Robots in the Global Education Industry

Published on 20 Jul, 2017

Global Education Industry Analysis

With talented teachers in short supply and a growing demand for educational institutions that are geared for the future, the global educational robots market is expected to be worth USD 6.05 bn by 2020, boosted by significant VC investments and the expansion of several robotics start-ups in an already competitive space.

For over three decades now, consumer robots have been an integral part of human life, either in the form of remotely controlled industrial tools or personal assistance robots. Companies designing robots are not just designing robots for performing tasks in factories or in the household, robots are being developed today that are capable of seamlessly and intuitively connecting and interacting with humans. Through the application of new technological advancements, robotics companies are looking beyond the traditional realm of benign household cleaning robots, furthering the fields of robotic personal assistants, advanced toys, as well as educational robots.

There has been great progress in education systems, curriculums, methodologies for teaching delivery, as well as learning models over the past decade, which has also seen the emergence of several market players. In order to equip students with the skills they need to survive (and thrive) in the dynamic competitive environment of our age, fostering creativity and innovative thinking has become crucial. Educational institutions across the world are also incorporating international learning models and standards in order to improve the quality of education by deploying educational robots in schools. 

Given their ease of installation and simplified systems that can integrate diverse education curricula without a fuss, educational robots are catching on fast in the global education sector, with a growing number of educational institutions implementing robotic technologies. There has been a marked change in the nature of education at almost every level, especially in elementary schools, K-12 schools, and graduate universities. Such institutes have been integrating robotic courses into their curriculums in diverse fields such as mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, communications, control systems, and many more.

Countries such as Germany, the UK, South Korea, Japan, the US, and China are strengthening their K-12 education sector using robotics technology. Major robotics companies have been quick to move in on the opportunities in the fast-growing market for educational robots.

Major Manufacturers of Educational Robots

Countries               

Companies

France
Aldebaran, Robopec, Robosoft
Germany
Festo Didactic , KUKA, Neobotix
Korea
Cohort System, Rainbow, Isan Solution
Portugal
IdMind
Spain
Minirobots, Pal Robotics, Robotnik
Switzerland
Thymio
Taiwan
GeStream Technology, Shin-Kong-Security
US
Barobo, Coroware, Beatbots

Source: Technavio

To strengthen their infrastructure and cope with demand for hi-tech institutions, countries across the globe are investing heavily in their education sector. The majority of educational institutes are grappling with a lack of qualified educational professionals however, prompting them to consider educational robots as a promising alternative, thereby ensuring optimal assistance in student learning.

The education sector isn’t alone in employing robotic solutions either. Service robots (including those for entertainment and leisure, household, and educational applications) have become a norm, especially among developed countries such as the US and Japan. Such robots are being deployed to educate the next generation of capable individuals, leveraging the benefits of science and engineering to make learning more immersive and interactive.

Number of Deployed Robots in Service Sector 2014-2015 (‘000 of Units)

The educational robots market witnessed tremendous growth in 2015; shipment values almost doubled from the previous year. This was driven primarily by increasing investment from educational institutions in robotics technologies as well as an increased drive to build robots that are fully integrated with education curricula.

Global Educational Robots Market 2015-2020 (USD bn)

As per Technavio, the global educational robots market was valued USD 2.29 bn in 2015, and it’s expected to reach USD 6.05 bn by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 21.5%.

Growth in the educational robots market is also expected to be boosted by the expansion of several robotics start-ups that are constantly rolling out new ideas, innovations, and technologies.

 Average VC Funding to Start-up Companies, by Category, 2015

These start-ups are flexible, well-funded by VCs, and expectedly, engaging in intense market competition.

Historic VC Funding in Education and Programmable Robots (USD mn)

The steep initial investment needed in order to design and develop complex robotic components is the only major hurdle for growth in the global educational robots market. The creation of such cutting-edge components involves significant investments in terms of development and testing before any robots are deemed fit for commercialization, which translates to a lot of time passing before companies, and investors, get any appreciable ROI for their efforts.

There are also concerns about safety and effective fail-safes. Educational robots will inevitably involve human interaction and use by children.  Safety concerns persist, especially from parents that are wary of the deployment of new technologies both in their children’s schools as well as homes – technology that could be potentially fatal if not handled properly. Wary consumers that are scrupulous about safety standards may not take to robots, educational or otherwise, due to the absence of established safety standards.

In the long-term however, these concerns and hurdles will be mitigated by advancements in technology as well as growing adoption, albeit in controlled phases. The growing number of robotic kits across the research and education sectors will also fuel growth, both technical and commercial, of the global programmable education robots market, as they provide a platform for learning and experimenting with robotic technologies by individuals without professional robotics expertise.


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