News

Is COVID-19 introducing a new age of automation?

April 1, 2020
Cat McLean

author:

Is COVID-19 introducing a new age of automation?

If there’s a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic it might be a growing need for, and therefore development of better technology.  

If there’s a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic it might be a growing need for, and therefore development of better technology.  

EY recently surveyed 2900 executives from 45 countries about their response to COVID-19.  41% said they’re now preparing to speed up automation for a post-pandemic world. 

The majority of surveyed companies had been planning major digital transformation before the pandemic hit. 

“Business leaders are seeing their transformation plans paused or slowed currently. With these plans set to restart, possibly with added energy, once the situation stabilises, executives will have to make faster moves to reimagine, reshape and reinvent their business and create long-term value,” said Steve Krouskos, vice chairman of EY. 

JD, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, started testing autonomous delivery robots during Wuhan’s lockdown. It’s also running automated 24/7 warehouses to cope with demand from people who can’t leave their homes to pick up daily essentials. 

People get the jitters when they hear ‘automation’. Given 36 million jobs in the US alone could be automated, at the surface, the worry looks warranted. But the very same jitters have occurred since the Industrial Revolution when workers worried machines would completely replace them. Instead, the existing jobs changed and the market evolved. 

Consider the washing machine, for example. When the home washing machine was introduced, thousands of women employed in laundries lost their jobs. But this freed them to take on more skilled work while lessening the burden of domestic work. 

What if we thought about how automation could help workers focus on their human strengths and development of specialised skills? 

“There are cases where automation will replace people, but the true potential of robotics is in supplementing our skills. We should stop trying to replace and start thinking more creatively about how to use technology to achieve our goals,” said Guang-Zhong Yang, founding editor of the scientific journal Science Robotics.

At least for the foreseeable future, humans and computers will work as a hybrid team that can learn from one another.

In recessions, humans become more expensive as revenues go down but businesses can create more resilience through incorporating automated processes that increase company productivity as well as the safety, and satisfaction of workers rather than replacing them. 

One example is health. Victoria is using communications platforms to communicate with people in self-isolation due to COVID-19. People can directly update their health status via the platforms so healthcare professionals can look at the data and make better decisions. 

Automation processes can assist doctors and nurses to monitor vital signs while helping lower-skilled workers like cleaners, orderlies, and food service staff to manage hygiene and delivery of food and medication to hospitalised patients. This could limit the exposure of workers to infection. 

Also areas such as parcel delivery is experiencing a lot of pressure at the moment that could force it to rethink its use of technology and automate many processes to make everything more efficient. 

Parcel delivery of medicines and other essentials is another huge opportunity for automation, especially now that people are all either partially or fully restricted to their homes. AusPost introduced parcel lockers in 2012 which are now proving very useful for to limit community transmission of illness while keeping postal workers in employment. 

Most parcel delivery companies still drop parcels off at the recipient’s door, but this is both not safe or efficient, especially not when trying to avoid contagion. 

Additionally, the person might not be home and would have to pick up the parcel somewhere else, resulting in double-handling and extra driving time.

TZL Limited is a company that is already a frontrunner in this area, with their innovative Smart lockers that allow a parcel to be tracked every step of the way until being placed in a secure and electronically controlled smart parcel locker. The buyer could then collect their parcel at their own convenience. 

Established in Australia in 2011 and in the US in 2014, the company has invested over $65 million into product development. Over that time, they secured 180 patents in 27 fields.

R&D spend has been reduced, operating costs minimised while TZ’s profit margin increased to 50% plus, the company is on the right path to profitability.

While many companies are moving into the IoT space now, TZ was an early mover. This presents a competitive advantage. As tech startups are still developing their solutions, TZ has perfected its products and can now devote all of its energy into growth.

TZ is a key player in the global intelligent corporate locker market. Some of the biggest and most security-conscious companies in the world have already invested in TZ systems. Their clients include Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, UPS, Nike, IBM, Singapore Post, Westpac, Suncorp, Samsung, and Apple.

To stay informed on TZ Limited, click here to receive news, updates and invites to online investor briefings. 

 

Reach Markets have been engaged by TZL to assist with private investor management.

 


General Advice Warning

Any advice provided by Reach Markets including on its website and by its representatives is general advice only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs, and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. This might mean that you need to seek personal advice from a representative authorised to provide personal advice. If you are thinking about acquiring a financial product, you should consider our Financial Services Guide (FSG) including the Privacy Statement and any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Prospectus (if one is available) to understand the features, risks and returns associated with the investment.

Please click here to read our full warning.

Live Investor Briefing

Discover the key projects shaping the iron ore industry

Leave a comment