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Monday, June 29, 2015

Economic Implications for In-Home Robots

The adoption of in-home robots will be significantly impacted by the ability of the robotics industry to create and market products that are affordable to the target market. As robots are designed to deliver more functionality, the size, complexity and challenges will increase, as will the cost. Current robots are designed to solve a single problem, such as cleaning floors, and are inherently small. However, larger robots will be able to do more.

As robots are developed that are larger and more autonomous, safety and functionality issues will become paramount. The home is very different from a research lab and there will be safety concerns that cannot be replicated in the lab in terms of weight, stability, and navigation. Larger robots create more costs, not only in the design and development of the robot but in resolving these additional challenges. As prices increase, both unit sales and consumer usage will decline.

There are potentially thousands of personal use cases for robots. As technology development continues, some developers will target the mass market while others will target very specific segments based on needs. However, higher prices risk keeping the robots out of the homes of people who need them the most. As robotic developers continue to pioneer new functionality, one measure of success is getting the robot in the hands of those consumers who can most benefit from it. This will require innovative thought, not only in regards to robotic functionality, but also to cost-effective designs and business models that can drive sufficient volume to produce affordable prices.

Parks Associates forecasts the growth of in-home robots, including for home automation and medical use cases, in the research report Robotics: Changing the Way You Live at Home. For more information on this research, click here.

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