The initiative will help the company to achieve its stated aim of designing and developing robots that connect people and technology to change the way we live.
Founded in 2014, SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. (SBRG) has, in a short space of time, become an industry leader in the field of service robotics, a sector whose global market is expected to double between now and 2030, reaching approximately $44 billion.
Drawing a distinction between SBRG and other companies, president and CEO Fumihide Tomizawa notes that though people “tend to regard the installation of robots as a solution to improve work efficiency,” it also has the potential to improve the level of service provided to customers, “to create synergies between humans and robots.”
“Our aim,” he states, “is to create a society where humans and robots can co-exist.”
And this, in a nutshell, is why the company has been developing its business as a Robot Integrator (RI), ushering in a new era that goes beyond simply making robots, to offering a suite of customized solutions.
Mr. Tomizawa takes up the thread: “As a Robot Integrator, we not only provide robotics products themselves but consulting services for businesses seeking to introduce robotic solutions. In addition, we offer business support for robot makers which encompasses robot development, mass production, quality management and maintenance support. Finally, we manage a proprietary data platform to facilitate the optimization of the global robotics business.”
In order to consolidate its position as a Robot Integrator, the group also operates a diverse network of affiliates including firms such as Smart BX which propose and provide cleaning services with DX solutions to its customers in Japan.
“Smart BX is the company that proposes and provides facility cleaning services with total DX solutions to its customers in Japan. Utilizing the experiences with Smart BX, we also provide similar services in other countries,” Mr. Tomizawa explains, “while Iris Robotics, a joint venture with Iris Ohyama, supports robot operation and maintenance by utilizing Iris’s network and knowledge.”
Looking to the future, Mr. Tomizawa is targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs,) which, unlike larger corporations, have traditionally been slow to incorporate robotics solutions into their day-to-day business practices.
“With our company,” he says, “products like AI commercial cleaning robots, such as the Whiz series and Scrubber 50 Pro, have started being used more widely in SMEs, and the same is true for tray delivery robots like Servi, Keenbot and Delivery X1.”
The market in China, the U.S. and Europe, appears particularly fertile, with DX progressing quickly in business areas such as food services and cleaning, offering potential for future growth.
And if no one can quite say where the next ten years will lead, it is clear that the field of robotics is developing at an exponential rate.