In next few years, the issue of 'Bring Your Own Device' in Enterprise IT could also include 'Bringing your own Robots' to the company. :-). You may not be carrying a smartphone. You may be having a mini-robot which could assist in your work!. Does it sound like a sci-fi movie?. Not really!. It could be a reality soon!. And Corporate IT would be challenged to identify the security threats attached to those scenarios! :-)
Recently, Microsoft has released the Kinect Services for Robotics. This means that one can use Kinect SDK to develop robotics applications. And like any other technology, Robotics is also being consumerized. With Kinect having entered the Guinness book of world records for becoming the World's fastest selling electronic gadget & the release of Kinect SDK early this year opened up new explorations such as - 'what does this mean for end consumers?. What does it mean for Enterprises? What kind of business/consumer applications one can develop using Kinect?'
By releasing the SDK for Robotics, Microsoft has paved the way for using Gesture-based Computing/Sensor Technologies to be applied in robotics domain. The trend would not have got enough coverage, had it been released by a non-IT company. Microsoft, being an Enterprise IT & Consumer Technology company, it has generated lots of interests!
The next few years could be the defining years for transformation from industrial robots to consumer robots. The consumer robots can assist humans by offering a variety of services such as Elderly Care, Health Care, Home Automation/Management, Training, Tourism.
With Microsoft's cash cows being Windows & Office/Business Applications, its trying to apply kinect in Collaboration scenarios. It would be interesting to see the emerging app ecosystem around Kinect & Robotics!.
Incidentally, I also happened to read a IEEE article on Robotics which talks about Robotics & its impact on overall economy [Courtesy HP Blog]. The biggest question that gets discussed was - Will Robots take away jobs?. In the interview, the Industrial robotics company Adept Technology CEO talks in detail about Robotics, its impact on overall economy and international government policies. The interesting takeway from the interview is that Robots may take away jobs in the near term, but it could lead to generation of more jobs with company expanding to new markets/services.