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79 Million Homes Globally with Have a Robot in Residence by 2024

Researchers Say 79 Million Homes to Have Robots by 2024

Sept. 4, 2019
“Artificial Intelligence and voice recognition are the two additional smart home integrations needed to bring personal/social robots to life,” says Jonathan Collins of ABI Research.

While pricing, availability, and consumer awareness has limited the adoption of home robots, a new study by ABI Research found that will change as robot vendors increasingly see value in supporting the integration of their devices into smart home functionality.

This integration will grow and by 2024 ABI Research predicts that nearly 79 million homes around the world will have a robot in the house.

There are two key home robotics markets: home care robots which typically take on a specific chore within the home and personal/social robots that can be companion devices capable of responding and interacting with an individual in the home. Both have a role within an integrated smart home setting.

“So far, home care robots dominate with regard to consumer adoption and integration into smart home management,” says Jonathan Collins, Smart Home Research Director at ABI Research.

The separation between home robotics and smart home functionality has begun to blur. Traditional smart home capabilities – such as a wireless security camera – are beginning to be embedded in robot vacuum cleaners. However, the key integration point is in voice control support. Voice control has driven smart home adoption since the first Amazon Echo devices launched in 2014. Extending control to home care robots will bring that appeal, functionality and awareness to home care robots.

Robots geared to delivering personal/social interaction and care continue to struggle to win consumer adoption and lag as a market segment and in smart home integration capabilities. However, the voice control platforms driving smart home adoption may well be set to push personal/social care robot adoption.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice recognition are the two additional smart home integrations needed to bring personal/social robots to life,” says Collins.

Both Amazon and Google are well poised to lead in social robot advances because AI and voice recognition are at the heart of their already popular Alexa and Assistant platforms. Echo and Google Home devices increasingly support screens and cameras alongside microphone arrays, providing the resources to support facial recognition with existing voice recognition. These are the features that will underpin more personalized interactions between users and their devices. 

Articulation and mobility will be the key features within the device that will start the transition from smart speakers to personal/social robots that can move and face the home user.

Adding robotic functions to existing voice control front-end devices will deliver confirmation of activation and engagement through physical movement or simulated facial expressions. While not all consumers may be ready for a mobile robot in their home, there are applications where such robotic capabilities can be particularly useful.

Aging-in-place or Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) end-users may be one consumer segment that would welcome greater robotic capabilities in a voice control device. Robotic device start-ups such as Intuition Robotics and Blue Frog Robotics already target the AAL market with devices that can integrate with smart home systems.

“While home care robots release residents from time-consuming and repetitive tasks, social robots offer the potential to further extend into physically interacting in homes and the individuals within them in ways that can go beyond monitoring into the realm of kinship and socialization,” Collins concludes.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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