• AI
  • IoT
  • Automation
  • Building Automation Systems
  • COVID-19

Pandemic Accelerates the Commercialization of Facility Managing Robots

Young Hoon Kim
Jun 01, 2021


The commercial real estate industry is paying attention to robotic solutions. Robots are one of the emerging technologies that will likely transform the facility management business, as described by the real estate service provider CBRE Group. The pandemic has reshaped the commercial estate industry and accelerated robot applications for managing facilities such as hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, and others.

Growing Adoption for Facility Operating Robots

The pandemic has drawn government support where needs are desperate, like in hospitals. Ultraviolet disinfection robots, manufactured by the Danish company UVD Robots, have been deployed to prevent viral spread and healthcare-associated infections. The European Commission deployed this disinfection robot as part of an European Union-wide plan to curb the coronavirus outbreak in hospitals across Europe. So far, 31 hospitals have benefited, including Cork University Hospital.

People expect cleaner, more sterile spaces after the pandemic, which increases demand for robotic cleaning equipment like floor vacuums. Industry players formed partnerships to develop multitasking robots to create customer value. For instance, Hong Kong-based Avalon SteriTech manufactures disinfecting robots and Japan-based SoftBank Robotics manufactures robot vacuum cleaners. The companies have launched Whiz Gambit, a multitasking robot that vacuums floors and sterilizes spaces.

There is a labor shortage in the US associated with the pandemic. To fill server positions, a restaurant in Hollywood, Florida, hired three robots instead of human staff. The robots still need to work with human staff to take orders and other processes, but they are handy at carrying multiple plates. Robot servers are a perfect solution for social distancing and contactless serving.

Stakeholders Should Stay Ahead of Technical Innovation

As an emerging business in the commercial real estate market, robots have helped manage facility operations and the pandemic has accelerated robot commercialization. OEMs in the robot industry that do not want to fall behind in this newly emerging market should stay ahead of technological advances. Local governments are supporting robotic solutions to reduce the health crisis, industry players are building partnerships to stay ahead in the market, and customers are actively seeking breakthroughs to alleviate labor shortages.

This thriving new market brings numerous business opportunities, such as investment in robot-focused startups, mergers and acquisitions in the robot tech space, and services needed to support pilot projects. Newcomers in this industry need to build a market entry strategy first. For additional information about robot applications in occupied buildings, see Guidehouse Insights’ report, Robots for Commercial Buildings.