A majority (77%) of global technology executives are optimistic that innovative technologies such as digital assistants, biometrics, and virtual reality will help improve their business models and achieve their goals, according to KPMG’s annual survey.
In its eighth year, the “2020 KPMG Technology Industry Innovation Survey” includes responses from more than 800 global leaders in the technology industry from 12 countries, with 110 respondents from China.
As the COVID-19 pandemic creates a new reality for companies, KPMG’s latest analysis based on the survey 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.
Digital 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.
Technology company leaders ranked them on par with the 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% of those surveyed. Half of those surveyed expect it will take less than three 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, head of Technology, KPMG China.
Technology company leaders also ranked biometrics, which is 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 or 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 are the top benefit in adopting biometrics, cited by 23% of respondents. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed have increased their investment in biometrics by 20% or more compared to last year, while the biggest challenge in adopting this technology as cited by 23% of those surveyed is “the time/cost to reskill/upskill the workforce.”
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 of adopting virtual reality cited by 32% 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 three years of the initial investment. However, global technology company leaders surveyed indicate that the biggest challenge in adopting virtual reality is “lack of employee or cultural support,” with 29% 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 and Telecoms, Hong Kong, KPMG China. “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.”