This article originally appeared on the XaaS Journal website.
By: Tyler Wells, North American Sales Manager at MicroTouch
While automation has been top of mind for a while, mass adoption of automation and robotic systems in primary markets is accelerating and offers promising opportunities for value-added resellers (VARs). The pandemic was a catalyst for widespread customer service automation adoption, convincing enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that it was imperative to automate routine tasks for future success.
MicroTouch research indicates that nearly a half-million automation touchscreens were deployed in 2020 worldwide, and this rate is increasing by 12% through 2022. Moreover, a staggering 88% of businesses worldwide plan to build automation to alleviate job shortage challenges, combat inflation, and drive efficiency to be better positioned for future success.
Businesses recognize that automating tasks leads to greater efficiency, productivity, and quality. Automation enhances their day-to-day workflows while machines can take over repetitive work allowing employees to focus on less mundane tasks and employ more critical work skills.
Many primary vertical markets benefit from automation. It’s especially key to a thriving hospitality industry, arguably most affected by COVID-19. The pandemic left hotel and restaurant owners dealing with mandates, closures, and a lack of employees. Usually performed via software and technology, automation can benefit hospitality businesses and their guests similarly – often by saving time, money and removing stress.
A restaurant owner in Chicago explains, “Customer service kiosks don’t call in sick. They work 24/7 and make it easier for me to focus on what we do best – serving our customers great food and quality service in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Build Your Solutions Now for A Competitive Edge
When a business states its automating processes, it may refer to implementing a kitchen display system (KDS) in their restaurant or a customer service kiosk at a hospital. While these systems certainly play a role in automation, software vendors are greatly improving these solutions with sophisticated and innovative features that are more intuitive and user-friendly, enabling more advanced automation than ever before.
Now is the time for VARs to capitalize on this trend and closely examine the markets they serve to develop the best automation and robotics systems to benefit clients and their customers. It’s a chance to capture market share and reinforce your position as a thought leader. A value-add for resellers is that the automation space requires service and maintenance, which can mean long-term customer relationships, high customer lifetime value (LTV), and a healthy recurring revenue stream.
Here are a few notable vertical markets at the forefront of automation:
Healthcare: Thanks to major advantages in robotics technology and the implementation of 5G networking, regional surgical centers can treat patients with fewer healthcare specialists. For instance, sophisticated robotics technology allows a specialized cancer surgeon in Summit Health in Morristown, NJ, to operate on a patient 1,600 miles away in Sheridan, WY. Many patients wouldn’t have had this life-saving care just a few years ago. These systems can also address the growing labor shortage in the healthcare industry, allowing a doctor to care for more patients in a wider geographic region.
Warehousing and Distribution: Automation in the warehousing and distribution industries has exploded in popularity due to COVID-19, significantly improving the speed at which processes can be completed. Many e-commerce orders are now fulfilled primarily through automated processes enabling managers to reassign employees to higher-value tasks.
Automotive and Transportation: Autonomous cars are a reality thanks to large leaps in all aspects of technology. Advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and many technologies enable innovations that wouldn’t have been achievable five years ago.
Furthermore, these advancements aren’t limited to the family car. Enterprises are exploring updating their trucking fleets to gain an edge in the market. Additionally, farmers are using completely autonomous tractors and combines guided by GPS. These businesses are directly addressing primary challenges, including regulatory compliance, driver shortage, enhancing driver performance, and growing demand for goods in remote areas.
All indications are pointing to incredible growth in automation. As you expand your business to take advantage of this growth, remember to create a strategy that will allow you to maintain your current accounts while bringing on new clients. Move slowly and deliberately to build the partnerships and expertise you need. Also, leverage industry associations for education and networking and rely on vendors, such as MicroTouch, for advice on the best components for your solution.
Investors see the potential in this market, with billions invested over the past few years. Use your industry, technology knowledge, and business know-how to help bring automation and robotics systems to market.