Mumbai: Firms will invest more in cognitive capabilities and artificial intelligence, industrial robots, service robots, and robotic process automation (RPA) as businesses recover post covid-19, according to a research by Forrester. The pandemic has made automation a boardroom imperative as CEOs expand business continuity plans and take new risks.
Early stages of the outbreak created supply shock as China accounted for 24% of the world’s industrial value. Moreover, 22% of all global imports from China were of intermediate products, as opposed to finished goods. This placed enormous stress on global supply chains. As the world emerges from the grip of the pandemic, business leaders in sectors, including manufacturing and retail, will look to bring their supply chains closer to key markets. This will cause a move toward greater global diversification and technology-enabled demand responsiveness using big data, AI, and cloud technologies, noted the report .
“Automation adoption across BPM (business process management) sector has been the highest over the past 4-5 years both for customers and internal efficiency initiatives. Global captives also adopted automation to a great extent. Automation comes with costs so businesses were walking the line between efficiency and cost which at the Indian wage rates was still possible," said Leslie Joseph, principal analyst, Forrester.
The informal sector, which is traditionally associated with low productivity and high employment variability, has been hit hard by the sudden global shutdown. AI and RPA have already introduced the world to digital workforces that can take on routine back- and front-office functions.
In the current crisis, investments in drone-based delivery by Alibaba, Amazon, and JD.com and in robotic tele-medicine by companies such as Denmark’s UvD Robots and China’s Yuoibot have demonstrated viability for larger-scale deployment.
The coronavirus pandemic is seeing governments and institutions commit heavily to investments in AI-centric technologies such as synthetic biology, robotics, and drones. The impact of these investments will continue to show up long after the coronavirus has receded.
On an immediate basis businesses are likely to consider chatbots and simple backend processing automation solutions which are less capital intensive than large scale industrial automation as businesses ease into risk mitigation initiatives.