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Report: Impact of Emerging Technologies on Business

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Tech Trends report from Deloitte shows how technologies such as Mixed Reality are being adopted by industry. 

The Technology in the mid-market: Closing the gap report details the results of a survey of technology impact among private mid-size companies in the U.S. According to Deloitte, this mid-market is under-reported, but its size and relevance to the economy is significant– roughly 34% of the U.S. workforce and revenue totals $3.2 trillion, which equals it to the world’s 4th largest economy.

Over half of respondents have ongoing or planned AR/ VR projects Click To Tweet

The survey results showed how companies are deploying emerging technologies and what benefits they can have for them in terms of growth, productivity, governance, recruiting and many other areas. It spans various emerging verticals and themes, including how robotics and MI are preventing mechanical failures and providing cost-savings in the construction industry, and how cloud is helping US biopharma reach clients across the globe.

Emerging technologies create new ways of engaging employees and interacting with customers Click To Tweet

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Immersive Technologies on the Rise

More than half of the respondents report their companies have AR/ VR pilot projects in the works or already begun, while a third say they have already graduated to deployment stage. Two-thirds of respondents said their companies were experimenting, building, or had developed mature applications of mixed reality technology. Among specific sectors, energy firms are amongst the ones investing most heavily in such projects.

While virtual reality adoption is still maturing, the business gains are real Click To Tweet

Respondents say mixed-reality technologies are proving particularly useful in employee learning and operations-related tasks, with consumer products and financial services firms most likely to use virtual and augmented reality for training programs. Technology and consumer products firms, meanwhile, were most likely to apply virtual and augmented reality to tasks involving technicians, warehouse workers, or advanced machinery.

Two thirds of mid-sized companies are building Mixed Reality applications Click To Tweet

Firms that are using these technologies say growing numbers of customers see the value in such investments. David Anderson, SVP and CIO at the global engineering firm CH2M, says clients who are developing “smart cities” recognize how machine intelligence can revolutionize traffic and transportation management.

“The P3 (private, public partnership) environment understands it,” Anderson says. “Economic development officials are envisioning the art of the possible during the project definition phase and understand the potential use of sensor technologies to forecast traffic patterns, gauge business activity, and plan for consumer flows. It’s a matter of recognizing what technology.”

We asked Deloitte’s Anthony Stephan what growth – both in terms of interest and investment – they had observed in the past year regarding the adoption of immersive technologies such as AR/VR/MR in business. He told us that the survey data proves that companies in this market segment see the return on investment with emerging technologies and the excitement is building for mixed reality in the workplace.

“While virtual reality adoption is still maturing, the business gains are, in fact, real. The overall investment in tech for mid-market and private companies is up, and continuing to rise year over year, with 69 percent of companies report a higher tech spend this year from 2016.”

Stephan, who is principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and U.S. technology strategy, adds that there are many use cases to explore with mixed reality in business, and a big win is helping employees with continuous learning and growth in their job.

“Our data shows that 53 percent of mid-market and private companies surveyed place employee training, education and learning at the top of the list for using mixed reality. Looking ahead, we can see this type of emerging technology creating a new way of engaging employees and interacting with customers.”

Stephan concludes that there is no evidence of investments in emerging technology slowing down. In fact, their findings suggest that mid-market companies are spending at a higher rate on average, on technology (mid-market companies spend on average 3.9 percent versus companies over a billion dollars are spending 3.1 percent)

“For mixed reality, 53 percent of mid-market and private companies surveyed already have AR/VR pilot projects, and 67 percent are building, experimenting or have already developed mature applications. We expect even broader adoption over the next several years.”

Mixed Reality is proving particularly useful in employee learning and operations-related tasks Click To Tweet

Key findings of the report show that:

  • Businesses are increasingly focused on using breakthrough technologies to attract customers and understand their behavior.
  • More than 50% of mid-sized companies have AR/VR pilot projects in the works
  • While Analytics and cloud solutions remain top priorities in the IT agenda, most companies have started putting other breakthrough technologies such as blockchain and mixed reality on their radar.
  • 2/3 of mid-sized companies are building mature applications of mixed reality
  • Organizations are increasingly seeing value in aligning their business and technology requirements more closely.
  • C-suite dynamics are shifting, bringing much closer collaboration between IT and business leaders
  • Respondents recognize that a wide spectrum of technology-related trends are yielding productivity gains, and are increasing their IT budgets to implement them
  • 54% of mid-sized companies are using cognitive interpretation to turn images and text into data they can use
  • Companies have become much more comfortable maintaining security around cloud integration and mobility
  • Fifty-two percent of respondents replied that they’re using mixed reality for employee training, education and learning
  • 41% of respondents are using cloud-based applications to enable global expansion – up from 34% last year, and 51% are leveraging cloud to address growth needs.
Growing numbers of customers see the value in such emerging technology investments Click To Tweet

Tech Trends’  Virtual Reality Consultancy services offers support for companies looking to get a foothold in the growing Mixed Reality spectrum and enhance their brand strategy with immersive technologies. 

Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio and @techtrends_tech on Twitter.