More than 3 years ago, I wrote a IDC Community post, “Using Robots to Curb Labor Shortage in Chinese Manufacturing” highlighting a factory in China that replaced 90% of the people in the factory with automation and robots. In that case the workforce was reduced from 650 employees down to only 60 people, those remaining were doing drastically different work than those jobs that were replaced. The jobs shifted from manual labor to oversight, maintenance, and support of the automation and robotics systems.
Still think wide-scale robotics is the stuff of science fiction? Think again: global spending on robotics and drones solutions will total $103.1 billion in 2018 alone, a 22.1% increase over 2017. By 2021, IDC predicts that spending will double, accounting for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.4%.