Remember the first time you saw “RoboCop”? Or read about Robotman in a DC comic? Once upon a time, you could only find robots in the movies or on the pages of sci-fi novels. Now, they are a reality — and they’re coming to a workplace near you.
Fifteen percent of executives are investing in robotics. Why? Because they automate day-to-day tasks, boost efficiencies, and carry out the jobs that humans just don’t want to do. Here are three examples of robots revolutionizing the workplace.
Robots will order cheeseburgers and fries
Seattle-based Red Robin is famous for its gourmet cheeseburgers and bottomless steak fries, but customers get more than just food when they pull up a chair at one of the restaurant’s locations.
Customers can order food from an interactive tablet — essentially a robot, but without a face or limbs — and have it sent over to their table. Diners can even ask for refills, play games, and redeem rewards points.
“Since these tablets do a significant portion of a waiter’s duties, the waiter now has the time to help more customers and create better dining experiences,” says Immense Networks. “In this situation, robots aren’t replacing humans; they’re merely complementing them.”
Robots will package goods in warehouses
Amazon has invested heavily in software development, automation, and robotics. At its warehouse in Florence, NJ, robots take over a wide range of daily tasks, like packing and labeling. The company has more than 100,000 robots at its warehouses around the world and plans to purchase more.
“The robots make warehouse work less tedious and physically taxing, while also enabling the kinds of efficiency gains that let a customer order dental floss after breakfast and receive it before dinner,” says The New York Times.
Amazon’s robots enhance workflow automation by completing everyday tasks and moving products through the supply chain, and you should only expect more companies to use this technology in the future. Research suggests that half of all work activities performed by humans could be fully automated in as little as 40 years. Not that they will — but it’s still a not-so-distant “option.”
“Increased machine learning and neural networks that could make computers ‘smarter’ and drive artificial intelligence in the workplace in ways not even imagined yet,” says The Vancouver Sun.
Robots will become bank tellers and improve customer service
You can also find robots and IoT systems in the banking sector. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ recently introduced a true-to-form robot called Nao, which recognizes 19 languages and interacts with customers in branches. This robot has visual recognition and remote control capabilities, which allows it to facilitate customer service processes and improve communications.
“From artificial intelligence-powered chatbots that interact with customers through a bank’s digital channels — online, mobile and social media — to programmable software bots that can perform administrative tasks such as processing mortgage applications, these virtual machines are being tasked with some heavy lifting,” says Armina Ligaya, writing for the Financial Post.
There will be more than 2.5 million robots at work in the year 2019 — that’s more than the total population of North Dakota, Vermont and Washington, D. C., combined — according to the International Federation of Robotics. From automating business tasks to improving productivity, robots, it seems, are reshaping the American workforce. Naturally, the question becomes: what could a robot do for your business?