COVID-19 Impact on Educational Robots in Semiconductors and Electronics Industry
The COVID-19 virus originated in China in late 2019 was a massive blow to the world, spreading rampantly and hitting every nation. The largest economies have been hit and slowed down, forcing everyone to quarantine and fight for their lives. The worst-hit countries being the U.S. and followed by India, Brazil, and major European countries, which drive the world economy has caused an economic slowdown.
Economic activity among advanced economies shrank 7% in 2020 as domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance have been severely disrupted. Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink by 2.5% this year, their first contraction as a group in at least sixty years. Per capita incomes are expected to decline by 3.6%, which will tip millions of people into extreme poverty this year.
Platforms such as BYJU’S, a Bangalore-based educational technology and online tutoring firm founded in 2011, have become world’s most highly valued edtech company. Since announcing free live classes on its Think and Learn app, BYJU’s has seen a 200% increase in the number of new students using its products. Ten cent classroom, meanwhile, has been used extensively since mid-February after the Chinese government instructed a quarter of a billion full-time students to resume their studies through online platforms. This resulted in the largest “online movement” in the history of education, with approximately 730,000, or 81% of K-12 students, attending classes via the Ten cent K-12 Online School in Wuhan.
The pandemic has forced many activities to be remote, and the work from home culture is developed. Like every activity the education sector has also taken, the remote approach and e-learning have been rising in this pandemic situation. While countries are at different points in their COVID-19 infection rates worldwide, there are currently more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures due to the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching USD 18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach USD 350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.
Co-founder of Digital Bodies Maya Georgieva summarizes the change succinctly: “We’re moving from the information age to the experience age.” As every field moves into the new 4IR era, the adoption and application of the new and emerging technologies are changing expectations and opportunities for the new college graduates.
The online education market has seen a significant rise amidst the pandemic, but education is only learning or theoretical based. There is still a majority of the education, which is practical based or hands-on training, facing many difficulties. What previously had been a hands-on, manual process has often become, in this 4IR world, a technology-assisted, robotic or virtual practice. For instance, telemedicine, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) technologies are now essential tools in health care. They supplant some of the physical and manual diagnostic practices of the past. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. It’s the collective force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life.
One such training-based sector is the educational robots used to train engineering graduates in their application and working as Educational Robots range from small kits that can be built at home for kids and a great entry point for the robotics sector to the more advanced industrial robots with robust mechanisms and sophisticated software to control the movements. The robotics kit market is on the rise as the educational institutes are shifted to E-Learning and access to the institute laboratories is impossible. The robotics kit being cheap and affordable is the focus for distance education as each student can own a kit of the basic components for practice. The educational robot market and is poised to grow by 590.82 thousand units during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of almost 28%.
By 2022, an operational stock of almost 4 million industrial robots is expected to work in factories worldwide. These robots will play a vital role in automating production to speed up the post-Corona economy. The positive effects of the pandemic are the growing interest in robotics and automation. Industrial sectors and organizations that had been reluctant to invest in this technology are showing renewed interest. Additionally, the IFR has registered an increased number of media requests resulting in an all-time high in press citations. Robots will play a vital role in automating production and accelerating the post-pandemic economy. At the same time, robots are driving the demand for skilled workers. Governments and companies worldwide must focus on providing the right skills necessary to work with robots and intelligent automation systems.
BLUE FROG ROBOTICS & BUDDY, fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG, Innovation First International Inc., LEGO System AS, Make block, Modular Robotics Incorporated, PAL Robotics, Pitsco Inc., ROBOTIS Co. Ltd., and SoftBank Group Corp., are some of the major market participants.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many industries forcing remote work, which is beneficial for the IT industry but very detrimental for the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing industry equipped with remote work capabilities such as industries revolutionized by industry 4.0, were less affected comparatively. The core of industry 4.0 is the use of robots and IoT, which is new to many and the educational institutes are equipping themselves with this new technology. The educational robots that were on the rise before the pandemic have been hit, and industrial robotics is stagnant amidst which the small robotics kit industry is on the rise as it is affordable and can be acquired by individual students. Many industries are adopting automation and robotics and require a skilled workforce equipped with the same knowledge. This has given a boost and motivation to many educational institutes to adopt robotics in the curriculum.
Although the market is stagnant for the educational robots market amidst the pandemic, it is forecast to rise exponentially in the next few years.