A new report by MIT Technology Review Insights, in association with Huawei, finds that digital transformation in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand is already heavily underway particularly in terms of internal systems, products and services.
The digitalization of manufacturing and supply chains is lagging, but will be substantially accelerated by the launch of 5G.
The report From follower to leader: Digital transformation and the road to 5G is based on a multi-industry survey of senior technology executives across the six Asia-Pacific markets as well as expert interviews.
It examines how companies are deploying Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies such as cloud, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, robotics, blockchain, and virtual and augmented reality, as well as preparing for the opportunities that will open up through 5G.
“This survey finds that executives in Asia Pacific are bullish on new technology, with the majority having plans to launch either AI, automation, or IoT within a year,” says Claire Beatty, editor of the report. “They also have high expectations that 5G will be available within the next two years, and that the manufacturing, financial services and automotive sectors will benefit the most.”
Key findings from the study include:
- Southern Asia Pacific is a front-runner in the digital era.
- Homegrown companies are solving unique regional challenges.
- Asia Pacific is already a test-bed for 5G.
- Companies expect 5G within two to three years. 51% are investing in technologies that can be deployed when 5G is launched.
- Regulatory reform, data security, and organizational stasis are obstacles to digital transformation in the 5G era.
- Over the past decade, Asia Pacific has transitioned from being the world’s factory to a leading developer of next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, big data, blockchain, cloud computing, connected devices, robotics, and virtual/augmented reality.
- Companies and governments in Asia are competing – and in some domains, leading – the development and deployment of next-generation technology.
- Companies in southern Asia Pacific have already made the greatest headway in transforming enterprise technology and internal systems, followed by customer-facing processes and products and services.
- Collaboration and ecosystem development will further fuel digital transformation. Only 35% of respondents believe that there is sufficient infrastructure in terms of regulation, connectivity, and public services to support further digitalization. Some 83% believe that telecom operators will lead the 5G ecosystem, and a further 70% feel that governments should create a collaborative environment for 5G.
- From smarter cities to futuristic factories, immersive entertainment and holographic conferences to autonomous vehicles, all technology categories will be upgraded by 5G.
- Across southern Asia Pacific, industry is gearing up for 5G. The next waves of digitalization are around products and services and customer facing processes. Improving customer experience is also the single biggest driver of technology adoption across the region.
- Despite the differences between the six surveyed markets, there is rapid digitalization taking place right across the region as companies prepare to gain competitive advantage from emerging technologies such as IoT, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
- This survey has shown significant momentum in the current digital transformation taking place across the region. From AI and automation all the way to cloud computing and robotics, businesses are deploying the technologies that will provide an advantage both now and in the future.
- Firms slow to recognize the tectonic shifts of the 3G-4G transition suffered for their sluggishness with diminishing market share, or worse. Those who foresaw new use cases, and built the platforms to deliver them, prospered. This inability to adapt fast enough is already cited among survey respondents as a common obstacle to next-gen tech adoption.
- All transformative technologies impact regulatory and legal structures.
- Cybersecurity does not appear to be an overwhelming concern among survey participants – only 19% ranked it as a top 3 obstacle in their adoption of next-generation technologies but whether that is because they feel secure, or that they do not yet know how they are vulnerable, only time will tell.
- A final challenge for companies and digital economies as a whole are transition costs and upgrade complexities both to next-generation technologies and 5G. – Enterprise Innovation