Today InOrbit announces the release of Data Backfill, adding to our growing list of RobOps tools designed to address specific challenges companies face when managing robot fleets at scale. This is another piece of the puzzle for how to maintain end-to-end observability under even the most demanding conditions, eliminating gaps in collected data by reconstructing a robot’s operating history through offline data saved and backfilled upon reconnection.
This past year saw major changes for InOrbit, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Through experiment-led development, lots of trial and error, and some great connections with our friends and family in the robotics community (that’s all of you), we’ve made our platform more accessible, and robust for our users.
As 2021 comes to a close we are taking time to look back and reflect, if only for a few minutes on the year that was, and highlight some of our successes.
The value of early feedback in any product development – including software – is, well, invaluable.
Software development has evolved over the last 20 years to allow for more incremental or iterative development, to help eliminate the problems of delivering a product that a customer doesn’t want. We all know software engineers who have suffered from spending monumental time and effort on creating something that ends up being the wrong product, tool or app.
Individual instruments in the hands of a professional musician can sound wonderful, but when many different instruments come together in an orchestra or band the result can be awe-inspiring and magical.
We think the same thing can be said about robots and robot operations (RobOps). Individually, a single robot can perform some pretty amazing tasks to help human co-workers with their jobs. But when you add several robots and then add different types of robots to the system performing different tasks, the end result can be an amazing workflow that exponentially scales efficiency for a company.
Today’s cloud was made possible by virtualization technology, which creates a software-based representation of hardware equipment. Virtual machines, such as those popularized by VMWare and the hypervisor technology that manages VM execution, make it possible to run different software on the same machine.
In the beginning...
I entered the robotics world 10 years ago, thanks to an opportunity from Willow Garage and its outstanding people. I joined them from the world of enterprise software with the goal of helping to bring robotics research into the world with production-ready solutions.
I fell in love with the humanity and professional excellence of the robotics engineers I worked with, and the interesting challenge of creating tools to make our lives easier.
It was really great to be part of the A3 AMR & Logistics conference this year.
The conference had the usual good presentations and panels, but the exhibitor’s floor was where robot and technology manufacturers met to discuss the latest technologies and innovations in this nascent field of robotics. This conference in particular, being held in Memphis, saw the almost overshadowing presence of FedEx in attendance. But through the different panels and visitors on the exhibition floor, it became crystal clear to us that the “end user” is definitely considering operations as they think about how to deploy diverse robotics technologies in the field. This confirms that our drive to promote effective RobOps is working.
The topic of interoperability was a part of several different presentations this year, which showed a growing understanding from enterprises and robot vendors about how interoperability is the next important step to take the industry to the next level.
It’s been a few days since we announced the Free Edition of the InOrbit platform, and the reaction has been amazing. We’ve already seen a big jump in signups, and we have even more announcements coming up.
In case you haven’t heard, people can now use InOrbit to manage an unlimited number of robots for free. Unlike other solutions, there are no limited trial periods, no hidden fees. Free. For real.
However, many people have asked us, with a clear note of concern: “Why would you do that? Didn’t you just give your business away?”
So here I wanted to address all those questions and share the 5 reasons why we chose to go free.
Modern robots are awesome, but they’re also infamous for getting into compromising situations. Sometimes, it’s hilarious and other times, catastrophic. Robots have been seen steering into ponds, getting stuck next to trash cans, rolling into retail store fitting rooms or suddenly catching fire. Some people may think robots just don’t work, but the reality is more nuanced: Robots work great most of the time — until they don’t.
Robot operations (RobOps) is not just about making sure robots and humans work well together to complete tasks. It’s also about getting robots and other robots to work well together, especially as an increasing number of companies deploy different robot systems to handle multiple tasks.