Despite 15% of all businesses adopting at least one AI technology already, a new report into the future of businesses by Virgin Money, has found 85% of SMEs are likely to adopt new technology in the next 5 years in order to support their growth. Over a quarter (26%) plan to use virtual reality, almost a third (31%) will use artificial intelligence, and two in five (39%) will utilise data science.
If we can expect to see businesses adopting these technologies in only the next five years, what will the future of business really look like in 2050? Experts at Virgin Money have identified the biggest players when it comes to technology and transforming how we do business, from quantum computers to virtual agents. So what will a ‘normal’ day look like for businesses in 2050? Expert futurologist Dave Coplin, partnered with Virgin Money to share his predictions for the Quantum Leap report:
Our very own digital twins
“We may already choose profile pictures that sit above the messages we send using Slack and IM, but our avatars have the potential to be handling much more of our business in the future.
“Expect to see exact digital copies of us, programmed with your unique persona to make informed business decisions on your behalf. For the times when you’re stuck on the train, taking some well deserved time off, or occupied by another meeting, your avatar will be able to make that snappy decision that you’re needed for completely independently.
“This technological advancement could be exactly what the ‘Burnout Epidemic’ following COVID required in order to alleviate some of the stresses and worries of businesses and employees.”
Larger than life virtual agents
“Although artificial virtual agents can work for businesses today, customers’ ability to spot when something isn’t right and dismiss virtual agents can make it a tricky technology to embrace.
“However, with over a quarter century’s worth of knowledge and programming, virtual agents could be so lifelike that we’re able to interact with them on a human level without a second thought.
“Near-perfect personalisation and the ability to interact with customers globally based on their individual buyer journey will enable businesses to truly troubleshoot and support their customer base 24/7, without the need for human intervention – convenient for businesses and the customer.”
Incorporating quantum computers
“While quantum computing isn’t a daily concern for business owners right now, it will become absolutely vital in powering the many other technologies we’ll be using in 2050.
“Quantum computers can store and analyse data on every possible action and reaction for multiple situations to inform your avatars and virtual agents, enabling them to make successful decisions calculated by powerful algorithms. The vast amount of power that quantum computers offer is what allows the other technologies in your business to perform under all possible circumstances without needing humans to step in.”
Finance through futuristic banking
“As business owners already know, funding and investments can’t always guarantee success, making it sometimes difficult to grow and develop your business as quickly as you would sometimes like to.
“Advanced financial industry insight, combined with your business’s own financial position, will allow banks to calculate and minimise risks associated with an investment, enabling businesses to adapt through periods of rapid growth.
“Banks will be able to provide the right funds and loans with a guaranteed return of investment for your business, enabling you to pay the money back with complete confidence.”
Dave comments: “While most business owners would love to have a crystal ball to predict future opportunities and barriers, the reality is in the past 30 years our lives and businesses have undergone dramatic change that very few people foresaw.
“In the 1990s, businesses sent letters printed on dot-matrix printers or faxes to communicate, unable to predict we’d be using a device that fits in our pocket to power the daily virtual meetings we’re so used to today. The next three decades are likely to be similarly transformational, so SME leaders should focus on building their capacity to adapt their business in response.”
Virgin Money’s report also found that while SMEs are aware of the rapid growth required for the future, 39% attribute a lack of time and 30% attribute a lack of money preventing them from using advanced technology.
Following the biggest economic output drop in 300 years caused by the pandemic2, how can businesses build back without falling behind due to a lack of technological innovation?
Kash Ahmad, Head of Business Banking at Virgin Money, said: “Our research reveals that SMEs are busy and have a lack of time to invest, so they want a partner who can help them access financial information and solutions quickly and efficiently to help their future growth. That’s why we’ve created M-Track, which provides an online dashboard for customers to track their business’ health by combining their business current account data, accountancy software, e-commerce platform and other business tools.”
To access the full report visit: https://www.virginmoneyukplc.com/newsroom/article/by-2050-SME-ran-by-avatars/ and to find out more about M-Track, visit: https://uk.virginmoney.com/business/ways-of-banking/m-track/