The Power and Security of Cloud Robotics

While the idea of cloud technology has existed since the 1960s, it first entered mainstream use in 2002 with the launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS). In the 20 years that have followed, this innovation has transformed communication, banking, entertainment, ecommerce, and other everyday activities. That includes the implementation of cloud robotics across a huge variety of industries.

One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of cloud robotics, however, is a concern over its security. Some companies are reluctant to pass stewardship of their data to a third party, particularly when it’s tied to the successful implementation of robotics. As a result, these companies are missing out on the superior data protection and management the cloud offers – as well as its near-limitless productive power.

What is the cloud?

“The cloud” refers to remote servers that can be accessed via the Internet to store and manage data, and run applications. These are located off-site in data centers around the world.

Using a technology called“virtualization”, cloud servers simulate a virtual computer that you can connect to with almost any device. This empowers many users to access the same files and applications from anywhere in the world and enablesSoftware-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and so on.

Is the cloud secure?

Cloud platforms are built from the ground up to deliver the highest possible security for your data. And since this is the main focus of cloud providers, they’re able to invest much more time and effort into data protection than other non-specialist companies. Providers also tend to back up their data on multiple machines, so it remains accessible even if one server encounters a problem.

Files stored on a cloud server are encrypted to make it hard for hackers to steal or change your data. They’re protected by powerful firewalls, and undergo regular security updates to offer maximum protection. Many companies even use AI tools and third-party security testing to identify vulnerabilities and improve their defenses.

The growth of cloud-based applications in robotics

There’s a limit to how much data can be stored on a single robot. That makes it incredibly difficult to run complex algorithms or apply machine learning. It also inhibits your ability to share operational data between your machines.

But when you connect your robots to the cloud over the Internet, these limitations no longer present an obstacle. The additional computational power enables you to expand the capabilities of your robots by allowing core tasks to run locally while computationally heavy tasks are run elsewhere. This opens up a huge array of possibilities for streamlining and enhancing your robotic workforce, and by extension increases your productivity.

Cloud robotics also enables faster deployment of your machines, as setup simply involves connecting them to your internal Wi-Fi. As a result, you achieve significantly faster ROI, and can scale your robotic workforce up or down at will since they use the same software. You can also deliver updates to or change the workflows of hundreds of robots in just a few clicks to optimize your operation.

Similarly, the cloud’s enhanced interconnectivity allows your robots to communicate with other devices installed in your facilities, such as conveyors, doors, scanners, and sensors.This makes it easy for your autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to map and navigate their environment, and for your team to track each machine’s location. Then, if your robot encounters an issue, a remote supervisor can offer quick and effective guidance to keep them on track.

How Plus One uses cloud robotics in the field

Our human-in-the-loop remote supervisor software, Yonder, uses the cloud to create a force multiplier for pick-and-place operations. It supports Google Cloud Platform, AWS, and Azure for easy adoption.

When a robot that uses Yonder encounters a pick exception, it contacts a Crew Chief for support. This Crew Chief can be one of your personnel or, more commonly, a Plus One team member.

The robot provides camera images to give the Crew Chief the necessary situational awareness, and the Crew Chief clicks an on-screen pick point to guide the robot’s next action. With a typical response time of only five seconds, Yonder allows a single human worker to swiftly resolve exceptions for many robots simultaneously.

But the process doesn’t end there. Yonder also uses the cloud for continuous improvement through machine learning. This occurs in two ways:

- Through the onboard system to improve autonomy

- Every time a human interacts with a robot, it uses that information to improve the system’s capability and confidence to reduce the chance of future exceptions

This algorithmic adaptation is significantly faster and more effective than requiring a software developer to analyze data and write new code or update the system.

Once Yonder has gathered sufficient performance data, it also publishes it to third-party software using an application programming interface (API). These statistics can be analyzed to identify bottlenecks and further improve the performance of your robots.

How Plus One maintains reliable cloud security

In keeping with other cloud service providers, Plus One’s most important concern is the protection and reliability of customer data.

Our servers are protected by high-end firewall systems, and we perform regular scans and enlist an independent third party for annual application penetration tests. Access to your data is restricted to specific individuals who are bound by confidentiality obligations and is also monitored and audited for compliance. We also back up all data on a daily basis and have a tested disaster recovery plan in place to ensure you never lose valuable information.

This combination of safety measures means you can have total peace of mind about the security of your data as you interconnect your facility for optimal performance.

Enhance your warehouse or logistics facility with Yonder

With superior security and near limitless computational power, cloud robotics gives you the tools to optimize your workflow and combat chronic labor shortages. And when combined with Yonder’s swift exception handling and workforce multiplying capabilities, your robots allow you to consistently meet rising customer demand with ease.

Get in touch with Plus One today to arrange a personal Yonder demonstration and discover how cloud robotics boost productivity in your warehouse or logistics facility.