18 February 2015
US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
Robotic companions for the elderly in Korea
Korea ranks fourth in the deployment of industrial robots across the globe. It is on the fast track to have the world’s largest stock of robots by 2016. Korea is also home to 6 million people above the age of 65. Korean innovators are now bringing robots into the homes of the elderly. Spire Research and Consulting shared its insights, published on the US Consumer Electronics Association’s blog.
The robotics industry in Korea reached a total revenue of KRW2.1 trillion in 2012 (approximately USD2 billion) – a two-fold increase in size since 2009. More than 600 domestic robot manufacturing companies operate within the country, employing more than 34,000 people. The government plans to spend KRW7 trillion (approximately USD6.3 billion) by 2018 in this industry.
At the same time, Korea’s silver market will grow to eight million seniors by 2020. There are many companies catering to the unmet needs of the elderly. GoCart – a Korean-made robot – started distributing meals in elder care facilities in the U.S. since October 2014.
Quite a few robots have been integrated to existing devices such as a Galaxy Tab and Ipads – mounted on an external structure. A typical example of this concept is Furo-I – launched by Korea’s future robot – with a parrot-shaped controller to receive instructions from a detachable touchscreen tablet.
On the other hand, people are still sceptical about giving up too much control to artificial intelligence. Some factors that deter consumers from purchasing robots include technical faults and total expenditure. As a result, industry players have not yet generated adequate sales volume and still need to rely on the government to fund research and development initiatives.
The good news is that Korean household robot manufacturers are well placed to succeed in the coming years, as robots continue to get up close and personal within the human household.
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Spire Research and Consulting
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Spire Research and Consulting is the leading research consultancy in global emerging markets. Spire's competitive advantage lies in its ability to deliver actionable intelligence on the external business environment in support of its clients’ strategic decision-making in marketing and business development. Spire's clients include 50 Global Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies in 15 countries. For more information, please visit www.spireresearch.com.