After the cold spell, we are already in the beginning of winter. The temperature dropped sharply across the country, with repeated outbreaks in China. In the face of the normalization of the epidemic, the cleaning industry has a strong ability to “fight”.
At 13:00 on November 16, 2021, we interviewed Pan Xin, general manager of IT-Robotics, with the impression of artificial intelligence, robot, intelligence and future trend. Pan is always modest and has deep roots in the robot industry for many years, with his own unique cognition and insights. After forty minutes of conversation, we touched the temperature of the robot.
Block a road, then make your own way
Compere: please tell about your journey and story of entering clean industry simply.
Mr. Pan: When I entered this industry, it was accidental, but also inevitable. I have been engaged in the robot industry since 2009, responsible for product research and development. Around 2014, we wanted to find a direction to do machine applications. When we studied the cleaning industry, we found similar products overseas. At first, my team or I thought that we were qualified to be the agent of overseas products into China. Therefore, I communicated with a well-known foreign brand at that time, hoping to bring it into China. But the brand doesn’t do business with the Chinese market. Is it hard for me to say this? Later, we found that the technology of the brand was already behind the technology of that time (around 2014), so we decided to do the product development ourselves. Although at that time in terms of the whole format, this new thing is still a little strange. We started out as an exporter of technology, not a robot. But after understanding this technology, I thought I had to do everything from research and development to production and sales, so I did it for six or seven years. I want to say is that, first, the understanding of the industry is from the perceptual thought, as a clean the repetition labor, workers in the field of it and traditional industrial manufacturing there are a lot of similar place, not a lot of added value, such practices do not have much of a sense of achievement, is most likely to be unmanned equipment, replaced by automation equipment industry. So I got into it.
Compere: that the product that your company now advocate push is which one?
Pan: The current products are more focused on the driverless floor washing car and the new sweeper. In terms of indoor products, from the early 300 products to the current M2pro 80/120 and iMOP products, the main products are these two serie
Pan: The product has been iterated for 4 to 5 generations this year. On the one hand, the direction of iteration is mainly aimed at getting closer to the needs in cleaning operation process. On the other hand, we have done some iterations in the use of interactive friendliness and convenience in automatic navigation technology.
According to the changing market demand, the models launched in the early stage have gradually withdrawn from the market, and now we focus on polishing the main models.
Host: In the post-epidemic era, what are the advantages of our products?
Pan: Although it is not our main product, it is an important product line that we have launched in response to the epidemic. After all, we still focus on routine cleaning operations. During the pandemic, we now have two disinfection devices, the spray robot and the Ultraviolet robot. The advantages of these two apps are: first, the cost is relatively low; Two is its application, the advantage is reflected in the deployment of simple. We are now web-based in a deployment way, so the average person through simple training is easy to learn, use, maintenance is also relatively simple. Also, the range of applications may be somewhat different. Spray robots are more popular in China, because machines are often used in places with many people or large flow of people, which can give people a sense of security and achieve a certain degree of environmental disinfection. It coexists with people. But overseas markets prefer ultraviolet robots because they think ultraviolet is more capable of killing. So these two models, the market will be a little different.
Compere: What are our strategies for product promotion?
Pan: If we promote, it is more through channel business, some partners of traditional equipment. In addition, because we did not do much work in this area in the past few years, mainly in the optimization of products. Since the whole market started to grow last year, we mainly promoted it through some online channels, including tiktok and other platforms. In addition, offline, including some regular promotion channels, such as special recommendation, we are also doing.
What happened in the industrial revolution, we’re going through now
Compere: In your opinion, what is the prospect and development direction of the industry in the future?
Pan: In the early years, like in 2016 or 2017, we tried to promote products, but they didn’t have the awareness. Especially after the outbreak, as we inferred, the trend of a cliff – like decline in the labor force was obvious. Including the owner of the property company, former partners, they volunteered to do the agency. It is true that many places like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen cannot recruit people. In fact, for the development of the cleaning industry, especially under the situation that the division of labor is becoming more and more detailed, I think the concept of the cleaning industry in China is only about 20 years old, which is still very young. In the future, especially after the epidemic, people will pay more attention to the cleanliness of the environment.
You see, In recent years, Wuhan has become very clean, which is the demand of Chinese people for hygiene, for cleanliness and cleaning. In addition, as the country continues to develop, China’s cleaning industry is also growing with China’s urbanization. I think its development will gradually become more intelligent and economical. And the future equipment may be more detailed, categories will be more and more, some terminal equipment, including our unmanned equipment will be more vigorous. I am optimistic about the future development of the whole cleaning industry. China is still a good market for us right now, globally. But in fact, there is a big contradiction, practitioners he is going down, but the market demand is going up. The combination of the two contradictions will be intelligent property, unmanned cleaning equipment or intelligent, information-based cleaning and maintenance, which will bring a great opportunity for the development of the industry.
Host: OK, I can understand that you also directly or indirectly answered the question that I discussed with you privately? (How to coexist the contradiction between intelligent cleaning and traditional manual cleaning industry? Are there big changes ahead?)
Pan: Not exactly. There are really two questions here. Take the traditional cleaning industry and wisdom, they coexist on the topic. In fact, it is a process of fusion and symbiosis, and then common development. In fact, until now, or in the future, our architectural form does not change, the whole social structure does not change, cleaning and cleaning mode must be unmanned equipment and artificial equipment is coexistence, this is no doubt.
Why is it that in the promotion process of smart devices, everyone in the market thinks it is very important and also very needed? The reason for the high price is in one aspect. In fact, the main reason is our traditional settlement method in the field of cleaning and cleaning for so many years, and the interest relationship of its industrial chain. When faced with a new form, it is resistant, because there are a lot of people eating in this industry chain. When unmanned devices come in, it affects a lot of people’s interests. And this benefit is not to say the most basic level, such as cleaning workers. For workers, our equipment is a labor force transformation, replacing the original labor force with specialized equipment, allowing young people to operate the machine behind the back, and robots to do some of the work they were not willing to do. In fact, many people realize that cleaning robots are very good, but because of the conflict of interests, some units retreat from it.
For the boss, they all want to use robots. Although the price of the machine is higher, but the future will be able to pay back, and with the increase of the amount of storage, its unit cost will be lower and lower. If you think about it, in the year 2000 or so, I think it was over 40,000 dollars for a piece of equipment, 40,000 dollars was enough to buy a Charley. Are robots expensive in monetary terms? It didn’t, did it? So, the expensive point of view doesn’t make sense. More and more companies in the industry, or bigger than us, are getting more capital and a lot of social attention. So far, the traditional industry of cleaning equipment does not appear billions of enterprises, one or two billion, three or four billion are already very large, then why? Because people in this industry did not know about it before, and the early practitioners in this industry mainly started from the business end, it does not have strong scientific and technological attributes, and does not have strong industry characteristics of a higher degree. Once the market potential of this industry explodes, more and more state-owned or central enterprises will participate in it. In the distribution pattern of interests, it will undergo great changes, nothing more than many traditional industries in the process of transformation.
Host: It’s very much like the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the emergence of the age of steam, which also faced this problem. In the general trend of such a state, should eventually move towards peaceful evolution. Because machine, intelligence to replace manpower this matter should be inevitable.
Mr. Pan: Yes, this is a very appropriate metaphor. In those days, the coachman might have become a driver. It’s just such a change, his career will change. Early trains, internal combustion engines, and cars on the road would have been a terrible experience. Because roads are made according to the rules of carriage driving, they are bumpy and sometimes slow. But as people began to see its advantages, it became a highway and nobody rode horses anymore.
The cleaning industry, including deeper forms of buildings, may become more robot-friendly in the future, but many construction operations are not particularly robot-friendly right now. We also have some in-depth research in this area, how to integrate in the future, including we are also doing some research with real estate developers. How to make the cost of single product cheaper, including the accuracy of movement, scheduling ability of all aspects of improvement. As we usually do some in-depth research in this area, I think we can see the future, and this direction must be the final result.
It’s like what happened after the industrial revolution was rapid integration, and now we’re right in the early days of the Wright Brothers flying and being worried about falling off and dying, or cars bouncing on the road and breaking their wheels, but we can’t deny that this thing is bad. In fact, denying his bad is the traditional coachman. The driver said, “Look, this car is broken, right? Because he did not think of the future he will improve, the environment will change.
To serve others and achieve others, the original intention of artificial intelligence is to serve mankind after all.
Lehrer: Ok, back to the interview, that was a great discussion. Then, please tell us about the plan and strategy of the future operation of the enterprise.
Pan: Our main direction is still the direction of the current operation. First, internally, we will gradually and continuously optimize, upgrade and iterate our products. In terms of operation, we are now focusing on actively developing overseas markets, including North America, Western Europe, and some high-quality markets in Southeast Asia and Asia.
In terms of strategy, there are two aspects. First of all, we should try our best to increase the number of equipment and let the whole industry realize the convenience that this equipment can bring. In terms of products, the cost of monomer will drop. Problem solutions will continue to be optimized, and we will improve the reliability and stability of products through some technical means. From an overall operational perspective, it may also be on the capital side. Because these years we actually did not take too much money in the capital market, unlike many peers can make a lot of money. But I think from next year, we will gradually have more capital, I think the time is relatively mature, may expand the market operation on a large scale.
Host: Ok, take this opportunity, what do you want to say to the people in the cleaning industry?
Mr. Pan: I would say that this industry has a very good prospect, but we need to work together to think and discuss. To jointly cope with future changes in product form, business model and sustainable development.
Host: Last question, I see the slogan of your company on your shirt, which roughly means to serve others and achieve others. In fact, this is different from other technology companies I interviewed. Most of them would say that “technology leads the future, and the future is what the technology world looks like”. Why did you throw out such a slogan with temperature and humanistic thinking?
Pan: Because science and technology is only a means of service, the ultimate goal of science and technology, the essence is to serve mankind. Our slogan is the same. “It” actually stands for IT. We say whether this “it” is a question of an individual or an object. But we always feel that no matter how artificial intelligence develops, it cannot replace human beings. This is one of the big laws of “IT”. This is the fundamental goal. Technology is just a tool, and technology keeps improving. There are better service experience, better service methods. Let people more easily get rid of more low-level material level, can deepen to the higher to explore the stars and oceans of the universe.
Number two is to make our company great by serving others. But there’s also the reverse of our internal logic, which is one for all, all for one. Our employees, while serving our company, he is also making achievements. Externally, through our service, the public can achieve the growth of the company, and employees serving the company can achieve the common growth of themselves and the company.
Conclusion: After 40 minutes of discussion, we have broken the stereotype of ARTIFICIAL intelligence and technology. Maybe, as the science fiction movies fear, too fast development of technology will eventually kill human beings. However, at present, when human beings are facing a dilemma, science and technology are serving human beings with temperature. If the title is reversed, the whole society should pay attention to and achieve the growth of a science and technology company, it will better feedback the world.
“Serve others, achieve others, All for human”
IT-Robotics company profile
ITR, founded in 2015, is a national high-tech enterprise with low speed unmanned driving technology as the core, and is committed to the independent research and development, production and sales of intelligent service robots and related technical products. ITR is one of the first robot enterprises in the world to apply unmanned driving technology in the field of commercial cleaning. At present, commercial unmanned cleaning robot products have been widely recognized in the market, occupying the second place in the domestic market, and exported to overseas.
As a state-level high-tech enterprise, the company fully grasps the whole chain technology core of low-speed unmanned driving from bottom algorithm to product engineering, and owns independent intellectual property rights of relevant core technologies. It owns dozens of invention patents, practical patents and software Copyrights, and has obtained ISO9001 certification. It is the standard setter of Chinese disinfection robot industry.
In the business of intelligent property ecosystem based on robot application, iTR provides robot products ranging from solutions to various property types, including cleaning, concierge, security, connectivity, logistics and other professional products, and provides professional operation and maintenance services to achieve maximum value for customers.
ITR, adhering to the concept of serving others and achieving others, is committed to creating a world-class brand of operating robot.
(Source: Clean Horizon)