How do automation and robotics differ?
We live in a tech-driven world, but with all the technologies and innovative solutions at our disposal, it can be difficult to figure out what tech solutions are right for your business. Oftentimes, business leaders who are looking into tech innovation and new solutions for their companies are overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities.
That said, there always seems to be some confusion as to the difference between automation and robotics, their unique and combined uses, and more. Could both help your company thrive and improve your production and operational processes? Absolutely, but you need to differentiate between the two first.
Here are the key differences between automation and robotics and how to use them to your advantage.
What is automation?
Automation is the use of automatic hardware or software to automate specific tasks or a number of processes in a business. You can implement automation in a variety of ways, such as a custom solution for your company, as a part of a robotics solution in your facility, or as a SaaS solution.
The applications for automation are virtually endless nowadays, as there is a piece of automation equipment or a piece of software for almost any use and any department in an organization. For example, according to the latest Ecommerce trends, automation has become a big part in operations management, but also marketing, customer service, and more.
But Ecommerce is just one of many industries where automation has countless uses, with the goals of automating repetitive tasks, minimizing financial and time waste, and maximizing performance. As a software solution, you can use automation for:
- Repetitive and menial tasks
- Warehouse management
- Order processing from numerous sales channels
- Team monitoring, workflow, and communication
- Scheduling and posting on social media
- Buying advertising space across the web
- And much more
What is robotics?
On the other hand, robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and computer science, involving the design, construction, operation and use of robotics. As the name implies, a robotic solution is a piece of sophisticated equipment or machinery used to assist humans and businesses overall in their daily operations.
The key difference between automation and robotics is that the former is used to automate specific tasks while robots are machines that can be programmed to complete a variety of different tasks. With robotic process automation, which we’ll talk about in a minute, you can combine the two for maximum effect.
Robotic solutions are primarily used for industrial purposes, but numerous other industries are increasingly leveraging this technology to boost operational efficiency.
Ecommerce is increasingly using robotics to improve order processing, warehouse management and goods retrieval, as well as storing, packaging, and shipping. In manufacturing, engineering, and construction, robotic solutions help improve worksite safety, accuracy, and time to completion.
Understanding robotics process automation
Robotics process automation is the process of designing, building, and implementing software robots that mimic human actions and is often referred to as software robotics. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics process automation is seeing widespread implementation across the world.
According to the 2022 RPA trends and predictions, revenue from robotic process automation is poised to hit $13.74 billion by 2028, indicating that businesses, investors, and governments are increasingly investing in RPA innovation. This should come as no surprise, as software robotics enables companies to automate key processes, enable remote work, and minimize financial waste across the board.
Software robotics is a big part of digital transformation and the implementation of smart solutions across the business sector. One of the most obvious use cases is the implementation of chatbot technology and conversational AI in general.
But RPA extends far beyond help desk support and chatbots, and reaches into complex applications in everything from manufacturing to finance, administration, risk mitigation, and more.
Using automation as a software solution
As mentioned before, automation comes in many forms, and oftentimes you will need to implement it as a SaaS solution or use automation features as a part of a dedicated tool. Automation can be found all around the web, driving marketing and sales processes, employee management and performance tracking, all the way to onboarding and more.
From an online video editor used to fuel your video marketing efforts, all the way to automated workflow and team management tools, you can use software automation to cut financial waste and improve efficiency. You can also build a standalone solution specifically for your business, leveraging AI and machine learning to design a powerful proprietary automation tool to fix a unique pain-point in your company.
Whether it’s a part of a web-based tool or a SaaS product, or if it’s a custom solution, software tools are nowadays commonly used to automate many menial and even complex tasks. Needless to say, this will help empower employees and boost satisfaction in the workplace.
Enhancing security with automation and robotics
Combining software automation and robotics is one of the best ways to enhance business cyber-attacks, while robotics can be used to elevate the physical security of your business.
Now that smart robots are increasingly substituting on-site security, business leaders can use robots to patrol and oversee the business premises with ease. Security robots can connect with other sensors and cameras to create a comprehensive security system.
Combined, software and robotic security allow managers and business owners to better protect customer data, their employees, as well as all sensitive business data in general.
Over to you
Automation and robotics are two very different tech sectors that, combined or used separately, can enhance business operations and overall efficiency. Now that you know what they are and understand some of the ways these technologies can help you, go ahead and streamline your tech investment strategy for 2022 and beyond.
Author: Nikola Sekulic