The idea of robots as important elements in the business world may conjure a science-fiction view of the future. But the fact is that many businesses from a wide range of industries rely on robots to perform basic tasks that are either too dangerous, laborious or time-consuming for humans to perform.
One of the most common tasks robots perform for businesses is product assembly in an industrial space. Manufacturing robots handle tasks such as welding, sorting, assembly and pick-and-place operations with greater speed and efficiency than human workers could ever hope to achieve. The high strength-to-weight ratio of electric motors makes industrial robots a reliable option for tasks that require strength, agility and consistency. Industrial robots also reduce the risk of workplace accidents and ensure greater control over product quality. They also are able to work in environments that are too extreme or unhealthy for humans.
Another area where businesses use robots is in their marketing to consumers. Technology companies produce robots to demonstrate new devices or inventions and to create a sense of innovation and progress. Robots are part of interactive displays at trade shows where they compete with more traditional marketing tools for attendees' attention.
Every business needs some form of telecommunications infrastructure to communicate with suppliers and customers. Robots can simplify a business' call center and handle incoming phone or Internet traffic to keep the channels of communication open and running smoothly. Automated calling robots place prerecorded calls, including appointment reminders and customer satisfaction surveys. Likewise, an automated call center uses a programmable interface to greet callers and direct them to the appropriate information or department.
Robots also perform inventory tasks for businesses with large warehouses or sorting facilities. Inventory robots are essentially driver-less vehicles that can navigate a warehouse and select specific pieces of merchandise, bringing them to employees who enter product requests into an automated system. Inventory robots save time and also reduce the likelihood of human error that can cause inconsistencies in inventory tracking.
A final class of robots used in business are those that entertain audiences. Robots and robotic displays appear in storefronts, in theme park attractions and in television and film programs. Some of these robots are skillfully crafted to resemble real people while others represent fantastical creatures or mechanical robots from a fictional world. Robot characters populate science fiction narratives while special effects robots endure hazardous conditions that would be unsafe for human or animal actors.