Sunday 21, August 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The six-fold growth in mobile robotics by 2020 will dramatically enhance Middle East and global business productivity, workplace safety, and daily lives, according to an exclusive new report by Frost & Sullivan prepared in collaboration with GITEX Technology Week.

Shipments of mobile robotics will grow from 4 million in 2012 to 25.4 million in 2020. The fastest growing sector in this expansion is predicted to be logistics, with unit shipments of logistics-related robotics increasing from 1,400 in 2012 to 95,000 in 2020. The largest absolute growth will be in personal and household robotics, growing from four million in 2012 to 25 million in 2020.

“As robots get inexorably smarter with advances in Artificial Intelligence and know more about the world around them through access to the Internet of Things and Big Data, they will make more informed decisions and be able to adapt to the environments they inhabit. This in turn will lead to richer human-machine collaboration – driving massive gains in productivity, safer workplaces, and better lives,” said Paul Clarke, CTO at the United Kingdom-based Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer.

Paul Clarke will headline GITEX’s Retail Wednesday, an all-day conference on how innovations are transforming e-commerce, brand engagement, and the retail supply chain.

He will present on “Harnessing the Power of Technology Tsunamis to Disrupt the Future of Online Grocery Retail and Beyond,” on how Ocado has scaled and sustained e-commerce by harnessing the power of innovative technologies.

Ocado ships over 200,000 weekly orders in the UK thanks to its automated warehouses, the latest of which will have thousands of robots fetching their customers’ groceries. Ocado is currently partnering with several European Union universities to develop the SecondHand humanoid robot, which aims for factory deployment by 2020.

“Humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence are set to be a major leap forward in complementing people and enhancing efficiency in the workplace, especially in high-risk and fast-paced environments. As the Middle East’s push for innovation continues, the region is primed to be a centre of having robots transform the workplace. Lessons learnt in retail could be extended to other verticals such as healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, and construction,” added Paul Clarke.

With more workplace automation, companies will be able to replace up to 10 workers with one robot, driving down costs by as much as 60 per cent, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The European Federation of Robotics, a non-profit organization that aims to promote, strengthen, and protect the robotics industry worldwide, predicts the Middle East will see strong take-up of robotics across businesses, especially in industrial and manufacturing.

“Robots increasingly have the artificial intelligence to carry out tasks based on their own decisions, enhancing efficiency and safety. We are on the brink of a major breakthrough in human-machine technology advancement, and the GCC and UAE have the ambition and early adoption mind-set to be global leaders in using robotics to transform daily lives,” said Simon Andersen, CIO at the European Federation of Robotics.

Robotics, Drones, and 3D Printing Drive Innovation

Robotics, along with drones and 3D printing, are three inter-related technologies that are rapidly decreasing in cost, advancing in sophistication, and driving innovation.

With mid-range 3D printers advancing in quality, there is strong industry take-up – from rapid prototyping in industrial manufacturing, to healthcare with hearing aids and dental braces. Globally, 3D printers and services will grow more than six-fold, from USD 2.5 billion in 2013 to USD 16.2 billion in 2018, according to a recent analysis by consultants PwC.

3D printing is making major waves in the retail sector – with industry analysts Gartner predicting at least seven of the top 10 retailers in the world using 3D printing. John Vary, Innovation Manager at UK department store John Lewis, will present at GITEX on how the company’s in-house Room Y innovation hub has prototyped 3D-printed products.

Drones are seeing strong take-up across a wide range of industry verticals – especially in monitoring sites and delivering goods across long distances, and present a global commercial value of USD 127 billion, according to a recent report by consultants PWC. The three strongest markets are infrastructure, agriculture, and transport, with infrastructure worth USD 45 billion across monitoring, conducting maintenance, and checking inventory.

In the energy field, oil and gas leaders from Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, Dolphin Energy, Emirates National Oil Company, and Takreer will discuss at GITEX Conferences on how drones and sensors can make energy sites safer and better monitored.

Bringing drones innovations to the Middle East, many of the world’s largest and most advanced drones manufacturers will showcase their latest drones at GITEX – including leading Chinese drones manufacturers Ehang, Prodrone, and Yuneec.

GITEX Startup Movement Supports Innovators

The new GITEX Startup Movement will support global startups experimenting in robotics, drones, and 3D printing in securing funding and reaching new markets and audiences.

UAE startup DigiRobotics, which launched CafeBot and CarBot driverless car at last year’s GITEX, will return to showcase the first virtual reality robotic simulator, 3D printing by a seven-axis robot, unmanned vehicles, and the UAE’s first 3D-printed humanoid robot.

“Following the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and the Future Strategy of UAE, DigiRobotics Technologies is seeing a surge of interest in robotics across 3D printing, humanoid robots for personal assistance, and unmanned vehicles and industrial robotics in the oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, and logistics sectors, especially for repetitive and dangerous tasks,” said Bilal Al Hattab, Managing Director of DigiRobotics.

At GITEX, DigiRobotics will join robotics innovators such as China-based Alpula, which specialises in child-friendly humanoid robots; The Hi-Tech, which says it has 90 per cent market share of India’s industrial and warehousing robotics; InSystems Automation from Germany, which creates robots ranging from industrial machines to 3D scanners; and the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement, which promotes a wide range of robots.

Fuelling the next generation of startups will be GITEX Startup Movement’s global incubators and accelerators – such as STC’s InspireU and BADIR Programme for Science and Technology, Dubai Technology and Entrepreneurship Centre in the UAE, Oasis500 from Jordan, and the Japan External Trade Organisation.

At the Middle East centre of robotics, drones, and 3D printing innovation is the UAE, with government initiatives leading the way. Dubai recently opened the world’s first 3D printed office building, and the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy aims to make the city a global hub by 2030. Numerous government agencies are using drones to monitor security, utilities, and roads. The UAE will also host the World Future Sports Games 2017 for robotics.

“The UAE has shown how to imagine the future on a grand scale. GITEX Technology Week 2016’s theme of ‘Reimagining Realities’ will encompass how robotics, drones, and 3D printing manufacturers, early adopters, experts, and futurists see the world changing in the near future, in a place where new ideas are especially welcomed,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Exhibitions and Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.

To experience the latest innovations in robotics, drones, and 3D printing, register for GITEX Technology Week 2016 at The event will run from 16-20 October 2016 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.