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How do service robots change your business?

How do service robots change your business?

Is "Service Robots" Really Popular? Bold forecast for the next 5 years

The Japan government announced the "New Robot Strategy" under the "New Industrial Revolution by Robots" in the 2014 revised edition of the Japan Revitalization Strategy. 
In this strategy, he launched the "Robot Revolution Realization Conference" and stated that he would <aim to expand private investment in robot development and promote a robot project on the scale of 100 billion yen> in the five years . 
This is one of the solutions to the declining working population in the future declining birthrate and aging society. 
So what will the robot industry market look like in the future? Here, based on the "Latest Trends in Service Robots" recently announced by Nomura Research Institute (NRI), I would like to take a look at the current status and future of service robots, including the author's views.

What is the difference between service robots and industrial robots?

Since the 1980s, "industrial robots" have been introduced in many manufacturing industries, mainly in the automobile industry, and have achieved great results as a Japanese specialty. Even now, FANUC and Yaskawa Electric reign in one of the four major robot manufacturers in the world (ABB and KUKA in Europe are also in one corner), and it is just like a robot powerhouse.

On the other hand, the field of "service robots" is currently attracting attention. 
Unlike industrial robots, service robots are robots that operate near humans such as public spaces and homes and provide services such as reception, security, cleaning, and guidance.

Is it 5 trillion yen in 2035? Reasons why service robots are activated

According to the forecast of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), service robots will be about 1 trillion yen , which is the same scale as industrial robots. 
In 2035, the robot industry as a whole will reach 9.7 trillion yen, of which service robots will grow to the scale of 5 trillion yen (twice that of industrial robots). Therefore, service robots are attracting attention as a target for the next market.
So why are service robots activated? First of all, the change in perception of safety is considered to be one of the factors. 
In the past, from the viewpoint of safety first, there was a tendency to suppress the commercialization of service robots. 
However, due to the revision of the law, even industrial robots can remove the safety fence in the factory, and the application to the production line considering the cooperation between humans and robots is accelerating. 
With such a trend, service robots technology that can ensure safety in living spaces has also paved the way, and there are signs of commercialization.

Of course, technological progress can also be mentioned. Another important factor is that recent cloud technologies, wireless networks, hardware performance, and AI-backed voice / image recognition technologies are becoming practically acceptable. 
Furthermore, by combining general-purpose elemental technologies such as open source and OS, the cost of service robots themselves has become lower than before.

However, even if we talk about service robots, the fields are very wide and there are various things. For example, the cleaning robot "Roomba" used in the home is famous in the cleaning field. 
In the security field, SECOM recently launched an aerial service using a drone. In long-term care and welfare, Cyberdyne's "HAL" and Inofis's "Muscle Suit" are also talked about. In the medical field, "da Vinc", which supports laparoscopic surgery (surgery to remove the affected area by making multiple small holes in the abdomen), has also been introduced in many large hospitals.

Pepper for Biz, which triggered the attention of service robots

Recently, "communication robots" that focus on customer service and guidance have been receiving particular attention in the service field. In fact, this field has been developed for some time. 
At the beginning of 2000, network robots connected to the Internet became a hot topic, but at that time, there was no compromise in terms of latency (delay) and cost of communication lines, and it was difficult to reach full-scale spread. 
However, I also feel that the tide of communication robots has finally changed since I came here.

The big trigger was probably the appearance of Softbank's "Pepper". Initially, Pepper was released for general consumers, but since last year, "Pepper for Biz" for corporations has also been sold, and it has already been introduced by more than 500 companies. Applications are also being offered in dedicated net stores, and the Pepper ecosystem is being formed. 
It is unknown how much Pepper will affect the market in the future, but the business model of 55,000 yen per month for rental is a price setting that is easy to introduce even for small and medium-sized enterprises, and it has sufficient potential to promote its spread. It seems to be hidden.

Communication robots play an active role in inbound demand at the Tokyo Olympics

Then, what kind of scenes are expected to be used for communication robots, which are the core of service robots?

According to NRI, "Mainly in the home, store, and office fields can be considered, but the one that is particularly ahead is the utilization in stores with high PR effects," said Yoshiaki Hase, Senior Researcher. For example, Nestlé began using Pepper for Biz in December 2014 to explain products in stores. The aim was to create a crowded effect, but recently, he collaborated with a latte art machine and tried a unique experiment to print the customer's face on the latte, and it seems that the response was quite large.

Yamada Denki, a consumer electronics retailer, also introduced Pepper for Biz and conducted experiments to explain the inside of the floor in Japanese, English, and Chinese. In recent years, many foreign tourists have come to Japan, and there is an urgent need to accept and serve customers in languages ​​other than Japanese. 
As the number of tourists increases toward the Tokyo Olympics, it will be difficult for humans to support multiple languages ​​other than English, Chinese, and Korean. Therefore, expectations for multilingual support by robots are increasing. The company also introduced and tested.

The autonomous mobile service robots " NAVii " from Fellow Robots of the United States. 
This is not a human type, but a shape like a KIOSK stand.
Equipped with a voice / image sensor, it not only has a product description linked to the display, but also has a function to guide customers to the product sales floor by combining radar and maps. Consumer electronics retailers are not the places you go to every day like supermarkets, so if the sales floor changes, you won't know where or what is. Therefore, it would be convenient to have such a robot. In addition, it has a built-in RFID reader and can manage inventory in the warehouse, which is a great advantage for store staff.