It's a great time to be an automation solutions provider. The prevalence of lower-cost components, open-source code, accessible options for contract manufacturing, an influx of interest in investment capital, and a growing social acceptance of robots empowers many engineers to design innovative robotics for a variety of collaborative tasks. It can be challenging to make the shift from an emerging company to a growth company without keeping a few key components in mind.
1. Successful companies build a robot that solves a problem.
Some robotics startups are quick to design their robots without fully understanding how or why customers will use them. In the rush to create, many robotics engineers don’t focus closely enough on the "critical business" aspect and attempt to build a “be-all-do-it-all” robot that may be an engineering marvel, but has little practical use in the marketplace. Successful companies focus on purpose-built robots that solve specific problems and have market applicability.
2. Successful companies build a robot people want to use (and buy).
So, your robot is the ideal solution. But will people use it? Much rigor goes into the introduction of new products in the consumer market. Despite focus groups, testing, analysis, and multiple iterations of product design, many still fail. Robotics companies need to ascertain early on not only what features customers want, but what they are willing to pay for. Successful companies engage early and often with their prospective customers to determine the potential for adoption, especially with collaborative robots, and how large of a market this translates to. They also make sure their collaborative robot is ready to handle the challenges of working in the real world alongside humans. Pro Tip: Don't forget to account for end-user training. Training is the key to adoption and proper use.