Research Press Release (Doc #prUS41039716 / Feb 23, 2016)
New IDC Government Insights TechScape Examines Role of Robotics in Government


Substantial opportunity for machines to heighten safety, precision, and efficiency within government services

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 23, 2016 – The potential to apply autonomous or semi-autonomous machines to enhance the safety, precision, and efficiency of government services, particularly in defense and intelligence, public safety, surveying, and inspection, is extremely significant. Nevertheless, the early stages of development research around full automation of task control capabilities and battery sustainability, in addition to ethical and legal concerns, make the prospect of widespread deployment of robotics in government distant in time. To help government executives identify potential benefits and challenges of adopting robotics technology, IDC Government Insights has published, IDC TechScape: Robotics in Government, 2015 (Doc #EMEA40990416). The new report was created to highlight opportunities and risks, so that executives can start to consider robots in their long-term capital investment roadmaps as safe and more efficient methods of mission delivery.

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The alignment of 3rd Platform technologies, advances in applied science fields (such as mechanical/chemical engineering), and the evolving business, social, political, and legal frameworks within which technologies are applied, are laying the foundation for a new round of disruptive innovation accelerators. These disruptive innovation accelerators include robotics, natural interfaces, 3D printing, Internet of Things, cognitive systems, and next generation security. However, out of these innovation accelerators, robotics could possibly have the most long-term potential to impact human culture overall. This is a new area of interest in many government domains, ranging from defense and intelligence, to public safety, agriculture, environmental protection, and public transportation.

In the new report, IDC Government Insights asserts:

  • Defense, intelligence, public security and public safety departments should consider themselves as early adopters.
  • Governments will need to plan for training and education for developers and operators in addition to implementing awareness campaigns that educate the public on the benefits of deploying robots.
  • Governments using or planning to buy robots should engage with external stakeholders to explore the general safety, privacy, financial, technical, and ethical issues of robotics.

Unlike other technology assessment frameworks, the IDC TechScape provides a visual representation of the process of technology adoption, dividing technologies into three major categories — transformational, incremental, and opportunistic — based on their impact on the organization, and then assessing their relative maturity within their respective categories. In addition to reviewing specific, individual categories, this IDC TechScape provides insights regarding the speed of adoption, technology potential for success (risk), and industry market buzz. The five broad categories of robots, intended as mechanical artificial agents, analyzed include:

  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): also known as unmanned aerial systems or, more commonly, drones.
  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs): autonomous and semi-autonomous cars, trucks, trains, boats and other self-moving vehicles.
  • Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV): underwater machines controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot.
  • Exoskeletons, also known as exoframes, or exosuits (EXOs): mobile machines consisting of an outer framework, worn by a person, and powered by a system of motors that assist the wearer through enhancing their strength and endurance.
  • Humanoid robots (HUMs): these are autonomous or semi-autonomous machines with their shape, or part of it, built to resemble the human body and replicate its functions.

The categories that define the three types of adoption curves in an IDC TechScape are:

Transformational: Disruptive technologies that are likely to be next generational based on their potential to fundamentally transform current industry best practices.

Covered technologies and use cases include: UAV - Public Security – Reconnaissance; UAV - Defense and intelligence – Combat; UAV - Transportation of personnel and supplies; HUM - Disaster response.

Incremental: Technologies that represent current industry best practices.

Covered technologies and use cases include: UAV - Defense and intelligence – Reconnaissance; UAV - Civilian agencies - surveying and inspections; AV - Transportation of people and supplies; UUV – Reconnaissance; EXO - Defense and intelligence – Combat; HUM - Surveying, inspection and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

Opportunistic: Technologies that contribute to industry progress but are not considered integral to current best practices.

Covered technologies and use cases include: EXO - Surveying, inspection and MRO; UUV - Surveying, inspection and MRO.

According to Massimiliano Claps, Associate Vice President, IDC Government Insights in EMEA, "Governments will soon start to include in their technology roadmap key milestones of collaboration with academia and industry and will continue to invest in R&D to build robots that, in 15 to 20 years, can step into a world built for humans and perform a variety of tasks, from routine ones to lifesaving ones, in dangerous and hazardous situations."

For additional information about this report, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Massimiliano Claps, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact ; reporters should email

About IDC TechScape

IDC TechScape reports mitigate technology risk by helping organizations align their tolerance for risk with the anticipated maturation of a technology. The IDC TechScape model is designed specifically to capture progress in the adoption of emerging disruptive technologies, mainstream technology buyer alignment with current industry best practices, and support technologies that promise to deliver operational advantages to organizations that choose to adopt them. Senior executives can use the IDC TechScape model to assess the progress of their own technology adoption efforts in comparison with the industry; identify new technologies that should be added for consideration in their technology roadmap; and add new insights to increase the robustness of their own technology decision framework.

About IDC Government Insights

IDC Government Insights assists government policy, program, and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of government and IT industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the Federal/Central and local/provincial Governments. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit, email, or call 703-485-8300. Visit the IDC Government Insights Community at

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