The Robotics Centres are where clients come to build end to end unmanned solutions to their challenges. We accomplish this by having dozens of different outdoor unmanned systems for land, sea & air which are all from different manufacturers, coupled with the ability to integrate them into an existing IT structure or create a new structure. The Robotics Centres sell the hardware, software, training, maintenance, and data solutions or simply do the work for the client as a contractor. We also provide comprehensive counter-drone solutions for government and industry.
Our Headquarters is in Ottawa, Canada. We have established our first regional hub in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is the Robotics Centre Middle East. Additional Robotics Centres will be established in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Why we Love our Military People
The Robotics Centre has veterans from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds, including former commissioned and non-commissioned officers from Logistics, Special Operations Forces, Intelligence, Army Aviation, and we’ve even got a former fighter pilot.
They join us with little robotics or business experience, so why are roughly half our people ex-military? Well the simple answer is, we hire them for the ethos that the military instills — loyalty, teamwork, focus on completing complex tasks, self-reliance, the ability to work anywhere, and grace under pressure. Military people have learned to take care of each other and they know how to lead. They are also never shy to speak up and to tell you when they think you’re making a mistake — and they usually give you a solution at the same time.
As we grow, we will continue to infuse the Robotics Centre with these fantastic people.
For Robotics Manufacturers
If you are a small robot shop with a cool machine, here’s how the Robotics Centre wants to work with you:
- We buy one or two of your machines, we send someone to train on them, and we introduce them to our government and industrial clients
- If your machine is complex, we may ask for one of your engineers to accompany us — don’t worry, we will pay
- If the customer buys a few, we will work with you and them to make sure it’s doing what they need it to do, e.g. integrate it into their IT network
- If the customer buys a lot, we will set up an in-country training system and a workshop where we can maintain and repair the systems
- We buy the systems from you, and we sell them to our clients. Yes, we mark up the price; but we also deal with complex government procurement, performance bonds, insurance, shipping, export controls, and all the other administrative clag that a small company is not set up to deal with
Here is what we do
- We give you exposure, marketing support, sales support, and visibility at trade shows
- We give you feedback and advice on your system from the point of view of an experienced customer
- We help integrate your system into a wider unmanned systems fleet
- We bring you directly to end-users who trust us
- We help develop product sets using the data your robot is capturing
Here is what we don't do
- Invest in companies. We bring the best robots we can find to our customers, and we can only do that if we are free to choose the best robots. So we don’t invest, sorry.
- Demand exclusivity. We believe that we have to earn the right to sell your equipment, so we will ask for exclusivity only once we have proven ourselves
- Sign non-compete clauses. Again, we look for the best robots we can find, and therefore we need to work with robotics companies that may be in competition with each other
Our Free Advice
We have worked with a lot of start-up robotics companies over the years, and we have a lot of experience working with them as they have grown. Frankly, we have seen many of them make the same mistakes. So, for what it’s worth, here’s some advice offered in the spirit of friendship:
- At some point, companies from all over the world will start calling you, asking for exclusive sales rights for a country or even for an entire region. Don’t do it! Not early in the process, anyway. Make sure that any company that wants to be your rep is serious about investing its time and money into making sales. Ask them what other robotics firms they rep and then call those companies. And make sure that any exclusive sales rights you do give a company have a time limit and/or performance objectives clearly outlined. Never, under any circumstances, should you give away the rights to an entire region.
- The days of a robotics company inventing every bit of its system are over. Or at least they should be. Specifically, don’t try to design and build your own communications architecture, batteries, or payloads unless one of those things is your speciality. There are smart engineers in other companies – use them. Buying a payload, for example, from a company that just makes payloads might be expensive, but will cause you much less pain in the long run than trying to build one yourself.
- If it’s a flying machine and you might want military clients, then paint it light grey. Then get stickers, or “skins”, to customize the livery for any other client.
- Don’t fall into the trap of testing in the same environment all the time. You need to replicate how the end user will deploy the system, and the best way to do that is to go to as many different places as you can and use it under the most realistic conditions possible. Remember that just using your robot is only part of the user experience — charging it, shipping it, getting the data off it, etc. are all central parts of the user’s experience.
- As you move from the prototype or early production stage into higher volume production, you will see variances in various components from your suppliers. Batch 2 of a component may be slightly different than was batch 1. Try to take this into account in your engineering process and design so that a slight variation in a component doesn’t cause you significant problems either from a performance, safety, or production perspective.
- In a similar vein, please remember that every component you ship with your system will be seen by the customer as part of your system, even if you didn’t build it. So if you ship your system with a tablet computer, for example, make sure its a good one.
- You might be brilliant engineers (and we hope that you are), but brilliant engineering alone does not build a company. You need to get your robot right, but if you ignore finance, marketing, business development, & manufacturing, then you won’t get much beyond the prototype stage. Find someone you trust with some business experience and get that person involved.
- Our final bit of advice may seem obvious, except that we have yet to find a new robotics company that didn’t get it at least a bit wrong. And that advice is…make sure everything works the way you say it will all the time. Until everything works, do not try to sell it. We know you’re under pressure to get those first sales and to put some money back into the company, but customers are not forgiving and any problem in their hands will cause you a lot more pain than the same problem back in your lab.
Robotics-Centre at a glance
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Helping the Pope