RIOS Intelligent Machines: Re-industrializing America with best-in-class American technology


The manufacturers are crushed under the weight of lack of manpower and meeting the rising consumer demand. With automation, these manufacturers have a unique opportunity not only to keep up with demand but also to upskill the workforce while also ensuring they have better-paying and enjoyable jobs. RIOS helps enterprises automate their entire factories, warehouses, or supply chain operations by deploying end-to-end robotic work-cells that integrate within existing workflows, at blazing speed and scale.

Dr. Bernard Casse is the Founder and CEO of RIOS Intelligent Machines, Inc. He is a seasoned leader, entrepreneur, and strategist with proven expertise in developing innovative technologies, leading world-class teams, over-delivering on complex multidisciplinary projects and building business pipelines. Before establishing RIOS, he co-founded Metawave—a Xerox PARC spin-out, where he was responsible for the company’s roadmap, vision, and technology strategy as the CTO. In his journey, Bernard has undertaken several strategic roles and managed multi-million dollar contracts from Government & private sector. Dr. Bernard was a postdoc at Northeastern University and worked on nanophotonics at Harvard’s CNS and Brookhaven National Lab’s CFN. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the National University of Singapore.

RIOS Intelligent Machines

In life, my advice is to about being laser-focused on your dreams/visions/goals, constantly think about strategizing and how to execute, and to get back up when you fall and bring it on again!” says Bernard.

In 2018, Bernard co-founded RIOS with other former Xerox PARC engineers, with an aim to transform old-line industries that suffer from massive labor shortages and labor turnover. To mitigate the labor gap, RIOS has engineered robots that possess higher levels of dexterity, cognitive skills, and autonomy than traditional robots. These robots are highly adaptable, software-defined, and can be programmed to perform some of the most boring, grueling, ubiquitous, and hard-to-automate tasks in factories that are worth billions of dollars. Bernard states, “In a nutshell, we’re re-industrializing America with best-in-class American technology.

In our recent interview with Bernard, he walked us through the offerings of RIOS and what makes them essential in the industry.

What was the mission behind the establishing RIOS Intelligent Machines?

RIOS was founded 3 years ago with a mission to completely transform labor-intensive factories into smart factories of the future powered by robotics and AI. Our bet paid off and became more evident with Covid-19. Covid turned the labor shortage problem into a full-blown crisis and crippled bedrock sectors of our economy. Today, we are at an inflection point in which the dire need to transform legacy industries is the most significant opportunity in modern history.

Did you encounter any challenges in the journey and if yes, how did you overcome them?

We’re at the bleeding edge of innovation – so we encounter challenges constantly. The most significant challenge in the robotics space is that robotics is fragmented. Thus, we had to build a lot of infrastructures and develop dedicated hardware and software platforms to address the needs of our customers. We overcome challenges by working with the smartest people on the planet. There’s no substitute for a world-class and experienced workforce.

What makes RIOS’ services and solutions exceptional as compared to the other providers in the industry?

Our unique value proposition to customers (which other companies have failed to provide) is that we’re offering them production-grade machines that meet throughputs and KPIs, that are easy to use, that have practically zero downtime, and that can be integrated into their existing workflows. And our offering comes with blazing speed delivery (faster than anyone in the world) and a “frictionless” customer experience, combined with an attractive business model in which they have no upfront capital commitments.

From the customer’s perspective, they’re getting a reliable workforce that can scale with consumer demand; they’re getting enhanced productivity; enjoying significant cost savings in the process; and getting business intelligence of their production lines.

Out of the services and solutions offered by the company, which product has gained popularity among the consumers?

Two product lines gained disproportionate popularity: 1) Food handling, and 2) end-of-line packaging solutions. For food handling, we’re the only provider of end-to-end AI-powered robotic work cells in the food industry (i.e., all other companies are component providers). There are significant challenges to deploying food-grade robotic work cells in the food industry, which is the main reason why it’s a deterrent for most companies. There’s a real need for automation in the food industry, and we’re providing the most complete full-stack and production-grade solution, which explains the popularity of this product line. The consumer-packaged goods industry is a high-growth and labor-scarce industry and today the last mile end-of-line packaging is only carried out by human operators. There’s a real paint point and no real complete solution and this industry, and this the reason why it has gained popularity.

What has been the reason behind the popularity of these solutions?

It’s the classic scenario of a real need that exists and there’s no existing good solution. So, when someone comes up with a great solution that addresses this need, it gains popularity. It goes back to our value proposition – we’re providing a robust and scalable robotic workforce that can meet throughputs and that just works out of the box.

What is your opinion on the debate “Robots are taking over human jobs”?

With millions of jobs unfilled, manufacturers are unable to keep up with skyrocketing consumer demand – and they are in extreme pain. Robots aren’t taking over human jobs since there are no humans to begin with. To elaborate, most factories in the world are labor-intensive and need ever-increasing human capital to meet demands. The problem is that our customers are facing labor shortage issues – they’re unable to find minimum-wage workers to perform these low-paying and strenuous jobs, which account for 72% of tasks in factories. Thus, they can’t address surges in customer demand or dynamically address changes in market conditions. On top of that, they suffer from labor turnover (40%-150%), and traditional robots can’t stack up to the tasks. Another factor contributing to labor turnover is the fact that people are gaining more money out of unemployment benefits that they made a conscious decision not to go back to work. In addition, under today’s social distancing directives, some of our customers needed to reduce the number of people working on assembly lines to comply with state laws.

With the advent of automation, we’re having the unique opportunity to upskill our workforce and provide them with better-paying and significantly more enjoyable jobs.

Throughout the journey, which award/recognition are you the proudest of?

We’re excited about all our recognitions, and the latest one regarding “RIOS Recognized as a Top 5 Robotics Provider Helping the Food Industry” is very electrifying, as it really spelled out and reinforced the fact that we’re providing first-of-its-kind automation solutions in the food sector.

As the fastest growing company, what can we expect from RIOS Intelligent Machines in the following year?

We will acquire more customers in current verticals and subsequently expand into other verticals. The sky is the limit! We’ll be announcing more customers and case studies. We’re also developing partnerships that we will announce later this year and in 2023 that will help us achieve our organizational goals. There’ll be funding announcements. We plan to beef up engineering, sales, and marketing and be more aggressive on customer acquisition.

How to become one of the leading companies in the industry?

First, it’s about remaining laser-focused on a critical mission – building intelligent machines and infrastructure to ensure the survival of our most vital institutions. Then, it’s about constantly bringing in world-class talent to execute on that vision and re-inventing the company at each step – the lifeblood of the company is its people. Lastly, it’s all about execution, which involves strategizing, thinking outside the box, avoiding others’ mistakes, asking ourselves the right questions, and delivering.

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