The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on society, bringing with it an array of challenges. Many businesses have been catapulted into digital transformation, particularly those in the hospitality sector, as lockdown restrictions threatened to bring them to a complete standstill.
To continue operating, it was vital to adapt and adopt a digital-first approach. Many deployed apps and online platforms for ordering and created takeaway options, as a way of serving customers remotely.
However, as customers return to restaurants and hotels around the world, these businesses face a new challenge – a lack of staff to cater to the rising footfall.
In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office has recorded a 23.6% fall in the number of employees in the hospitality industry since pre-pandemic times. This is significant when customer service is the key benefactor of success.
Working with Hyundai Robotics, we are hoping to plug the employment gap with autonomous service robots.
Disinfecting tables, cleaning the floor, and serving drinks, autonomous service robots are an effective remedy for any business struggling with staff shortages. This also means their human colleagues can now focus on the most critical part of the service experience – human interaction.
Intelligent, thinking robots
To ensure that the interaction between robots, staff and customers is successful, all service robots will be equipped with 5G. This can elevate a robot capable of simple tasks, into an intelligent, collaborative, and adaptive team member.
Let’s start at the beginning.
To function, a robot must have an objective. However, assigning individual tasks, particularly to larger groups of robots, would be time-consuming for business owners.
Thanks to the 5G module placed inside the robot, comprehensive commands are sufficient to action a fleet of robots, who can sensibly coordinate with each other and delegate tasks logically.
In addition, all service robots are equipped with sensors and cameras that enable them to collect environmental data. The speed and low latency of 5G enables the lightning-fast transmission of this data to tiny data centres where it is processed immediately. The robots can then use this data to navigate crowded environments, avoiding tables, and even spillages.
It also unlocks the ability for service robots to transfer knowledge and effectively work in a team with other robots to support their human counterparts.
If the dynamic service environment becomes too unpredictable, businesses can always intervene at any time and react appropriately.
With the ability to react in real-time, service robots can support us in any industry suffering from staff shortages. Let’s look at healthcare.
Facing immense pressure due to staff shortages, both the hospital or care home environment would benefit greatly from autonomous service robots.
Whilst 5G-connected ambulances report critical patient data prior to arrival, service robots can prepare the wings by disinfecting surfaces and ensuring good air quality, and directing 5G-connected drones to transport the necessary medicines at high-speeds from one end of the hospital to the other.
This frees up healthcare professionals to focus on those most critical casualties, potentially helping to save lives.
Rise up to the challenge
In addition to service robots, industrial robots from Hyundai will also be equipped with 5G modules, meaning there are even more exciting prospects on the horizon.
For instance, look at Ford’s ‘Factory of the Future’, where our 5G mobile private network (MPN) is improving the production process and minimising downtime, thanks to its reliability, security, and ultra-low latency. Now, using Mixed Reality, engineering teams can communicate across the globe and share best practice at the click of a button.
In the future, industrial robots will be able to do some of this work, effectively working together, aided by their ability to collect, and process over half a million pieces of data per minute.
Across industries, more and more businesses can use machines to improve efficiency and tackle emerging challenges head on, thanks to the new capabilities unlocked by 5G connectivity.