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Mobile telepresence robots are mobile and increasingly autonomous, capable of engaging in social interaction and bringing embodied presence to a variety of services. In a world dominated by conventional voice and video telecommunication systems, mobile telepresence robot suppliers have managed to identify specific niches where they can add value and augment user experiences. According to ABI Research, the mobile telepresence robot industry is currently worth $163.5 million and will experience modest growth, reaching $237 million in total hardware, software and service revenue by 2023.
“The telepresence robots industry is going through a challenging phase at the moment, as the market adoption rate has been slow,” says Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “However, several players in the market have clearly managed to articulate their vision for their robotics platform, like Suitable Technologies and Ava Robotics in the enterprise market, OhmniLabs in elderly care and Blue Frog Robotics in the smart home market. The modest forecast is a reflection of the tightening target market and brand message.”
The slow market adoption has not deterred new entrants into the market either. Most of the new entrants aim to compete on both price and performance. The advancement in hardware has driven down the cost of mobile telepresence robots, despite the addition of new capabilities, such as embedded screen and autonomous localization and navigation. In the past, users had to either pay a premium for a built-in screen or resort to iPad or Android tablets for communication. Nowadays, suppliers can incorporate a high-resolution screen to the robots, while keeping the price competitive. As compared to robots that require remote control, autonomous mobility has also made its way into the mobile telepresence robot, enabling ease of use, time savings, and increased safety.
Communication security will increasingly become an important differentiation and a key component that may make or break the industry. As mobile telepresence robots become more prominent in workplaces and healthcare institutions, users are concerned with the security of communication data generated via the robots. Existing robot suppliers who have found their niche markets are working with telepresence system vendors, such as Cisco and Polycom, to provide secure and robust telecommunication. It is critical for the robot suppliers to look at the security aspects of their hardware platform - cybersecurity loopholes mean that their devices are vulnerable to malicious intent, exposing critical data, such as healthcare records and classified information, to unwanted parties.
“In the long run, mobile telepresence robots will likely evolve to mimic human behavior. However, the industry is far away from achieving this goal since mobile telepresence robots have yet to feature more sophisticated tasks such as agility of handling objects, or the ability of reasoning in challenging and unstructured environments. Once that has been achieved, the mobile telepresence robot can bring enhanced social interactions and a wider range of capabilities to its users,” concludes Su.
About ABI Research
ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture.