If one day programming is as popular as the Olympics, then the “golden age” of educational robots is coming.

Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public account “machine power” (ID: Almosthuman2017), the author is full of praise.

If one day programming is as popular as the Olympiad, not only can the quality of students be cultivated, but also the points in the exam-oriented education, then the “golden age” of educational robots will come.

Xiao Zhang’s family in Xi’an started business with several friends last year. Several science and engineering men chose the direction of educational robots to train robots for 8-18 year olds.

They develop software around VEX robots, Dajiang RoboMaster and other robot platforms, and tailor-made different training courses to teach students to understand robots, program construction, project management, or robot competition. In the first year of the company’s preparation, they enrolled 70 to 80 students.

Sometimes there will be robot training needs in the surrounding schools. Xiao Zhang team will also cooperate with the school to provide robot teaching aids and train students. If the school is interested in participating in the International Robotics Competition, they can provide further guidance.

In the past two years, companies like Xiao Zhang’s team have begun to spread across the country, open training institutions, or expand rapidly by joining the chain.

As artificial intelligence was written into the national policy, AI and programming education began to gradually enter the classroom. Under the dual drive of policy and market, AI technology companies, robot companies, toy companies, training institutions, etc. have flooded into this market, pushing educational robots higher.

However, the industry is flocking to the back, the educational robot market is in a “two-day” situation, between the C-end and the B-end (educational) track, between the industry and the public. A huge gap.

Daily education robots are behind the scenes?

A month ago, Dajiang launched the first educational robotic master, RoboMaster S1. Although the price of 3,499 yuan is not low, the product is on the line for 5 minutes, the spot is sold out, and the next day is two. The monthly production capacity was sold out, but on the third day, Dajiang had to remove the product.

As a hard-core enterprise in the field of global drones, the influx and popularity of Dajiang educational robots has also made more eyes on educational robots.

Beyond Dajiang, more forces in the industry are also pouring into this market. Ubisoft, Shangtang Technology, Xiaomi, Keda Xunfei, Artisan, Leson Robot, etc. have launched machines with educational attributes.Personal products.

However, in contrast to the influx of the industry, the performance of educational robots in the C-end market is quite cool.

It is important to understand that the educational robots discussed in this article are products with certain programming capabilities and extensibility, which enable young people to carry out some AI education and programming practices. Therefore, children’s story machine products are not in the discussion.

Taking Taobao platform as an example, searching for related products of educational robots, monthly sales are mostly between dozens and hundreds of units, compared with the sales of smart speakers and children’s story machines, it is rare.

From the Xiaomi Tmall official mall with a lot of traffic, a monthly sales of 499 yuan of rice rabbit building blocks is less than 500 units. It is estimated that the annual sales volume will be around 5,000 units. Millet is still the case, the entire online education robot market can be imagined.

Not only online, but the educational robots are not optimistic.

The head of a well-known channel distributor revealed to the heart of the machine: “From an agent’s point of view, we are not willing to sell such products.”

The reason is the technical threshold of the robot, which also means the industry sales threshold. Because it is an emerging category, consumers’ awareness is often low, and even channel employees don’t understand it. It takes effort to train the channel and bring new costs.

On the other hand, offline retail stores often have limited space. If there are only 50 points, the channels often choose the products that are the easiest to sell and the most profitable.

“Compared to selling robots, retail stores are more willing to sell mobile phones, selling Apple mobile phones, Huawei mobile phones sales faster, everyone waiting, but the robot technology content is too high, the clerk in the process of selling must understand, but also It’s too hard to sell,” he explained.

He also revealed that the department had discussed the educational robot market in depth and finally decided not to consider such products. Low user recognition, high sales thresholds, and repurchase rates have hindered the choice of channel vendors. “Educational institutions may be more suitable for selling them and can also integrate with their own courses.” Then he turned his attention to the education side. market.

Talk about the reasons for the cold sales, In addition to the early stage of the market, the lack of user awareness, the price is more expensive, and another important reason is the lack of product performance and educational attributes. An industry insider said, “The majority of products in the C-end market have more toy attributes. Even if the products in DJI are excellent, how to integrate the entertainment attributes and teaching attributes, how to improve the teaching system is also a problem. .”

Behind the DJI robot S1, the educational robot has just begun on the C-end track.

Two powers compete for B-side

With the C-end trackIn stark contrast to the “ice cold”, the educational robots are extremely hot on the B (school, training institution) side, especially in the past two years.

Educational robots are not a new thing. As early as 10 years ago, VEX robots and VEX robot competitions were introduced to China. At present, VEX has covered more than 60 countries in more than 60 countries around the world, and there are about 1,500 teams in China alone.

In recent years, there has also been a wave of robot competitions in China. Excellent selection, Dajiang, artisan society, and ability storms have been added or robot competitions, such as the World Robot Competition and the RoboMaster Robot Competition in Dajiang.

Contests and training around the competition constitute the early market for educational robots. With the increasing number of international competitions, commercial competitions, etc., especially the introduction of the “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” in 2017, the landing of educational robots has begun to accelerate.

In the “Planning”, the state stipulates that “the artificial intelligence-related courses will be set up in the primary and secondary schools, and the programming education will be gradually promoted to encourage the social forces to participate in the development and promotion of educational programming software and games.” It also “supports the development of artificial intelligence competitions and encourages the creation of various forms of artificial intelligence science.”

Under the policy, there must be a brave man! Capital, education entrepreneurs, and AI companies are flocking to this field. One of the forces is the training institutions. They have expanded their territory in the country and set off a wave of educational robot training. Another force is AI technology company and robot company. Under the policy orientation and school demand, they have taken new explorations from the perspective of the scene of AI scenes.

First from the training institutions, Xiao Zhang’s entrepreneurial story, as mentioned above, is more influential in chain or affiliate-driven training institutions, such as LEGO Education, Zhongming Education, Ability Storm, Bell. Science and education, etc.

These training institutions mainly focus on programming education for children and adolescents. In the past few years, one of the more popular ones called STEAM education. The teaching materials and teaching aids used by them are different. Programming robots are one of the teaching aids. It is understood that there are more than 200 companies entering the programming education track from 2017 to 2018, and there are more than 40 financings in 2018 alone.

Belco is an early start-up company founded in 2011, mainly for children aged 3 to 13 years old,

Providing programming education through self-raising educational robot products and courses, known as the largest player in the STEAM education.

According to the heart of the machine, the robot teaching aids of 3-6 years old children have more attributes, and they are more likely to restart education. The teaching aids for children over 8 years old have more programming attributes and scalability.

Bell adopts direct and franchise stores in its business strategy and is currently in 200 cities across the country.