Robotics as a Service: Feasibility and Opportunity

In the News
July 19, 2017

Robots as a Service (RaaS) is a new business model for the robotics market, with its roots in a proven business model from the enterprise software market in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS). The defining feature of an “as-a-service” business model is in how the customer consumes the service provided, how this consumption is metered and how they pay for that service. SaaS involves the delivery of software based functionality hosted in the cloud. In a similar fashion, several robotics vendors are now providing RaaS to their customers.

In the RaaS business model, the customer doesn’t own the robots or automation equipment but rather leases the robots over some period, paying by the month or some other period. The RaaS customer is buying automation capacity and the robot vendor delivers against that capacity requirement without constraint to the total number of physical mechanisms deployed. For the first time, manufacturing and logistics can become responsive to the elastic needs of the business, while controlling costs.

This new business model is changing the way that automation capacity and production throughput is funded, delivered and paid for. By transferring the costs for automation projects from a fixed capital expense to a variable operating expense, the customer and vendor partner together to met the expected production KPI’s. As a result, it’s a win-win for both customer and vendor. This business model is opening doors for new types of robotic automation in every thing from hotel delivery to warehouse logistics. Customers are finding that they can get started with an automation project without a large outlay of capital at the beginning of a project. Furthermore, the project can quickly scale as more capacity is required.

Typically, the vendor remotely monitors the machines in real-time, which enables them to sense equipment issues and proactively (and remotely) remediate any situation that might impact production. The vendor can can also remotely patch the system with new code and even use consolidated customer usage data to help prioritize new feature development.

At the 2017 RoboBusiness conference, the session “Robotics as a Service: Feasibility and Opportunity” will explore several of the emerging applications for RaaS with an expert panel of industry leading vendors engaged in delivering RaaS solutions. This will be your chance to hear how these early pioneers have launched their solutions and what they have learned along the way.