How will the future of enterprise technology evolve?

The future of enterprise technology may revolve around blockchain, AI, and automation, but for now, the priorities for most businesses remain social media and conversions.

NOTNew technologies are emerging at an increasingly rapid pace. The challenge for business owners is determining which ones they should invest in now to ensure the future of their business.

Asked what technology they would focus on most over the next 12 months, 35% of business owners responding to a survey by Brother UK and Telegraph Spark said on social media.

Social media offers businesses a powerful way to get noticed through word of mouth

Five out of six small businesses use social media platforms to help them make sales, according to research by tech firm UENI, with Facebook named the best sales platform by more than half of respondents. UENI Founder, Christine Telyan, said: “Social media offers businesses a powerful way to get noticed through word of mouth, as well as low-cost advertising.”

After social media, the technology business owners focused on the most over the next 12 months was artificial intelligence (AI) at 17%, Internet of Things (IoT) at 15% and automation at 12%.

Social benefits: Facebook named best sales platform according to a UENI study

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Mike Hampson, managing director of consultancy Bishopsgate Financial, says: “AI, automation and robotics will impact all industries, either replacing activities carried out by people or helping people get better or faster work. This may have the greatest impact on jobs that have been moved to offshore or low-cost locations.”

Blockchain was named by 5% of business owners surveyed as the technology they would focus on. With so much attention given to cryptocurrencies, they have been seen as a force in business. However, Hampson thinks it’s being touted as a solution to too many situations that can be solved by existing technologies, and as such it’s still overrated.

Technology to watch

Experts also have their eye on other emerging technologies that could revolutionize the business landscape: namely augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). By 2020, according to Gartner, 100 million consumers will buy AR online and in-store.

For start-up owners, 5G could be a game-changer. A new study from Vodafone has found that 60% see 5G as a way to compete more effectively with more established rivals.

Business leaders invest more in social media than in automation

Credit: Harris Interactive – total sample (110) – Q. Which technology, if any, will your company be most focused on over the next 12 months?

Quantum computing is another technology for business owners to watch. Mr Hampson says: “Research on this, if it ever becomes practical, is probably the most exciting thing happening right now, as it will take computing power to a whole new level, providing opportunities for a whole new range of applications.

The Brother UK and Telegraph Spark survey found that 16% of business owners had no intention of investing in new technology in the coming year.

A smarter, more efficient business

Digital innovation continues to change all businesses. Understanding threats and opportunities is key to staying ahead of your market.

To find out more about how you can use technology to improve efficiency and safety, go to www.brother.co.uk/business-solutions

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