Talk about Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) pricing models emerged in the early 2010’s. By 2018, the industry began to understand the benefits of RaaS more deeply. That year, Rian Whitton at ABI Research estimated that the installed base for RaaS will grow from 4,442 units in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2026, while annual revenues for RaaS providers are expected to increase from $217 million in 2016 to nearly $34 billion in 2026.
Now, with 2020 in the rearview mirror, the benefits of RaaS has become amplified. RaaS will likely see a greater surge in popularity and acceleration to the predicted timeline.
As proved in 2020, manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing organizations that adapt quickly to evolving conditions survive and thrive. Now, planning for Black Swan events has become a top consideration for global supply chain companies, as David Clear, Vecna Robotics CRO, and friends from Highjump Körber Logistics, GEODIS, and Interact Analysis discussed in October. A RaaS financing model is one way to preserve capital, adapt quickly, and remain operationally efficient for whatever comes next.
In addition, with the IT network already in place, AMR vendors can upgrade or scale down the system quickly, based on changing business needs. For example, it is easy to:
This keeps floor space clear and preserves people hours. In addition, Robotics-as-a-Service makes it easy to adapt to changing workflows. In other words, a facility can deploy a new robot to do a new job while returning the old robot to the vendor.
In conclusion, a cloud-based RaaS model can provide the backbone for greater operational resilience – a necessity in today’s unpredictable industrial landscape. In addition to scaling easily, getting started quickly, and extending your workforce, RaaS is a way to create financial resilience. Use the capital saved plus the returns from up to 30% increase in operational efficiencies to invest in future automation. RaaS is an enabler for greater gains downstream.
Last month, we published an article talking about the history of the Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, what it is, and how it’s relevant to the high-capacity AMR and AGV industry. This month, we explain the connection between the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) cloud-based architecture and a RaaS model.
Like a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, RaaS is a cloud-based solution. For instance, in a typical RaaS deployment for our Pivotal orchestration engine, the application is released to the cloud or in secure off-site servers. Pivotal tracks the real-time status of each robot in its fleet, including truck location, task type, estimated pickup or drop off time, and traffic in its proximity. Through secure integration, the facility’s WMS or MES assigns work to the application. Then, the application uses fleet status information to dispatch the right robot to the right job. Pivotal then presents that information on an enterprise dashboard, allowing for continuous improvement.
In a traditional pricing model, adding robots to an existing application can require extra work. Under RaaS, it is easy to scale a fleet and expand with new AMR models with minimal intervention from your vendor, based on the changing needs of your operation. Whether you decide to use 1 or 100 robots, we install infrastructure at your facility the same way. Increase fleet size easily, without an additional lengthy deployment process. In addition, you can swap out old equipment as updated hardware becomes available, or even change truck types based on changing needs and workflows. For example, a warehouse might swap pallet jack for a counterbalanced fork truck if they discover a bottle neck at the stretch wrap machine.
However, the real power of Pivotal lies in its ability to expand across platforms and human agents, and from one facility to multiple facilities. A cloud-based RaaS architecture makes it easy for facilities to:
(Check out this white paper we wrote with SVT Robotics to see how we’re making mixed fleets possible.)
The RaaS model and 5G connectivity are major players in the future of IIoT. Next-generation industrial automation systems, like autonomous mobile robots, are intelligent, connected devices that rely on:
Historically, these systems face consistent challenges. Warehouses and factories usually have on-premise IT systems and are located in remote areas without access to high-speed internet. As a result, these facilities typically have limited WiFi bandwidth and strict security policies. 4G signals often do not provide reliable connection inside plants and lack enough bandwidth for data-hungry processing like real-time vision.
5G provides a standard, secure, reliable wireless infrastructure for next-gen automation and Industrial Internet of Things applications. Vecna Robotics has partnered with Verizon 5G Studios and Newlab to demonstrate a streamlined cloud-based architecture and deploy systems more rapidly. RaaS inherently sets up industrial infrastructure for the fastest, most reliable, most current, and most secure installation possible.
Find more information about RaaS and Vecna Robotics’ approach to OpEx pricing here.