Traditionally, only large enterprises such as major manufacturers could afford robots. That’s starting to change, says MIT Work of the Future. Specialized robots called “cobots” that collaborate with humans are now available for as little as $50,000 to $70,000, putting them in the reach of small and medium-sized firms. Cobots are helping human workers by assisting with repetitive, dangerous or unsanitary tasks, helping employees work more efficiently and avoid injuries. Manufacturers are currently improving cobots so that they can be programmed easily even by workers with no technical background, allowing them to be flexibly integrated into everyday workflows as needed.
Cobots are one example of how advanced technologies formerly limited to use by large enterprises are now becoming accessible to smaller businesses. Here’s a look at three other high-tech trends that are spilling over from the enterprise to impact small businesses.
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