What’s the Future of Automation: A Brief Analysis

The growth of technology and innovation across industries has been unprecedented. Within the last 50 years, manufacturing companies now use robots. Health fitness trackers now fit in watches while mobile devices can now perform a variety of tasks.

One of the greatest achievements of this era is automation. With it, businesses can scale up quickly, improving their revenues and reducing costs. In turn, they become more competitive.

It is also driving the popularity of electronic components, such as solid state relays. According to Markets and Markets, the demand for these relays may grow up to $1.6 billion by 2024. During this period, the compound annual growth rate will be almost 6%.

But with the coronavirus pandemic dampening markets and shutting down demands and companies, what will automation look like in the next few months? Will its need also contract or only increase?

First, the Previous Outlook

Previous reports suggest that automation will grow in the coming years. Take a look at this information from Statista. Virtually all subsectors will experience an increase in revenue, although the percentages can vary.

  • Process automation will still have the most significant share in 2021, just like it did in 2018. However, it will rise from 71.5% to 83.2% during the period.
  • Growth will also be significant for drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing. A Persistence Market Research report cited how the market value of additive manufacturing or 3D printing will increase by 21.2% CAGR from 2019 to 2029.

The World Economic Forum, meanwhile, published a comprehensive infographic showing the future of the industry. Some of the salient points include:

  • The impact of automation will be more significant and prominent by the middle of the 2020s. It will then affect at least three major industries. These are wholesale and retail, transport and storage, and manufacturing. At least 10% of the jobs in these places may be automated by 2025. After a decade, this percentage will increase to around 35% to 50%.
  • The sale of industrial robots is high, but industry costs are falling. From 2015 to 2025, it may decline by over 65%.

But the Coronavirus Pandemic Happened—Now What?

Business Human and Robot hands in handshake

The preliminary data revealed that automation is one of the few industries that may be immune to the harsh effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the need for it may only increase further.

It may be particularly attractive to manufacturing companies now forced to pivot to meet healthcare demands. Factory manufacturing and 3D printing are also playing a central role in this pandemic, and they too can look forward to growth.

Even if automation may be more expensive, at least in the short-term, businesses may still prefer it as labor may be pricier for them that are still trying to revive.

Automation, though, doesn’t exist without challenges. One of these is labor. While it may eventually displace thousands of jobs, it will demand high-skilled workers in place to operate the machines and systems. Hiring these individuals will come at a steep price, especially since there are not enough who can qualify for now.

If there’s one thing clear in the story, it’s the fact that automation is here to stay. It also doesn’t have anywhere to go but the future. Hopefully, though, it will produce new job opportunities that displaced workers can pursue.

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