Robots are moving from controlled environments to uncontrolled environments and from select industries to every industry faster than we could have expected. Thanks to the ‘new normals’ caused by the covid-19 pandemic, robots are now more critical in business and society than ever, as businesses and governments search for new, “contact-less” solutions. The pandemic is strengthening the case for robotics and automation as robots are already being used by companies to engage and delight customers, solve logistics difficulties or take on difficult and dangerous tasks. In a recent conversation with CXOToday, P. N. Sudarshan, Partner, Deloitte India, explains the current opportunities and challenges in the robotics space and how robotics can be a game changer for businesses in the post-Covid era.

CXOToday: According to you, how can robotics create a better automated future?

Sudarshan: In the robotics market, there are three primary classifications – industrial robots, professional services robots and software robots. While industrial robots have been in existence for the last few decades, professional service and software robots are more recent, with the market coming to maturity only in the last decade or so. Professional service robots are used outside of manufacturing, in domains such as retail, hospitality, health care, logistics (warehouse automation), construction, agriculture, etc. They are typically used to supplement human activity than replacing them, and most are mobile or semi mobile.

Software robots on the other hand are used to automate some of the process oriented work streams in enterprise functions such as finance, HR, procurement etc. and include technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA). India is one of the fast growing markets for software robots, driven by the presence of a large offshore shared services market and global in-house centers.