two use cases.

“Robotics is one of the core technologies that is enabling significant change in manufacturing through factory of the future initiatives,” says Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director, Robotics, IDC Manufacturing Insights.

“While traditionally used in the automotive industry, there is an increasing adoption of robotics in sectors like electronics, retail, healthcare, logistics, agriculture, services, education, and government.

“Such broad-based growth in robotic adoption is being driven by increasing labour costs, shortage of skilled labour, and an increasing emphasis on repeatable quality in conjunction with a reduction in prices of robotic systems and strategic national initiatives."

Not surprisingly, Zhang says worldwide robotics spending is dominated by the discrete and process manufacturing industries, which represented 33.2 percent and 30.2 percent of total spending in 2015, respectively.

Resource, healthcare, and the transportation industries are the next three largest commercial industries in terms of overall robotics spending.

Zhang says process manufacturing and healthcare are two of the fastest growing industries, with worldwide spending in each forecast to nearly double by 2019.

From a technology perspective, worldwide spending on robotics systems, which includes consumer, industrial, and service robots, is forecast to grow to nearly $US32 billion in 2019.

However, services-related spending, which encompasses applications management, education & training, hardware deployment, systems integration, and consulting, will grow to more than $US32 billion in 2019, overtaking robotics systems and becoming both the largest and fastest-growing category of spending by the end of the forecast.

Zhang says total spending on system hardware (servers and storage) and software (command and control, network infrastructure, and robotics-specific applications) will grow nearly as fast as services spending.

Closer to home, the Asia/Pacific region including Japan accounts for more than 65 percent of total robotics spending throughout the forecast.

“Robotics as a technology has really reached its tipping point,” adds John Santagate, Research Manager, Supply Chain, IDC Manufacturing Insights.

“Robotic capabilities continue to expand while increasing investment in robot development is driving competition and helping to bring down the costs associated with robots.”

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