Does UiPath's $35 Billion Valuation Signal A Growth In RPA Usage For IH and OH?

Verdantix estimates that the Industrial Hygiene (IH) and Occupational Health (OH) software market will grow by a CAGR of 9.7% to $403 million by 2025. This growth corresponds to increased demand for software to manage worker health in the wake of COVID-19 (Market Size And Forecast: IH/OH Software 2020-2025 (Global)). With this growth comes increasing investment in IH/OH processes and infrastructure. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents to the Verdantix global corporate survey indicated they have existing software for managing occupational health, mental health and wellbeing (Global Corporate Survey 2020: EHS Budgets, Priorities & Tech Preferences). One such area also primed for growth is the use of robotic process automation (RPA).

RPA is a business automation or digital transformation process based on the use of AI to automate workflows. Users view RPA as a stopgap between manual and often tedious workflows and fully intelligent automation. RPA tools can configure a metaphorical robot to capture and manipulate data, trigger responses, and communicate with other digital systems through APIs. Firms have been using RPA tools since the digital transformation agenda began, albeit with a more generalized definition encompassed within other tools such as AI and machine learning. With firms investing and bolstering the digital infrastructure of IH and OH practices in response to COVID-19, RPA tools are finally making their way to this practice area. 

In practice, firms have begun applying RPA tools to facilitate EHS and business processes without increasing headcount or costs and reducing the propensity for human error. For instance, Robocloud is an RPA service provider of EHS regulatory compliance. The provider's solution can help firms manage PPE allocation, monitor renewal dates and order new PPE according to requirements - all automated. SafetyTek offer tools that fall within the definition of an RPA – an AI safety assistant that can assess forms and historical form-filling patterns to assess worker engagement and fatigue.

So, what is the industry outlook for RPA solutions going forward, and what does it mean for the IH and OH practices? UiPath, a Forbes-named A150 RPA provider, floated on the New York Stock Exchange with a $1.3 billion initial public offering (IPO), valuing the firm at over $35 billion. The financial services industry has been the earliest adopter of RPA technology, but UiPath's IPO signals significant growth in other industries such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, especially as firms seek more automation in response to COVID-19. For instance, UiPath offers services to the healthcare industry for managing inventory, digitizing patient data, scheduling, billing and claims processing. This trend corresponds with an Oxford University conjecture that up to 35% of all jobs might be automated by 2035. The IH and OH practices will immensely benefit from this trend as firms increasingly seek to apply automation to EHS. 

EHS Does UiPaths 35 Billion Valuation Signal A Growth In RPA Usage For IH and OH

Kel Udeala

Industry Analyst, Verdantix

Kel is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice covering research in industrial wearables and EHS software. His current agenda focuses on emerging industrial wearable technologies, strategic focus for justifying budgets for industrial wearables and best practices for deployment. He holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from University College London and an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering from Brunel University London.