The Automate team sat down with Mark Lewandowski, Director of Robotics Innovation at Procter & Gamble, to talk about what he’s looking forward to most about Automate in 2022.
So Mark, what automation technologies are you most excited to see on the show floor this year?
There's so many because there's so many automation technologies that are fun and exciting and interesting and useful to us. I think that certainly one of the areas has been growing and we've got a lot of interest to see is where are mobile robots and related technologies to mobile going. Seeing what new technologies are there, what new startups and players are in that space. And what interesting things they're bringing to the robotics community.
What kind of opportunities does Automate provide that other shows don’t?
Automate is the one show that really brings together all of the different technologies for automation related to robotics and vision and even just to more general automation. Where a lot of shows focus on specific industries, whether it's material handling or automotive or things like that, this really is a technology focused show. And so being able to see all the different technologies and how they can work together and relate together is a great opportunity that only Automate provides.
“Being able to see all the different technologies and how they can work together and relate together is a great opportunity that only Automate provides.”
What would you say is the biggest benefit of attending Automate?
The biggest benefit to attend and automate is just being able to network and make connections. To be able to see and meet people who are in the industry who are working on technologies and things that are of interest to me personally and to our company, and to be able to meet them face to face, just make those connections. That's the biggest thing.
The second thing that goes along with that is being able to attend in person is great, because now you can actually see technologies face to face. You can't do very much in the virtual world when it comes to being able to see technologies and robots and automation. You really need to be able to see it, touch it, see it in action and working. And then being able to have those conversations face to face is just a huge benefit.
“You can't do very much in the virtual world when it comes to being able to see technologies and robots and automation. You really need to be able to see it, touch it, see it in action and working.”
How do you get ready to attend Automate?
So if you haven't been to Automate in a while, it’s going to be much different. This is a much larger, much more exciting show with an opportunity to see many, many more vendors, suppliers and technologies than ever before. So where before you might have been able to see everything in a day or a day and a half and walk around and do that, that's no longer possible the show has gotten too big, too large, which is a good thing.
So having a plan or at least some idea of the types of things you're interested in seeing is certainly helpful because there is so much to see you can easily be overwhelmed if you don't have some idea of, “Hey, we really want to focus on these areas or these types of technologies.”
And then, take a little bit of time before the show to take a look at the vendors that are in those spaces that you want to make sure that you take time to visit while you're there.
And finally, what makes the show’s return to Detroit so exciting?
Certainly Detroit has become a hub of automation and robotics. I guess it always has been with the history of robotics being in automotive. But it's just great for the show to be able to return to an area where a lot of the robotics industry grew up. And so it's great to see that.
Detroit is a very different city. Chicago's kind of the old established city, very busy, very crowded and, and things going on where Detroit seems to be a little bit smaller, but also it's returning to vibrancy, I guess, is a good way to put it.
I've been to a couple events in Detroit over the last couple years, but right before COVID hit. It was just kind of exciting to be able to be downtown in an area that that's growing and is now ready to continue to build on that and host events. And with the rebuilding and the ballpark and all the things that are going on down there, it's just a fun place to be.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. I expect to Automate this year to be really exciting. I've been to a couple of industry shows and events over the last six months or so, as things are starting to come back. And I'm starting to hear a lot of people talk about the excitement of coming back to live shows and about Automate specifically. This is going to be quite an event and I'm looking forward to it.
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