Automation has becoming more prominent around the world in recent years. In 2021, this increase in adoption has led to automation being present in a variety of business industries, as well as in consumer’s homes.
To learn more about the exciting happenings shaping automation progress this year, just keep reading.
1. More Interest in Automation From Smaller Companies
A common misconception is that it’s mostly leaders at large enterprises that get interested in automation and see its advantages. However, an April 2021 study from Zapier proved that small and medium-sized organizations could benefit from automation, too.
The research showed that 63 percent of companies in that group said automation enabled pivoting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 66 percent of those polled now deem automation essential for running their businesses.
These outcomes could spur an increased number of leaders at smaller companies to pursue automation or at least explore its possibilities.
2. Automation Helping Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic
Besides helping businesses become more efficient during the pandemic, automation plays a more direct role in curbing the virus.
For example, a Japanese prefecture uses robots to perform COVID-19 tests. The system can reportedly screen up to 2,500 results per day and get results in just 80 minutes.
Automation also proved its worth in rapid disinfection. Many organizations, from food banks to hospitals, used robots equipped with ultraviolet lights to clean frequently used areas. Those solutions typically supplemented humans rather than replacing them. A recently released tool in India uses automation to help people find vaccine appointments. It also alerts them when slots open in their areas.
3. Company Leaders Understanding the Worth of Automated Workflows
Many company leaders know that better productivity often comes through streamlining processes. Once decision-makers have that realization, automated workflows can help enterprises meet goals.
For example, representatives can automatically route tasks to the correct parties, prompting workers to take ownership of those duties.
Gartner analysts recently predicted that 90 percent of large organizations worldwide would have some form of robotic process automation by 2022. That’s likely because business leaders know that automation can support both scalability and resilience now and in the future.
4. More Progress in Automated Deliveries
Logistics professionals continually concern themselves with improving last-mile delivery outcomes. Automation is playing an increasingly prominent role in their discussions.
For example, Dominos Pizza recently unveiled an automated pizza delivery option in Houston, Texas. The pies come in an autonomous car, and people enter a code on the vehicle to retrieve their food.
As automated deliveries become more commonplace, it’ll be increasingly crucial to develop standards for offering them. An international group of 24 bodies will come together to do that. It’ll happen through an initiative led by Harmonize Mobility. Participants aim to create standards that uphold commercial viability and legal manageability.
5. Increased Disability Awareness in the Self-Driving Vehicles Space
The self-driving car trend has made automation enthusiasts eager to see what the future holds. Many analysts say autonomous cars could be game-changers for people with disabilities. However, vehicle plans didn’t always include those groups. That’s starting to change.
Researchers at the University of Maine built an app with a multisensory interface to help users request and locate self-driving cars. It also works with conventional vehicles.
Another project at the University of Kansas centers on adapting autonomous vehicles so people with cognitive impairments can interact with them.
6. The Home Automation Market Continues to Grow
Many of today’s homes are increasingly automated. People can use apps to operate lights and door locks or set connected appliances to a particular schedule. A report predicts the home automation market will reach $114 billion in market value by 2025, up from $45.8 billion in 2017.
Samsung recently held a global showcase to highlight what’s in its upcoming product lineup. The previewed smart home products included a robotic vacuum that doubles as a home-monitoring product since it includes a camera.
The company also showed off laundry appliances that automatically suggest the best cycles based on a garment’s care requirements.
Plenty of Exciting Automation Progress
These six trends give people interested in automation a lot to feel excited about in 2021. After all, the year’s not even half over, and all the things discussed here have already happened. It’s anyone’s guess how the rest of the year will play out regarding specific achievements. However, it’ll certainly be fascinating to watch.
Devin Partida writes about AI, apps and technology at ReHack.com, where she is Editor-in-Chief