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Are businesses ready for the connected world?

In recent years, the growth of technology has accelerated at a rapid rate.  And it is showing no signs of slowing down.

Whereas before, companies could hang back, take the lead from their peers and only implement technology when it was well-established, resting on your laurels is no longer an option.

Businesses are now expected to constantly be behind the wheel, steering their processes and workplace environment towards becoming more and more digitised and connected.

And it appears that business leaders are fully-aware of this changing landscape – but are they ready for it?

According to Webfleet’ latest study, almost half (47 per cent) expect artificial intelligence to become part of the normal working day within the next ten years.

The research, conducted among 1,400 business managers across seven countries, found that 39 per cent believe virtual reality will soon be in common use.

Almost one third (28 per cent) predict connected cars will be regularly used, and one in four (25 per cent) anticipate in-vehicle working will become prevalent due to the development of autonomous vehicles.

Furthermore, one in five (21 per cent) believe companies could be using microchip implants on their employees.

But the study also highlighted a fear among leaders that their business will struggle to keep pace with the rate of technological development (43 per cent).

Our infographic reveals wider insights from the study.

Recent years have also borne witness to a rise in remote working, enabled by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The benefits of IoT, including the freedom it affords employees, is something leaders are attuned to and are increasingly reacting to.

The new research found that more than half (55 per cent) of businesses believe those who fail to embrace digitalised processes and the Internet of Things (IoT) are at a greater risk of going out of business.

This varies significantly country to country, with 81 per cent of Spanish leaders and 79 per cent of Polish managers believing businesses risk failure if they don’t adapt but less than half (49 per cent) of UK leaders agree.

Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of businesses say remote working is – or will be – the norm for their employees.  Three in four (74 per cent) Polish leaders said it was, or soon expect it to be, standard working practice, compared to just 46 per cent of UK leaders.

A discrepancy between SMEs and large corporates currently allowing employees to work remotely was also identified, with 52 per cent of small to medium sized companies offering this, compared to 66 per cent of large corporates. This highlights a possible gap between access to and investment in connected technology.

What is clear from the research is that there is a widespread understanding of the importance of emerging technologies within the business arena – but due to the rapid growth and ever-evolving nature of technological development, leaders are cautious about adopting and adapting to new ways of working.

Businesses should focus on thoroughly researching the technologies that will enhance, enrich and future-proof their business, moreover, they should seek out the providers who can offer the right support to ensure that they are – and will continue to be – at the forefront of change.

Beverley Wise
As Webfleet Regional Director UKI for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, Beverley Wise has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, primarily within the leasing sector. She firmly believes that being a decisive leader is key to delivering great success. She likes to innovate with her mantra of "Ask for forgiveness, not permission," helping to move businesses forward. She has a strong work ethic and strives to be the best she can be, which she likes to instil into teams she manages, being fair but firm with a high degree of empathy. Beverley has been with Webfleet overseeing UKI sales for six years, where she has seen several changes. She is passionate about the future of the automotive industry, believing that the transition to electric or alternative-fuelled vehicles is a real game changer.

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