New technologies are emerging at an increasingly rapid pace. The challenge for business owners is working out which ones they should be investing in now to future-proof their company.
Asked which technology they would be focusing on most in the next 12 months, 35pc of business owners responding to a survey conducted by Brother UK and Telegraph Spark said social media.
Five out of six small businesses use social media platforms to help them make sales, according to a study by tech firm UENI, with Facebook named the best platform for selling by more than half of respondents. UENI founder Christine Telyan says: “Social media presents businesses with a powerful way to get noticed through word of mouth, as well as low-cost advertising.”
After social media the technology with most focus from business owners in the next 12 months was artificial intelligence (AI) at 17pc, the internet of things (IoT) on 15pc and automation at 12pc.
Mike Hampson, chief executive of consultancy Bishopsgate Financial, says: “AI, automation and robotics will have an impact on all industries, either by replacing activities carried out by people or assisting people to a higher quality or a quicker job. This may have the biggest impact on the jobs that have been moved to offshore or low cost locations.”
Blockchain was named by 5pc of business owners surveyed as the technology they would be focusing on. With so much attention given to cryptocurrencies it has been seen as a force in business. However, Mr Hampson believes that it is being touted as a solution to too many situations that can be fixed by existing technologies, and as such is still overhyped.
Tech to watch
Experts also have their eye on other emerging technologies that could revolutionise the business landscape: namely augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). By 2020, Gartner reported, 100 million consumers would be shopping in AR online and in-store.
For start-up owners 5G could be a game changer. A new study by Vodafone found that 60pc see 5G as a solution to compete more effectively against their more established rivals.
Business leaders are investing more in social media than in automation
Quantum computing is another tech for business owners to watch. Mr Hampson says: “The research into it, if it ever becomes practical, is probably the most exciting thing happening at the moment, as it will take computing power to a whole different level presenting opportunities for a whole new range of applications.”
The survey conducted by Brother UK and Telegraph Spark found that 16pc of business owners had no plans to invest in new technology over the coming year.
Smarter, more efficient business
Digital innovation continues to change every business. Understanding the threats and the opportunities is essential to stay ahead of your market.
To find out more about how you can use technology to drive efficiency and security, visit www.brother.co.uk/business-solutions