Smart tech is keeping Britain's businesses internationally competitive

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British businesses have been hailed for their open-ended approach to adopting new technology in a wide-ranging new report.

Overall, more than four in five manufacturers (83 per cent) are confident Britain is able to compete in the international marketplace in the next five years, according to new research from Barclays Corporate Banking.

What’s particularly interesting is that 43 per cent of those surveyed attribute this confidence to the fourth industrial revolution, which includes tech like machine learning and AI, IoT, sensors, and big data.

Of those that invested in technologies from the fourth industrial revolution, 51 per cent said it improved productivity, and 27 per cent said they are already seeing ROI.

But not all tech is created equal. While 76 per cent have adopted robotics, 43 per cent are yet to invest in AI.

Even though the respondents are confident about Britain’s position in the future, they also understand that the country is facing some tough competition. They ranked the UK behind China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Taiwan. They also believe the UK invests less than its international counterparts.

“Our research shows that manufacturers see the benefits of this cutting-edge technology, and many have started to match their intentions with investment. However, we are at a watershed,” commented Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing at Barclays.

“While the outlay may seem expensive for many at a time of uncertainty, the industry needs to raise its levels of investment in the skills and infrastructure needed to harness these new technologies and keep us more productive than other international manufacturing hubs.  Businesses that make the leap will be rewarded.”

“British manufacturing is going through another industrial revolution but confidence alone does not translate into success and benefit. With sterling currently weaker and a robust appetite from domestic and international markets for British goods, the industry is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities investing in fourth industrial revolution technologies can bring.”

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