The UK technology industry is in good health. Amid headwinds that have slowed growth in most other sectors – the Covid-19 productivity pandemic, slowing global markets leading to hypercompetition and a shortage of skilled workers – UK-based technologies continue to grow rapidly.
Technology in the UK has already surpassed the $ 1 trillion estimate, becoming the third country to do so. His predecessors, of course, were longtime industrial titans, China and the United States.
While many will dismiss this as a random figure, it provides a worthy opportunity to review the success of technology in the UK in recent years and assess how far this growth could lead over the next decade.
Today, the growth rate of unicorns in Europe is twice as high as in the United States. The United Kingdom is responsible for more than a third of Europe’s new technological unicorns – there is a palpable sense that the continent is catching up with its more established counterparts. With the right level of continued support and investment, I expect the United Kingdom to be able to maintain its position as a major driver of growth here.
Which raises the question: how will UK technology move forward from its position of power? There are a number of emerging trends that point to what lies ahead in the next decade.
Continued growth of digital technologies
One thing is for sure – we can expect to see the technology industry continue to invest in new ways to reach more distant corners of our lives. The remarkable rise of large technology companies has raised the bar for all endeavors, leading to a culture of start-up that is ripe with potential.
Technical literacy by nature will only increase over time. This means that it has never been easier for businesses to promote new products to consumers. The culture of disturbance, along with the enormous shaking of societal norms fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, has created an appetite for challenging and revising the status quo.
The UK Government is particularly supportive, which has led technology companies here to be in a good position to experiment and build advanced market positions in emerging technologies. In practice, this will mean more innovative and globally relevant fintechs, along with newer products and platforms, including IoT, AI and AR – which, as mentioned above, are sold in a more receptive consumer market and thus perceived. much faster than previous innovations such as the cloud.
Conversely, the introduction of smarter technologies into everyday life will have consequences, especially when it comes to digital privacy. By 2017, more than half of adults in the UK said they “hated” targeted advertising – and the growth and improvement of big data in the coming years means that this trend will become more significant.
The improved ability of global digital infrastructure to manage vast amounts of consumer data and the splitting of individual markets at the behest of paying customers has turned data into big business, sparking a flurry of mistrust that goes hand in hand with growing technology literacy. These are already hot topics in the sector – encryption, data processing and the development of open source algorithms are considered crucial aspects in the development of new platforms. Startups that act in good faith are likely to feel increased pressure to respond with stable and transparent confidentiality if they want to gain the trust of consumers.
Cultural change to continue
Along with the renewed focus on emerging technologies and privacy issues over the next decade, we are likely to see more effort in the industry to address the long-standing problems of diversity and skills shortages. In many ways, these issues are intertwined.
The Tech for Diversity report 22 highlights that six out of ten (62%) technicians identify the lack of women in leadership roles in their company, with three quarters noting almost no representation of ethnic minorities. Leaving aside the optics, there are a number of worthy business cases to deal with this inequality. Technology startups are increasingly vigilant about this, with the majority of technology companies in the UK saying they are actively promoting minority recruitment.
First, there is a strong argument that more diverse teams produce better technology. In a competitive technology ecosystem, new companies can live or die from their reputation. Many companies, incl some of the big technology brandshave become a PR disaster in the development of products supported by artificial intelligence, which in the public release showed that they are programmed with significant bias and blind spots.
Research conducted by McKinsey suggests that teams with greater ethnic and gender diversity in leadership are up to 36% more likely to perform well than less diverse teams. With so many new businesses desperate to sharpen their competitive advantage, that’s a staggering number. According to my experience in developing products with scaling of technology startups in recent years, the benefits of different sets of experience in development and leadership teams coincide with my perceptions and will probably be something we will see more in the future.
Of course, there is no guarantee that this period of technology boom in the UK will last forever. Indeed, a more saturated field is likely to mean more failures. But the last few years have painted an encouraging picture for the health of the sector. Built-in resilience to wider economic challenges, fueled by flexible working cultures and global investor confidence, along with delayed but significant efforts to improve domestic culture, promote diversity and attract staff from diverse backgrounds, signal optimism. the next decade.
Ritam Gandhi is the founder and director of Grafen Studio, London-based company that specializes in the development of blank canvas technology products, including applications, websites, AR, IoT and more.