Unfortunately, a robot’s biggest advantage that humans don’t share is that it can’t contract human or animal diseases. This is what’s driving the current automation invasion across the globe. The Coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of many industries worldwide. To survive the shutdown of on-site operations, companies have had to virtualize their operations. Those that couldn’t run without some form of on-site management have been using more and more automation systems such as machines and robots to fulfill certain tasks. Let’s take a look at some of the major ways technology has helped us through the pandemic.
Robots have gotten remarkably more advanced in recent years. Powered by basic computer technology and electric actuators, they are now widely used to accomplish the “dull, dirty, and dangerous” tasks. For instance, in the retail industry, robots can be employed as cashiers, cleaners, and inventory clerks. Online retail giant Amazon uses robots to ship, sort, and pack orders in its warehouse. Even a robot in Japan can detect when a customer is not wearing a face mask. In food service, robot chefs are becoming more and more popular.
Robots can’t get sick in the way that humans can. This not only means that robot employees can’t contract the virus and spread it, but it also means that employers won’t have to shell out extra cash for a healthcare plan.
The need to keep the virus from spreading has made visits to the doctor take on a virtual platform unless on-site visits are necessary. Doctors have had to conduct consultations via video calls. Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) act as medical assistants, taking patients’ vitals, recording them, and alerting physicians when they need immediate attention. Wearable health trackers also see a growing demand as doctors can use them to monitor patient vitals remotely. These developments allow humans to practice social distancing and healthcare professionals to focus on more urgent tasks.
Robots are also being used to mass-produce COVID-19 testing kits.
Cloud technology and virtual workflow tools
Much of the workforce is now carrying out their usual tasks at home, so adjustments have to be made to ensure efficiency and productivity do not decrease. Workflow automation lets companies automate certain processes and tasks, allowing for faster, more efficient, and consistent operations. Workflow automation is available for small- and medium-sized businesses as well as larger corporations.
Cloud technology and workflow automation have also allowed companies to receive better support for their systems. Information technology (IT) support now no longer needs the attention of a human IT staff worker. Cloud IT support systems, such as IBM and ServiceNow’s recent partnership, can do all the work of a human IT worker faster and more efficiently. Machine learning also enables the machine to minimize the likelihood of similar mishaps in the future.
3D printing has been making a name for itself in the medical industry. For instance, in dentistry, it is used to create aligners, implants, crowns, and dentures. The Coronavirus pandemic was instantly met with an overwhelming demand for PPEs and other medical equipment. To combat the inevitable shortages, many top corporations and industry leaders have stepped in to help. With the NASCAR season having been canceled due to the pandemic, the stock car racing company has delegated its 3D printing technology for the production of PPEs and ventilators.
COVID-19 has sped up developments in technology. As the pandemic stretches on, these advancements and their applications in industrial and real-world settings will continue to see high demand. While these developments are remarkable and fascinating, they also accelerate the loss of many human jobs. As tech companies continue to develop smarter and more capable automation systems, we must also make efforts to reskill human workers so that they can meet the demands of a workplace that is becoming more and more modernized.