Part of the content attendees of Together Amsterdam 2022 get to see is some revolutionary innovation in automation, especially as it comes to robots as a service, cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning. One of the presenters on this topic will be Bogdan Ripa, VP Product Management at UiPath. Rocking Robots sat down with him to discuss the new ways business users can interact with robots.
The 2022.04 product release of UiPath contains quite some new features, but one of the most eye-catching innovations is the prominent role of the cloud in deploying robots. Traditionally Robotic Process Automation, be it attended or unattended robots, is not run from the cloud. That has changed now. “Moving RPA to the cloud actually brings a lot of new opportunities. For example, it opens the gateway towards more API driven automation. We are in a world where RPA meets AI and machine learning models, in order for the robot to make more complex decisions.”
Automation cloud robots are a solution for business users who are dependent on their Windows operating system. Until recently they needed to set up Windows Virtual Machines as an execution engine where the automation will run when they needed a connection to the cloud. With Automation cloud robots they don’t need the IT-department anymore to set up a number of virtual machines.
Robots as a Service
According to Ripa, the new features will make a world of difference to business users: “We are going to provide them with a virtual machine with a click of a button within the UiPath ecosystem and within the app itself. So when you need a new Windows VM in the cloud for your automation we are going to provision it for you. You can connect to it via remote desktop, you can configure it, connect to your VPN, and save it as a template. At that point, it becomes your template machine. All the automations you want will run on that machine.”
“Robots become infrastructure as a service, on demand, provided directly by UiPath. We take care of everything, like immediately installing new security patches. It’s always going to be up to date. If there’s a new UiPath robot execution engine being release, you don’t have to worry about that, we’re going to push the update.”
There’s are at the moment several interaction points with the cloud. One is the UiPath Apps that are available as part of the UiPath cloud solution. They are also available on premise if that is what customers want, but Ripa does not recommend that: “But I advise our customers to use the cloud because our cloud release cycle is every two weeks. our on prem release cycle is every six months. So if you want to get the ‘latest and greatest,’ you want to be in the cloud.”
Another interaction point with the cloud is the UiPath Action Center. “That is used for long running workflows, like onboarding at HR. Action Center is basically your task inbox. When as a business user you have a long running process like onboarding, at some point you need to decide. Where you make that decision Action Center comes in. You receive a notification for a pending task. If you click on that link the actual form opens in Action Center, you can do your data analysis, and whatever you need to do, and then decide so that the process continues to work.”
Another innovation in the cloud is UiPath assistant, the tool where business users go to start different processes. “This way you can start processes that will run unattended somewhere else. Go to the UiPath cloud, for example on a tablet, and from a list of unattended processes you can initiate one, provide any input necessary and the robot will run somewhere else unattended. So basically you can start various business processes from the cloud.”
Focus on AI
The biggest revolution in software automation is the growing number of use cases with AI, so it is no surprise the new release also has new AI-capabilities. Like the AI Fabric service. “This is part of the automation cloud. This platform allows you to upload your own machine learning models, and we are going to manage them for you. We’re going to take care of auto scaling, we’re going to take care of training and retraining capabilities.”
Part of this is Forms AI. “It actually works exactly the how I wish this type of machine learning was from the beginning, it’s very open and friendly,” he says. “Let’s say you have a document, like a national ID card. All national ID cards look the same in. If you want to extract data from an ID card you would take a number of cards as a training example, and tell it what the first name is, the last name, the date of birth, the expiration date, and so on. And then automatically the service creates a machine learning model based on these data. So the next time you come with an ID, it will recognize the relevant data. It’s actually working, and I am very proud that we’re moving in that direction.”
Bogdan Ripa is a speaker at Together Amsterdam, UiPath’s flagship event in the EMEA region, a one-day event dedicated to automation which will take place on June 14 at Theather Amsterdam. While his session will focus on the 2022.4 release and the new features added to the UiPath platform, he is very interested in engaging to automation users and capturing feedback from customers and beyond.
“I plan to talk about what we’ve just released, what we already have, what’s out there in the market. I want to get them engaged, and to try out some preview functionalities. Because I’m a product person, I want users to try out my products, and offer feedback. Maybe we’re right, maybe we’re wrong. We believe we’re right, but you never know until you see a customer trying to use your product. For me, it’s all about listening. Curiosity is something that gets us going moving as a world, and as a society.”