The COVID crisis has proven to be disruptive to many business initiatives, and the adoption of disruptive technology is no exception. But the latest research from professional services network KPMG suggests that a majority (77 percent) of global tech executives are optimistic that innovative technologies such as digital assistants, biometrics and virtual reality will help improve their business models and achieve their goals moving forward.
Now in its eighth year, the 2020 KPMG Technology Industry Innovation Survey includes responses from more than 800 global leaders in the tech industry from 12 countries. As the COVID-19 pandemic creates a new reality for companies, the new analysis discusses the use cases, investment levels and time horizons, and benefits and challenges in adopting disruptive technologies that have the potential to transform the enterprise.
As a result of the pandemic, attention is turning once again to virtual reality in the quest to make interactions more personal and immersive. The top benefit in adopting virtual reality cited by 32 percent of respondents is improved business efficiencies. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed have increased their investment in virtual reality compared to the previous year and are expecting a relatively quick return on investment within 3 years of initial investment.
However, global technology company leaders surveyed indicate that the biggest challenge in adopting virtual reality is “lack of employee/cultural support,” with 29 percent citing this as the leading challenge.
“We are going to see businesses adopt new virtual reality tools to improve the future remote work environment by creating the next generation of virtual offices to increase employee engagement and productivity,” said Anson Bailey, Partner, head of technology, media & telecoms at KPMG China, in a news release. “In addition, we are going to see an increasing focus on customer engagement especially across high-end retail purchases with more in-store immersive experiences. It offers businesses potential time, cost, and scale savings in travel, training, events and meetings.”
These assistants, the most advanced of which combine artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning, are poised to play an integral role, according to the report. Tech company leaders ranked them on par with Internet of Things, blockchain, and robotics, and higher than 5G and edge computing in terms of technologies they expect to be using to transform their business three years from now.
Increased market share is identified as the top benefit in adopting digital assistants, cited by 26 percent of those surveyed. Half of those surveyed expect it will take less than 3 years from initial investment for digital assistants to see significant investment returns.
“In the new reality being created by COVID-19, companies may use digital assistants to deliver a quickly scalable, differentiated customer experience, reduce human error and increase efficiencies, as well as allow employees to focus on more strategic and innovative work by freeing them from mundane tasks,” said Philip Ng, partner and head of technology at KPMG China, in the release.
Technology company leaders also ranked biometrics, which are defined as a person’s unique, measurable physical characteristics like fingerprints, facial structure, and retinal map that can be used for automated identification, access control, and facility/system security, on par with 5G, robotics, and blockchain, and higher than virtual reality and edge computing in terms of technologies they expect to be using to transform their business three years from now. Improved business efficiencies is the top benefit in adopting biometrics, cited by 23 percent of respondents.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed have increased their investment in biometrics by 20 percent or more compared to last year, while the biggest challenge in adopting this technology as cited by 23 percent of those surveyed is “the time/cost to reskill/upskill the workforce.”