The global technology landscape could be quickly changing with newer and more advanced technology being introduced in the market every few years. In this article, we will look at the top four technology trends which could potentially be garnering the attention of small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) in 2022.
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Technology is everywhere, from mobile phones to smart gadgets, advanced audio and video equipment, artificially intelligent systems etc. It affects our lives in one way or the other. Information technology (IT) may also be altering different facets of how the business world operates. To gain a technological headstart and transform themselves, many SMEs may also be looking to adopt and implement current technology trends within their organisation.
According to a report by Statista, the global IT industry spending is estimated to be approximately US$5.3 trillion in 2022. The article also states that the allocation of this spending across different countries is based on the profits companies are making from the ongoing digital transformation. This article will aim to provide information on emerging technology trends and how they can potentially impact your business in the future.
1. Cloud computing
Microsoft describes cloud computing as the delivery of computing services through the internet —‘the cloud’— using servers, storage, databases etc, to provide faster innovation, more flexible resources, and economies of scale. Using cloud services could enable businesses to cut expenses, manage their infrastructure more effectively, and scale as their business grows.
According to an article by the UK Parliament, the cloud market in the UK is forecasted to be worth over £35 billion by 2023 —a 73% rise from 2019— with 89% of larger UK organisations estimated to use at least one cloud-based service. The report also states that the government encourages using cloud computing with its cloud-first policy, which mandates that cloud computing should be considered before any other IT implementation in the UK.
2. Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation or RPA is software that is used to allow software robots or ‘bots’ to learn and mimic actions performed by humans in a digital form, such as vetting documents, processing invoices etc. RPA software bots can potentially communicate with any application or system in a manner similar to humans, except that RPA bots can work around the clock, continuously, far quicker and with ideally 100% accuracy and dependability.
According to a report by Business Wire, the global RPA market value is expected to grow from US$ 2,078.3 million in 2020 to US$ 45,982 million by 2030, at a growth rate of 36.3%. The article also states that RPA technology’s capacity to deliver more efficiency, enhanced customer experience, and greater convenience in managing corporate processes is one of the primary reasons driving the market growth. In addition, the growing need for virtual workforces is propelling the industry forward.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is technology that mimics human behaviour and performs activities like learning, problem-solving, analysing events, and making decisions using advanced analytical and logic-based approaches. In recent years, AI technology has possibly risen to prominence as a viable option for automating tasks for various businesses. Many organisations could be turning to AI to automate routine processes such as bill payments, helping to reduce human error, save operational and staffing expenses, better understand their customers, personalise the user experience, and analyse data.
According to a recent report by Capital Economics for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), within the UK, 68% of large companies, 34% of medium-sized companies, and 15% of small companies have adopted at least one AI technology. It also states that 49% of medium-sized firms were likely to develop AI solutions in-house compared to 40% of large firms, and 34% of small firms. The article also estimates that the expenditure on AI technology in the UK could increase to between £27.2 billion and £35.6 billion by 2025, at annual growth rates of roughly 10% and 16%, respectively.
4. AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) can be described as the real-time use of information in the form of audio, image, video, text etc, in combination with real-world objects to create a 3D interactive user experience or ‘real world’ element to enhance a user’s experience of the world around them. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) technology can be described as a computer-generated 3D environment that responds to a user’s movements and actions, usually through a head-mounted display. The difference between AR and VR is that while AR tools enhance a real-world environment, VR technology is entirely virtual.
According to an article by Markets and Markets, the AR technology market is projected to grow from US$15.3 billion in 2020 to US$77 billion by 2025 with an expected growth rate of 38.1% between the projected years. The article also states that some of the key factors driving the growth of the AR market are the growing demand for AR-powered tools in healthcare, retail and eCommerce etc, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The key factors driving VR technology market growth could be the availability of affordable VR led devices, technological advancements and growing digitisation, and the use of VR in the gaming and entertainment sectors.
The rapid advancement of technology likely cannot be expected to slow down anytime soon. The technology mentioned above can potentially allow entrepreneurs, organisations, and investors to benefit in various ways. We have only highlighted four such technology trends here, but there are many others that SMEs can leverage to their advantage.