December 21, 2023

How Robotics and IoT Help Address Labor Challenges

Robotics Automation and IoT technology increasing productivity and efficiency across industries

Labor shortages continue to persist across the globe. According to Manpower Group, the global talent shortage, as of 2023, is at 77% which is nearly double the rate in 2015 and equates to 4 in 5 employers reporting it difficult to find skilled labor. 

Nearly every industry is experiencing labor shortages, some more severe than others. The reasons range from large numbers of working adults retiring to ramifications of the pandemic (droves of women leaving the workforce) to a labor force with changing ideals (more flexibility) when it comes to work. 

Labor shortages cost companies millions of dollars in missed revenue each year. According to a Korn Ferry study, there will be a global talent shortage of 85 million people by 2030 that could cost companies “$8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues.” 

For these reasons, industries are continually seeking innovative solutions to address the challenges posed by an evolving labor landscape. The integration of robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a viable solution helping to revolutionize how businesses operate and navigate the complexities of workforce management. 

Robotics & IoT Help Fill Roles 

Robotics and IoT play an integral role in addressing labor challenges. These technologies work in tandem to drive efficiency, productivity, and sustainability across various sectors.

Robots help to address labor shortages by automating repetitive and mundane tasks. This not only helps ensure the job is completed when staff shortages persist, but it also frees up available staff to focus on other more highly skilled tasks. 

Similarly, IoT helps in that through IoT-enabled devices, like equipment with fleet management software or wearables, managers and leaders can more easily identify when work is not being completed at job sites or address any issues with equipment or projects that may arise. In the past, these problems would have persisted for longer periods causing downtime or stalling projects. 

Another benefit of these technologies comes in the form of Cobots, collaborative robots, that work alongside human workers, sharing tasks in a collaborative and complementary manner. 

In the cleaning industry, for example, cobots like Cobi 18, an autonomous floor scrubber, work side by side with cleaning staff to help increase productivity and efficiency. While Cobi cleans the floors, staff can focus on other critical cleaning tasks like bathrooms, trash, and wiping surfaces. 

This approach maximizes the strengths of both humans and robots, fostering a work environment where each contributes their unique skills. It not only addresses labor shortages but also improves job satisfaction and employee engagement.

ICE Cobotics Cobi 18, robotic floor scrubber, cleans commercial office building next to cleaning staff member wiping down surfaces

Robotics and IoT Help with Workforce Development 

One major initiative many employers are starting to address labor shortages is upskilling and reskilling existing employees. With this tactic, they are addressing a two-fold issue. 

One part of the problem is not enough people with the required skills to perform existing and emerging jobs. 

Because of this companies are implementing training programs to help upskill current employees. IoT Technology makes it significantly easier for managers to train staff because they can monitor work in real-time but from different locations. 

Robotics and IoT play a role here because since the technology is connected through the Cloud, training programs can be delivered at any time, anywhere, and to anyone. 

According to SmartMakers, “IoT can improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity by streamlining processes and analyzing data in real time. With the ability to connect devices, machines, and systems, IoT offers potential for innovation and growth in various sectors and creates new job opportunities in the emerging field of IoT development.”

The other side of the issue is that as robotics and IoT are integrated across industries, it creates the need for workers who have the skills to use, maintain, and work alongside this technology.

This provides employers the opportunity to provide ongoing training to employees and in turn the opportunity for upskilling their labor force. 

This not only helps to address the lack of people with the skills, but it also helps build employee morale and can increase long-term employment. The number of workers who want ongoing training and development continues to rise as younger generations enter the workforce.

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives are imperative to bridge the gap between the demand for skilled workers and the available workforce. Training programs can empower individuals to embrace new roles in the evolving job landscape.

Robotics and IoT Impact Operational Excellence

Many industries face labor challenges because the required work is repetitive, mundane, and or dangerous. This causes employee burnout and often high turnover. Robotics and technology can help solve these challenges by taking on this work and doing so with efficiency and precision. 

This creates room for human workers to focus on other important parts of the job that require a human touch. 

 An article written by Impact Washington recently highlighted, “Rather than dedicating time to entering data, conducting manual calculations, or repeating tedious industrial tasks, automation opens the door for other opportunities that benefit your business and enhance the workday.” 

 While automation can accomplish many things, it is far from having the human element that most companies need to grow their business. This is why it is beneficial to utilize IoT technology and automation solutions to take on tasks that can be streamlined and don’t require creativity or human dexterity. 

 While technology takes on repetitive tasks, people are freed up to focus on more critical work. “Whether creating relationships with new clients, helping existing customers, or creating quality products with greater detail and precision, automation allows your employees to improve your services and products,” Impact Washington points out. 

The manufacturing sector, for example, has witnessed a significant paradigm shift with the introduction of robotics. Automated systems are now capable of performing intricate tasks with precision, speed, and consistency, reducing reliance on manual labor for repetitive and mundane activities. This not only boosts production rates but also minimizes errors, leading to higher-quality outputs.

SCARA precision robotics arms inside electronics factory

SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arms) robotics, for instance, perform fast, repetitive, and exact point-to-point movements. They are high-precision robots used in engraving operations, assembly processes, and machine loading tasks. 

According to Robotics Tomorrow, the integration of IoT in SCARA robots “enhances their interconnectivity and remote control capabilities. Also, IoT-enabled data analysis predicts maintenance needs, reducing downtime.”

In logistics and warehousing, robotic systems streamline inventory management, order fulfillment, and packing processes. Autonomous robots, like those used by Amazon, navigate through warehouses, efficiently picking and transporting goods, reducing human intervention, and enhancing overall operational speed. This not only addresses labor shortages but also minimizes the physical strain on workers, contributing to a safer and healthier work environment. 

Robotics & IoT Contribute to Growth and Innovation

The integration of robotics and IoT technology also drives business growth and innovation as it plays a pivotal role in attracting and engaging tech-savvy workers. The presence of cutting-edge technologies in the workplace serves as a magnet for individuals seeking dynamic and tech-driven roles. 

For instance, businesses that leverage collaborative robots (cobots) or deploy IoT devices to create smart work environments appeal to a workforce interested in the intersection of technology and industry. These technologies provide employees with opportunities to work on exciting projects.

The engagement of workers is further enhanced by opportunities that come with mastering and managing robotic systems and IoT platforms. As businesses continue to invest in these technologies, they not only attract top talent but also foster a work culture that values continuous learning and technological proficiency, and this can lead to longer retention rates. 


 The implementation of robotics and IoT is a game-changer in addressing labor challenges across industries. As businesses navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world, embracing these technologies can lead to enhanced productivity, additional training opportunities for employees, improved retention rates, and even business growth. The key is the collaboration between humans and technology, not one without the other. 

ICE Cobotics is the leading technology and cleaning equipment company specializing in automation available through an all-inclusive subscription. To find out more about Cobi 18, reach out to our Automation Specialists.

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