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Robots become a reality as IAG takes first step in digital direction

James Henderson | Dec. 12, 2016
Opportunity for channel heightens as digital transformation strategies take on new meaning in Australia.

"CIOs know they need to make their businesses more digital, but many IT leaders are taking deliberate steps to get there," Gartner senior vice president and global head of research, Peter Sondergaard, said.

"In the fast-paced digital business world, CIOs must get more nimble, and speed up their initiatives.

"This is a year in which we really need to take all the digital initiatives and pilots, and drive them into the mainstream of the business. We need to get off our horse of just piloting, and we have to get into the real stuff."

IAG's bold stanch in the market has been backed by fellow analyst firm, Morgan Stanley, with Daniel Toohey outlining to the AFR that the business "seemed well placed to navigate the minefield of opportunities from technology-driven change".

In aligning with machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analytics, IAG represents a company already embarking on digital transformation plans, with 35 per cent of organisations expected to follow suit in 2017, exploring the use of robots to automate operations by 2019.

"Technological development in artificial intelligence, computer vision, navigation, MEMS sensor, and semiconductor technologies continue to drive innovation in the capability, performance, autonomy, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness of industrial and service robots," IDC research director, Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, said.

By 2019, Dr Zhang believes 30 per cent of commercial service robotic applications will be in the form of a "Robot-as-a-Service" business model, reducing costs for robot deployment.

As a result, 30 per cent of businesses are expected to respond by implementing a chief robotics officer role in the same year, defining a robotics-specific function within the business.

Specific to the channel, both partners and customers will have a greater choice of vendors as new players enter the $US80 billion ICT market to support robotics deployment by 2020, with 60 per cent of robots set to depend on cloud-based software to define new skills, cognitive capabilities, and application programs, leading to the formation of a robotics cloud marketplace.

"Robotics will continue to accelerate innovation, thus disrupting and changing the paradigm of business operations in many industries," Dr Zhang added.

"IDC expects to see stronger growth of robotics adoption outside the traditional manufacturing factory floor, including logistics, health, utilities and resources industries.

"We encourage end-user companies to embrace and assess how robotics can sharpen their company's competitive edge by improving quality, increasing operational productivity and agility, and enhancing experiences of all stakeholders."


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