Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Look out, there are robots in the cloud

Steve Rogerson
May 13, 2015
Cloud robotics, which involves the integration of cloud computing technology in robots, has been gaining prominence globally, according to analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
End users have begun to recognise the benefits of this concept, which uses the internet to augment a robot's capabilities, mainly by off-loading computation and providing services on demand. With this concept set to make future robots more productive and efficient, the diverse requirements of end users can be met with no compromise made to the quality of services.
Called Innovations in Cloud Robotics, the report finds that cloud robotics will lead to the development of smart robots that have higher computing efficiency and consume less power. These attributes will drive down the cost of manufacturing, as there is less hardware, and result in lower emissions.
Innovations in cloud robotics have gained significant momentum, with initiatives by large companies such as Google and IBM and the engagement of research institutes in several active projects around the world. The need to develop robots that rank high on performance and accessibility has been the key focus in research activities.
"As cloud robotics moves beyond its nascent stage, numerous applications of these technologies will come to the fore," said research analyst Debarun Guha Thakurta. "For the moment, healthcare, transportation, consumer robotics and manufacturing are areas that can benefit from the use of shared resources and the elimination of the need to manage or update robotics software."
Considering the prevalence of cloud computing technology and smart phones and tablets, the consumer robotics market will witness strong growth, says the report. In fact, cloud robotics will be a catalyst for the emergence of a mainstream consumer robot marketplace. The major challenge for market participants, however, is the high dependence of cloud robotics on active internet connectivity for processing any function.
In areas of limited or no connectivity, robots powered by the cloud are unable to function effectively and respond promptly in critical situations.
"The convergence of cloud robotics with big data, context-aware computing and high-speed ubiquitous wireless networks, along with the use of advanced wireless sensors, could solve connectivity issues that slow response times," said research analyst Mousumi Dasgupta. "Operations that require the execution of tasks in real time will also need service-oriented robots with on-board processing capabilities."
Innovations in Cloud Robotics is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Technical Insights series, and provides insights on nine dimensions of cloud robotics – year of impact, market potential, global footprint, IP intensity, funding, breadth of industries, megatrend impact, potential points of convergence, and size of the innovation ecosystem. Further, this research includes technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following interviews with market participants.