With surging cases of the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus, countries continue to battle this virus in a race against time. With new masking requirements and potential lockdowns popping up around the world, the feeling that this would all be over once enough people were vaccinated is slipping away. Companies are delaying their return-to-the-office plans once again, extending the “end” of the virus era potentially into 2022.
In a worse-case scenario, we could be moving into a world where potential new variants, or even a mutation of the virus that is resistant to current vaccines, could pop up at any time. This is really bad news for anyone thinking that we would be returning to normal in our workplaces, public spaces and other large areas where people gather.
If there’s a silver lining to any of this, it means that the market for disinfection robots will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Market research firms have already noted forecasts predicting demand to rise over the next few years, and today it was the International Federation of Robotics, which concluded that unit sales of cleaning-based robots (disinfection and robotic floor scrubbers) would achieve a 41% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next three years.
Tons of robotic companies are now in this market space, including companies that have an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) as a base, with the addition of disinfection equipment. The most popular type of robot seems to be ones that use ultraviolet light (UVC) to handle the disinfection, but we’ve also run across systems that use sprayers, mainly for outdoor cleaning purposes. It’s quite easy for a company that makes an AMR to adjust the robot for disinfection purposes instead of others, such as inventory scanning, materials handling, or even telepresence. Additional startups are joining the scene as well, based on research projects that likely were a response to the needs spurred by the pandemic.
It’s also clear that this is a task well suited for robots – cleaning and disinfecting is not a particularly fun job for a human – it’s repetitive, and quite boring (just ask my kids). Continued labor shortages and job turnover in the commercial cleaning staff will likely lead many companies to look at a robotics solution – especially those that need to clean large areas such as public spaces, airports, shopping centers, schools, and hospitals, to name a few.
If you are in this boat, a great place to start will be with our latest Robotics Data report, “Disinfection Robots: Sanitizing the World, One Room at a Time…” The report includes details on more than 60 different companies now offering semi-autonomous (think remote control) and fully autonomous robotic disinfection systems. It’s a steal at $199, so take advantage of our special offer today.