FTSE 100 companies keeping robot plans under wraps

Just eight of the publicly listed FTSE 100 companies plan to keep their robotics plans under wrap in the next few years.

Despite robot workers and automation being at the forefront of many business conversations over the last 12 months, research by Redwood Software suggests that companies are not yet willing to reveal their plans.

Of the listed organisations, eight of them mention robotics in their most recent annual report, with just two including detailed references to both robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Only insurance company Aviva, and support services company, Capita, outline automation to be a focus for them, despite many others also implementing the technologies across their business.

As large organisations look to streamline complex processes and develop a technology-driven enterprise model to keep up with more agile start-ups, robotics have the ability to assist them, improving both productivity and efficiency of operations.

Neil Kinson, chief of staff at Redwood Software comments, ‘We know there are a lot of high-level organisations and brands across a variety of industries that are doing some sort of work with robotics and automation, so it’s surprising to not see this reflected in their annual reports. However, with business competition continuing to rise, everyone is working to gain the strategic upper hand and not give too much away.

‘Every business is undergoing some form of digital transformation, and many are using robotics as a means of achieving success when doing so. The problem, however, is that as the business case for automation continues to grow, the desire for organisations to establish themselves as innovators in robotics will only become more prominent. As companies seek to increase value by strategically streamlining core operations, we’re bound to see competing services and a variety of offers.’

Both robot workers and automation have been at their technological tipping point for the last few years, and are estimated to have contributed to around 10 per cent of GDP per capita growth in OECD countries between 1993 and 2016.

Further reading on robot workers

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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