Robotics itching for disruption in APAC startup scene next year

With automation deem to be increasingly important among businesses and across industries, 45 percent of respondents in Asia believe robotics will be the sector most ready for disruption in the startup scene.

Robotics and consumer banking are expected to take centrestage in Asia's startup scene next year, ahead of healthcare and real estate.

Asked which sectors would be emerging startup trends in 2017, 45 percent of respondents pointed to robotics while 20 percent said likewise for consumer banking, revealed a survey conducted by Telenor Group. The study polled 215 respondents on Facebook and LinkedIn from various Asian economies including India, Singapore, and Thailand.

According to to Telenor, the findings were in line with market projections that 2.6 million industrial robots would be deployed worldwide by 2019, and amid increasing importance of automation across industries and among businesses.

Another 14 percent of respondents in the region believed healthcare would see the most disruption next year, 12 percent pointed to real estate, and 9 percent cited air travel.

Looking back at 2016, 40 percent named autonomous vehicles as the most disruptive technology while 23 percent believed this to be fintech. Some 20 percent highlighted augmented reality.

Some 37 percent expected autonomous vehicles to be the most disruptive technology in 2017, while 19 percent said connected or Internet of Things (IoT) devices would see increased focus next year. Another 19 percent said enterprise mobile apps would take centrestage, while 13 percent believed services and applications based on blockchain and bitcoin technology would prove most disruptive.

Telenor said self-driving cars could become "the norm" following the introduction of self-driving taxis in Singapore this year.

The country also would be piloting the use of self-driving buses and conducting research to improve real-tine monitoring of the national rail system.