Reluctance to invest in emerging technologies is harming industry

A reluctance to invest in emerging technologies is holding the UK tech sector back from achieving its true potential. According to Barclays Corporate Banking survey, 43 per cent of technologies such as the internet of things, machine learning and big data will boost profits. However, many manufacturers are still reluctant to invest in smart technology in their factories, despite more than half of them reporting that technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and big data have improved productivity. The survey found that this reluctance could cost manufacturers £102bn a year in lost revenue.

The survey revealed that 35 per cent of manufacturers would be more likely to invest if they understood the tangible benefits of smart tech better, with 23 per cent not clear what the return on investment would be.

Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing at Barclays, said: “British manufacturing is going through another industrial revolution, but confidence alone does not translate into success and benefit,” he said. “With sterling currently weaker and a robust appetite from domestic and international markets for British goods, the industry is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities that investing in fourth industrial revolution technologies can bring.”

While the research found that manufacturers could miss out on £102 billion worth of revenue due to lack of funding, the survey also found that 83 per cent of those manufacturers are ‘confident about the UK’s ability to compete in the international marketplace over the next five years’. According to those surveyed, skills shortage is biggest challenge to digital strategies, while an increase in cyber attacks was also a concern raised. 

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