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2019 State of the World for Robot-as-a-service Companies

brave, new world of robots-as-a-service
Brave, New World of Robots-as-a-Service
Robot as a service (RaaS) is fast becoming a necessary de facto offering for robotics companies, particularly in industries that are traditionally labor-dependent and sensitive to minimal labor wages. These industries include the cleaning services, safety and security services, delivery services, logistics and warehouse operations, and manufacturing operations.

In a nutshell, what is Robot-as-a-Service?

A complete robot-as-a-service solution goes beyond the simple leasing of industrial or service robotic hardware. It offers users continuous value while charging users based on what they use or need. The continuous value generation comes from the combination of a service app, a service cloud and a generally available fleet of robots that can be deployed as-needed.
robots-as-a-service solution model
General Robot-as-a-Service Solution
Image free for re-use under CC-BY 4.0, with attribution to https://insights.rlist.io
Users access the service app, either on web browsers or mobile devices or both, to request for robotic services and obtain data reports on their usage. The service cloud acts as a co-ordination center for monitoring the general availability of robotic resources and for scheduling, dispatching and instructing robots to their tasks and locations. Under a RaaS service level agreement (SLA), it is the responsibility of the service provider to maintain and ensure the operational readiness and uptime of the robotic fleet.

How users benefit from Robot-as-a-Service offerings

Under the Robot-as-a-Service model, customers do not need to make upfront investments to purchase the robots and maintain them as assets that incur maintenance costs and depreciate over time. Instead, they purchase robotic services from RaaS companies and are billed on a recurring basis, based on usage, time or other metrics. The benefits to the customers are tremendous:
  • Re-allocation of freed-up capital to other projects
  • Ability to account recurring RaaS costs as operating expense
  • No risk from asset deterioration and obsolescence
  • No costs arising from maintenance of equipment/cloud/apps

Why robotic companies pursue the Robot-as-a-Service model

One example of a RaaS provider is Avidbots, which provides its floor-scrubbing Neo robots at US$4-6 per hour (source).
For robotics companies, RaaS reduces friction in the sales justification process and enables them to have a clear, sharp and compelling edge over traditional robotics company that require customers to make hefty upfront purchases. In addition, customers that have accepted and deployed the RaaS solution are generally less willing to switch to another robotics service provider, thus enabling robotics companies to strengthen their market share.
  • Lower friction in sales process
  • Competitive edge over companies that sell robotics solutions as CAPEX model.
  • Accelerate and strengthen market share

But can they really afford it?

Geek+ Robotics is an example of a RaaS provider that has expanded its fleet and operations rapidly in the warehouse and logistics market, with more than 7000 robots worldwide across over 200 projects. (source).
Should every robotic company start rushing out a RaaS offering now? Not so fast - in the RaaS model, the downside is that the hefty, upfront costs of building up a robotic fleet (and risks of maintaining the fleet) are transferred from the customers to the robotics companies. Robotics companies intending to start a RaaS offering must ask these hard questions:
  • Financial capital to produce a robotic fleet?
  • Financial resources to scale up teams/operations for a RaaS strategy?
  • Cash-flow financing to sustain operating costs until RaaS turns in net positive income?
For more insights, read our other report on 2019 Robot-as-a-Service Business Models and Monetization.

Who and where are the RaaS Players today?

Robot as a Service, or RaaS, offerings compete very well in industries that are traditionally labor-dependent and sensitive to minimal labor wages. These industries include the cleaning services, safety and security services, delivery services, warehouse operations and manufacturing operations. For each industry, we will look at the industry-specific RaaS companies and the types of robots used in the industry below:
1CLEANING ROBOTS-AS-A-SERVICE
cleaning robots-as-a-service
Cleaning Robot-as-a-Service Solutions
There are at least 10 cleaning robot-as-a-service offerings in the global market, providing commercial floor cleaning/scrubbing, window/facade cleaning or room cleaning services. The RaaS pricing models range from hourly fees (US$4-$6 per hour) to monthly charges (US$215 to 1.5K per month).
list of cleaning robot-as-a-service companies
List of Cleaning Robot-as-a-Service Companies (source)
Robotic companies in the commercial floor cleaning segment include Avidbots (Canada), Lionsbot (Singapore) and Softbank Robotics (Japan). Room-cleaning/housekeeping RaaS companies include Peanut Robotics (USA) and Mira Robotics (Japan). Window/facade cleaning RaaS companies include KITE Robotics (Netherlands), Skyline Robotics (Israel) and Wall Robotics (Finland).
Find out more about these companies and their RaaS business models in this list of cleaning robot-as-a-service companies worldwide.

2SECURITY ROBOTS-AS-A-SERVICE
security robots-as-a-service
Security Robot-as-a-Service Solutions
In cities where the security workforce is increasingly costly and aging, hiring and ensuring adequate security is becoming a serious challenge. Security robot-as-a-service (RaaS) enables companies and security contractors to fill gaps in their security coverage and yet avoid having to invest in high, upfront capital expenditure. The general security RaaS model is on monthly rental basis, with each robot costing easily from US$1.5K per month to as high as US$10K per month.
list of security robot-as-a-service companies
List of Security Robot-as-a-Service Companies (source)
Companies offering security robot-as-a-service solutions include Cobalt Robotics (USA), Knightscope (USA), SMP Robotics (USA), OTSAW Digital (Singapore) and Ademco (Singapore). Find out more about these security RaaS companies and their business models in this list of security robot-as-a-service companies worldwide.

3DELIVERY ROBOTS-AS-A-SERVICE
delivery robots-as-a-service
Delivery Robot-as-a-Service Solutions
Autonomous delivery vehicles (ADVs) can travel on public roads and are capable of handling city-range or town-range deliveries (5-20km radius). Companies in this segment include Robomart (USA), nuro (USA), AutoX (USA) and UDelv (USA).
list of delivery robot-as-a-service companies
List of Delivery Robot-as-a-Service Companies (source)
Local delivery robots make deliveries within 5-6km radius (typically using sidewalks and small-roads) and generally target local communities and campuses. RaaS companies in this segment include Starship (USA), HelloWorld (Malaysia), Kiwibot (USA) and Marble (USA). On-premise delivery robots help to deliver food or carry packages within a premise, such as a restaurant, hotel or hospital. RaaS companies in this space include general-purpose carrier robots such as Aethon TUG or Savioke Relay and specific waiter robots such as the Pudubot and Keenon Peanut Waiter.
Find out more about these delivery RaaS companies and their specific business models in this list of delivery robot-as-a-service companies worldwide.

4FACTORY ROBOTS-AS-A-SERVICE
factory robots-as-a-service
Factory Robot-as-a-Service Solutions
With global initiatives on smart manufacturing, such as Industry 4.0 and "Made in China 2025", in high gear, one of the key trends in factory automation is the adoption of Cobots (or Collaborative Robots) and a diversity of robot types for different stages of manufacturing. There are several variants of the pay-as-you-use model here - from monthly rental (from Mobile Industrial Robots MiR and Ready Robotics), to pay per productive hour (from Hirerobotics and HAHN RobShare) to pay per intelligent action (from Kindred).
list of factory automation robot-as-a-service companies
List of Factory Automation Robot-as-a-Service Companies (source)
Find out more about these factory automation RaaS companies and their specific business models in this list of factory automation robot-as-a-service companies worldwide.

5WAREHOUSE ROBOTS-AS-A-SERVICE
warehouse robots-as-a-service
Warehouse Robot-as-a-Service Solutions
Warehouse management is one of the major industries that is being automated at a blazing speed - from fetching items around the warehouse, to sorting and shelving , to picking and packing, and eventually shipping off. Picker-as-a-service players include InVia Robotics, Magazino and Geek+ Robotics. Warehouse AMRaaS (Autonomous Mobile Robot as a Service) players include 6 River, Fetch Robotics, Locus Robotics and Ronavi Robotics.
list of warehouse automation robot-as-a-service companies
List of Warehouse Automation Robot-as-a-Service Companies (source)
Find out more about these warehouse automation RaaS companies and their specific business models in this list of warehouse automation robot-as-a-service companies worldwide.

Quick Industry Links (TLDR)


Conclusion

In this year-end report for 2019, we have compiled and looked at the state of Robot-as-a-Service markets as well as the up-and-coming players. We will continue to update this special report next year for 2020.
You may also like to continue to our other robotics report - 2019 Robot-as-a-Service Business Models.

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