Whitepaper 1.0: B2B Technology Trends
The B2B emerging technology industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors and it shows no signs of slowing down. IoT alone is projected to reach US$ 1,102 billion by 2026. As the industry continues to grow exponentially, the competition for firms grows fiercer. ‘Emerging technology’, as a market has seen some of the highest levels of start-up companies. Higher levels of competition will benefit the industry as a whole, due to companies continuously endeavouring to out-compete with newer and better technology, the consequence being, new innovations are constantly brought to the market. However, a saturated landscape makes it especially challenging for a new entrant to stand out.
There are so many new technologies entering the market and many of these innovations are not restricted to just one sector. The most recent technological advancements are universal and can be applied to multiple sectors from manufacturing to healthcare. Some of the most popular B2B technology trends over the past year have been Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain and Robotic Process Automation. The concern posed here is that all of these technologies can be relevant to various sectors which for a start-up can be daunting, especially when considering a sales and marketing strategy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is the result of a cortex of machine learning algorithms and refers to the concept of computing software that’ s able to think for itself and act in a ‘human’ way. An AI consumes data, which could come in any form, and uses algorithms to make intelligent decisions autonomously. Due to advances in research and development, detailed algorithms have been produced allowing an AI system to perform huge computing tasks faster and more efficiently than the human mind. It is estimated that around 62% of B2B enterprises are now using AI as part of their day-to-day operations. One of the more common applications for industry AI is in the performing of HR administrative tasks, such as scanning CVs, writing compelling job descriptions and scheduling interviews. It eliminates the need for staff to conduct repetitive administrative tasks and allow them to focus on more imperative duties.
AI is facing a lot of challenges within the enterprise field, one of the main ones being the race towards the AI cloud. The more data a machine learning system has access to, the higher quality decisions it will provide over time. Some of the major corporate players like Microsoft and Google are leading the race at the moment, however, start-ups are hot on their heels. Stanford University concluded that start-ups in the AI market have increased by 1400% since 2000, so it is integral for them to demonstrate their USPs to stand a fighting chance in this market.
In addition to this, companies who have implemented AI into their operations tend to stay with their initial vendor due to the high cost investment involved and the systems becoming more efficient over time. The longer data is recorded, the more accurate the predictions.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to physical devices that are connected to the internet, each one creating a unified feed of sensor data, which can be developed to create an interconnected network of devices. Data is more often than not, fed into a cloud-based system, collating the data for analysis so more informed decisions can be made. When combined with machine learning, a business can begin to automate processes to increase their level of efficiency.
IoT is growing exponentially, in 2006 there were 2 billion connected devices and Intel predicts this to grow to 200 billion by the end of the year. Smart devices aren’t just your household Alexa taking down your shopping list, there are hundreds of smart objects in factories and businesses each with different applications, an IoT sensor can make nearly every asset ‘smart’. IoT provides major industries the vital data they need to track all aspects of their operations. From this visibility, businesses can increase efficiency and reduce costs. The industry that is currently leading the way with IoT implementation is the manufacturing sector with 40.2% uptake. IoT allows for organisation-wide real-time analytics of manufacturing lines and equipment.
However, a recent report published by Microsoft suggests that the UK is falling behind in their adoption of IoT compared with other European countries and North America and potentially missing out on the economic benefits of a digital economy.
Robotic process automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an emerging form of process automation that allows businesses to automate their standard processes, leading to reduced staff overhead costs and the chance for human error. The main challenge facing RPA at this time is scalability, a recent study conducted by Deloitte concluded that only around 3% of organisations have managed to scale RPA to 50 or more robots. Businesses cannot gain from the true value of RPA until it is fully scaled, so RPA providers need to focus their attention on growing within the current clients, then expand outwards.
Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology that allows multiple users to store and share cryptographically protected information. Blockchain’s functionalities have very much evolved from just digital currency, it’s now proving its multifaceted capabilities that can be implemented across various industries. There are a lot of predictions as to which industries will be the main adopters of blockchain technology, some of the key expectations are: financial services, supply chain and healthcare.
Although there has been drastic changes to the B2B technology field and fierce competition, one thing remains the same; know your customer. No matter how innovative your product is, if it doesn’t have a real-world application that customers find valuable, you will not succeed.