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The Rise of RaaS

Rajeev Khade, VP & Global Head - IT, Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation

The concept of Robotics as a Service (RaaS) is gaining popularity. Some of the researches indicate that the installed base for RaaS will grow up to 1.3 million in 2026, which has a potential to generate a revenue of all most $32-34 billion. In recent times, everyone is familiar with the concept of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or software as a service (SaaS). Similarly, Robotics as a Service (RaaS) providers offer robots as a service to various organisations for managing repetitive, mundane and dangerous tasks which are typically done by humans working on lower pay.

The biggest advantage of RaaS is that organisations can access services through a cloud-based subscription. In other words, the organisations can shift the capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operational expenditure (OPEX). Deploying of robots sometimes turns-out to be an expensive proposition. Hence, companies face difficulties in getting a return on investment which is important before deploying any capital intensive project. This is the single most reason why many companies stay away for doing any investment in robots.

In view of this, many service providers have come forward and are eager to provide RaaS models. This helps the companies to scale their production up and down as & when required depending upon the dynamic market conditions/changing demandsof customers. This model comes-up with a more affordable cost and less investment in terms of capital. Today, it’s also easy to sign-up & find powerful and economical cloud computing solutions that allow robots to be offered as a variable cost service with subscription packages.

Many organisations from different industry sectors are benefitting from RaaS, as it lowers the barrier to make an entry for them and to test such solutions and experiment it with robotic enhancements.

Robots are making an impact in several sectors. Thanks to Robotics as a service (RaaS), the advantages of which can be leveraged by small & medium-sized companies.

The main reason for Robotics as a Service (RaaS) to gain in popularity is, it offers flexibility, scalability, and lower cost of entry than traditional robotics programs. These positive features allow small and medium-sized organisations to benefit from robotics features without the often cost-prohibitive initial investment.
Also, another factor which has contributed to early adoption of RaaS is the dramatic reduction hardware & production costs. At the same time, economical & powerful computing and cloud infrastructure facilities are readily available and can be easily upgraded to higher level of compute requirements. The net result is that the robotic solutions are easily available at variable cost as compared to earlier days when the same was being sold at a fixed & capital intensive fixed cost. The robots and their related/required software can be packaged together and can be sold in a subscription form. This change in robotics business model will have profound implications, and will radically transform industries.

The main reason for Robotics as a Service (RaaS) to gain in popularity is, it offers flexibility, scalability, and lower cost of entry than traditional robotics programs

Another dimension to RaaS is cloud service. The cloud service will allow various businesses to store data that is collected by these robots. The robots across various locations such as manufacturing plants, warehouses or retail stores which will be interconnected, and thus will help to store the data at a central location over the internet. The centrally stored data can be accessed as & when required for analytical purpose. Also this will help to add value to organizations having hundreds of robots, with each robot performing different tasks.
Two of the fastest growing industries that are using RaaS as a service are healthcare and manufacturing. It has been observed that the manufacturing industry is investing heavily in robotic process automation, as it helps to get away from performing repetitive tasks which otherwise would have required extensive manpower. Second to manufacturing sector, next in line is the healthcare sector, which is picking-up and trends indicate that healthcare is expected to spend more in the coming years. Healthcare sector is inclined towards robotic surgery, but such surgeries are extremely expensive. With the growth in this sector, indications are that the cost of such surgeries are expected to come down in the coming years.

Now a days, more & more companies are taking to digitalisation to expand their business, as the digitalisation process offers to bring-in manufacturing process excellence, faster time to market, and thus help to gain advantage over competition. The digitalisation process also aims to reduce costs enhance quality and improve productivity. Cost reductions is possible when manufacturing processes are made more & more efficient, and this is possible with automation.
To conclude, it can be said that RaaS is definitely going to change the future of work.

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