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Top tech stats: 76% of businesses want increased government support, consumers embrace AI & more

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Welcome to your round up of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week, we have statistics relating to IoT and the connected home, government support to UK businesses and AI-driven consumer technology.

Connected homes

Research by Bitdefenders has revealed while eight in 10 of UK technology users have heard of the ‘smart home’, only two in 10 who live in a connected home are actually aware of it.

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On average, these connected homes have at least 12 smart devices, and laptops are the most popular way to store private files.

However, the survey also found 35% of Brits are worried about their personal information being stolen, and, although 47% of users have a unique password for each of their IoT devices, 38% have never updated their software.

Government support

O2’s Business Barometer has discovered 76% of businesses want the government to do more to help them navigate around the challenges posed by Brexit and remain competitive next year.

In order to do this, the survey of 1,200 identified five key focus areas that the government need to prioritise. These were a reduction in red tape (64%), improved access to technology and connectivity (48%), increased access to funding (41%), improved access to talent and training (39%) and improved trade agreements (37%).

Painting a positive picture for 2017, the survey also revealed 64% of UK businesses plan to expand into new markets, and 69% intend to bring new products or services to market this year. 80% of businesses expect technology to be a significant driver of commercial gain in 2017.

Additionally, 59% of businesses cited better connectivity as a benefit to their organisation, and 46% said that improved physical infrastructure would help them.

Ben Dowd, sales director at O2, commented: “The O2 Business Barometer offers a stark reminder that mobile technology is now a vital part of modern life and business and it’s transforming our economy. For us to continue to deliver a customer-centred digital transformation it has to be supported by further digital infrastructure investment.

“The Government has set out its plans for a ‘world class digital infrastructure’. Now it’s time for action. We need collective effort from Government and industry to make sure businesses across Britain have access to the technology and connectivity they need to keep up with their customers’ demands, achieve growth and remain competitive on the global stage,” he added.

Consumer tech

“Dynamic Digital Consumers”, a survey of 26,000 consumers across 26 countries by Accenture, revealed that customers are increasingly embracing AI, such as digital voice assistants.

While only 4% of respondents said they own a digital voice-enabled assistant such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, 65% of owners said they use their device on a regular basis. Younger consumers are leading AI adoption, with 84% of 14-17 year olds saying they use this technology or that they are interested in doing so.

Some 54% of consumers surveyed said they intend to buy a smartphone in the next year, a rise of 6% since last year’s survey. 51% cited the ability to access the newest features and functions as the biggest driver of purchase, and 45% said the inadequate performance of their existing device is driving them towards purchasing a new smartphone.

David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture’s electronics and high-tech business, commented: “Improved features and falling prices are key reasons consumers around the world are signaling a desire to buy new smartphones. Growing acceptance of services powered by artificial intelligence, such as voice assistants, is also fueling this market upswing.

“2017 will be the year when artificial intelligence goes mainstream in consumer devices,” he concluded.

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