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Robotics vs IoT

Robotics vs IoT

The race towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has brought about many changes in robotics. Because of this, many consumers of new technology get confused by terms that tend to describe the same thing. For instance, how would you explain Robotics, IoT, AI, and machine learning to a curious 5-year old tech enthusiast? Better yet, how should you apply the 4IR knowledge to boost business profit margins and security?

This article helps you decide on where and how to utilize the emerging technologies of the 4IR. To achieve this, it walks you through the logic behind IoT and robotics. Then, it analyzes the collaboration between robotics and IoT. Let’s get started.

The Core of IoT

Simply put, the Internet of things (IoT) involves making physical devices communicate amongst themselves. For example, your smart lights communicating with your bedroom and kitchen thermostats.

To understand each other, each of the devices has sensors that send and receive data via the IoT platform. The IoT platform is either on-premises or cloud hosting middleware that receives, stores, organizes, and forwards information accordingly. To deliver messages to the appropriate destination, the IoT platform system utilizes the IP addresses of the communicating devices.

You can introduce more devices to the platform, and this adds data to the system, leading to a wider communication system. You can also control the devices remotely once you can access the IoT platform.

Understanding Robotics

Robotics entails the development of physical devices that undertake production action. The product is a robot; a device that handles tasks in manufacturing, medical, agricultural, and other industrial uses.

The main reason behind robotics is to develop machines that handle tasks that humans can’t handle well over time. Mainly, these tasks include repetitive, boring, tedious, and accident-prone tasks. For example, robot assembly helps you to improve precision and consistency in production. To achieve its mission, the arms of a robot move in x, y, z, or circular directions.

The ability of a robotic arm to achieve many directional motions is determined by degrees of freedom. Degrees of free are the number of angles/ directions that a robotic arm can comfortably achieve during an operation.

With that understanding, let’s explicitly create a definite boundary between robotics and IoT.

Comparing Robots and “Things”

There are three main similarities between robots and things (devices in IoT). Both robots and Things interact with their environment via embedded sensors, process data, and respond to requests.

However, here are the differences.

While Things work in anticipated virtual environments, robots operate in well-defined physical situations. Things apply pervasive sensing, monitoring, as well as tracking, IP addresses. Robots, on the other hand, participate in production activities, interact, and behave autonomously.

From the above comparison, you can see that robotics and IoT are technologies with bright plans for the future. So, what if we combine the two diverse strengths? Yes, it’s possible, and the result is the Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT).

IoRT enables a device to realize its monitoring power, attract knowledge from its environment, analyze data from within (cutting edge technology) as well as control other objects. This takes us to the invention of the 21st century: artificial intelligence (AI).

AI entails producing machines that learn (machine learning) and make independent decisions using data. This is the kernel of the 4IR. And here’s the more exciting part: not only does AI produce machines that work with humans, but they can also help humans make better decisions (collaborative robots).

What’s More?

Now that you understand the logic behind the fourth industrial revolution, you should invest in it if you want to share its benefits.


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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.