By Shak Akhtar, Global SVP Robotics Solutions, Redwood Software
A few weeks ago, we talked about the reality of ‘automation-as-a-service’ and the raft of benefits that approach can bring for customers. Today, we’re taking a wider view of Robotics-as-a-Standard and the work being done to ensure interoperable, secure and ethically-designed robotics and automation solutions.
More often than not, consideration of robotic standards focuses on physical, industrial robots – the sort you’ll find working on factory floors, rather than the kind quietly delivering this month’s financial close figures to the accounting department.
However, regardless of the robotic automation being delivered, the establishment of standards is both essential, and simply a starting point for future revisions.
Robotics-as-a-Standard is a pursuit, not a destination, regardless of the type of robots being deployed.
Emerging Robotic Standards
There’s a reason that discussions around standards end up feeling like static creations that are set in stone. The reality is that standards require constant revision over long periods of time. For example, the IEEE (Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers) has been considering robotic standards for some time already – having established a core ontology for robotics and automation back in 2015.
As capabilities have changed – and disambiguation between hardware and software robots has become increasingly necessary – a guide to key terms and concepts for intelligent process automation was subsequently introduced by the IEEE, which built on the work of the core automation ontology.
This in turn led to the IEEE’s publication of the first standard in software-based intelligent process automation (SBIPA) in November last year. This sought to more clearly define key terms such as robotic process automation (RPA), robotic desktop automation (RDA), cognitive, machine learning, and more.
The IEEE isn’t the only group working on automation standards. The Open Process Automation Group, a vendor-neutral technology consortium with aims to create standards for an automation technology framework, was formally established last year and published its first guide earlier in 2018.
Namur, a European group with a similar set of goals, has pledged to align key components of its work with that of The Open Process Automation Group.
What are standards for?
Whether establishing standards for industrial robots on factory floors, or software-based robotics in the back office, their ultimate goal is to save businesses time by ensuring interoperability, extensibility, best practices, bulletproof security – and everything else that needs to be considered when developing and deploying robotics and automation solutions.
In essence, despite standards feeling monolithic, what they represent is really the opposite – they’re the building blocks for an agile project environment that allow shortcuts to best practices, cross-industry knowledge, and so on.
They’re pooled expert insights and recommendations that allow businesses to adapt more swiftly, and to save time and money on development, testing and deployment.
Of course, Redwood Robotics™ platform customers have already been freed from the burden of robotic development and maintenance thanks to our pre-built catalog of thousands of robotic services that are simple to deploy, scale, manage and customize – and all without paying a penny for processes run in development environments.
Get in touch with Redwood to find out more.