The Olympics will allow Japan to demonstrate its robotics capabilities and show us the future of sporting events, says GlobalData

From drones delivering food and drink to field robots recovering javelins, Olympics viewers worldwide are about to see the capabilities of Japanese robot manufacturers and think: “Hey, why don’t I have one of those?!”. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData notes that robotics is one of the key technologies that will impact business and society in the coming years, and this pandemic-hit, spectator-less Games will offer the opportunity for Japan to showcase its specialism.

Filipe Oliveira, Senior Analyst in the Thematic Team at GlobalData, comments: “The Tokyo Games will prove just how useful robots can be. Robotics is a fast-growing industry, and, by showcasing new technology at the Olympics, the Japanese Government can remind the world that it remains a technology powerhouse.”

Like other industries, robotics production was affected by COVID-19, with revenue for the field robots market looking rather flat in 2020. However, some categories performed well during the pandemic. Sales of personal robots, for example, increased by 11% last year.

Oliveira continued: “Growth in both field and personal robotics is expected to accelerate in the 2020s. GlobalData forecasts both categories to grow at a double-digit rate for the rest of the decade. Several companies in these segments are Japanese and will benefit from increased exposure at the Games.”

Charlotte Newton, Thematic analyst at GlobalData, said: “The Games were always likely to showcase robotics, given Japan’s track record of showing off its tech skills at past events, but the situation folowing COVID-19 offers a unique opportunity for Japan’s robots to shine. Much like everyday society, sporting events have turned to technology to keep the attending public safe and help with daily operations over the past year

“Further, it is unlikely that the Paris Games will want to take a step back to an all-human workforce in 2024. The future of sporting events is robotics.”

Sam Holt, Thematic Analyst and co-author of a soon-to-be-published report on Japan Tech, said: “The Japanese Cabinet Office has, in the last few years, been pressing its vision of Society 5.0, which merges the cyber and physical worlds. Robotics plays a big part. The technology we will see on show will react to the real world and augment it.”

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