Industrial automation and robotics is a highly competitive market that is witnessing a huge uptake in advanced and emerging markets. The growth and widespread adoption of emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, will continue to blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds, and create bigger demand for smart machines.

In Canada, adoption of industrial automation is above the global mean, but is significantly below industrial leaders like Japan, Germany, and South Korea, where manufacturing represents a larger component of GDP. By contrast, Canada’s manufacturing sector accounts for approximately 11 percent of GDP. Canada’s reliance on natural resources, which overtook manufacturing as a percentage of real GDP for the first time in 1997, offers some insights about the relative decline in manufacturing output. Where manufacturing is not prevalent, demand for industrial automation is lower.

A combination of policy and industry initiatives are needed to internationalize Canada’s existing automation sector and boost adoption domestically. A more predictable SR&ED program, increased funding opportunities, and improving global visibility can help Canada’s automation sector tap into a highly lucrative global market.