At The Forefront Of Tech Adoption

Over 80% of South African companies adapt to new technology compared to two thirds in the UK and Europe.

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South African companies are among the fastest adopters of new technology in the world, according to a survey by leading fleet management provider TomTom Telematics. The survey revealed that 66% of companies across the United Kingdom and Europe are early adopters, whereas 82% of South African companies are quick to respond to innovation.


“Technological advancement has accelerated at a rapid rate in recent years, with no signs of slowing down,” says Justin Manson, Sales Director for TomTom Telematics South Africa.

“Previously, companies could take a wait-and-see approach, following on their peers’ successes. Only then would they implement well-established technologies, but this approach is no longer an option as businesses are now expected to become more connected, mobile and adaptable to change.”

How tech impacts business

The study was conducted among 1 400 business managers in the UK and six European countries and duplicated in South Africa among 100 business managers. Nearly half (47%) of companies in the UK and Europe study expect artificial intelligence to become part of the normal working day in the next ten years, compared to 63% in South Africa. Also, 39% of respondents in the bigger study believe virtual reality will soon be in common use, while 65% of South Africans feel this way.

In addition, 28% predict connected cars will be commonplace during this period, and 25% anticipate ‘in-vehicle working’ will become prevalent due to the development of autonomous vehicles. In South Africa, 41% of respondents envision a rise in self-driving cars over the next ten years.

Already, several car makers are producing commercially available semi-autonomous vehicles that can steer, park and avoid collisions.

In Europe, 21% of respondents believe companies will adopt the use of microchip implants on their employees, while 45% in South Africa see this happening over the next ten years. Almost two thirds (62%) of businesses say remote working is — or will be — the norm for their employees, while 74% of South African leaders agreed with this sentiment. A discrepancy between SMEs and large corporates currently allowing employees to work remotely was also identified, with 52% of SMEs offering this, compared to 66% of large corporates.

Staying ahead

While businesses see technological innovation picking up momentum in the medium term, leaders fear that their companies will struggle to keep pace. More than half (55%) of businesses believe those who fail to embrace digitised processes and the Internet of Things (IoT) are at a higher risk of going out of business.

This varies significantly from country to country, with 81% of Spanish leaders and 79% of Polish managers feeling that they risk failure if they don’t adapt, while less than half (49%) of UK leaders agree. In South Africa, 70% of business managers believe this to be true.

“These trends highlight a possible gap between access to and investment in connected technology,” Justin says. “Every business is different and each one needs to conduct its own thorough research on the role that technology can play in future-proofing its operation, delivering greater efficiencies and creating more employee satisfaction.”

Competitive advantages in tech

  • 55% Businesses that believe those who fail to embrace digitised processes and the Internet of Things (IoT) are at a higher risk of going out of business.
  • 74% South African business leaders who believe remote working will be the norm for their employees.
  • 52% South African SMEs offering remote working opportunities, compared to 66% of corporates.

The lesson: With the right tech solutions, SMEs can implement a clear competitive edge.

TomTom Telematics is a Business Unit of TomTom dedicated to fleet management, vehicle telematics and connected car services. Its  Software-as-a-Service solutions are used by small to large businesses to improve vehicle performance, save fuel, support drivers and increase overall fleet efficiency.

In addition, TomTom Telematics provides services for the insurance, rental and leasing industries, car importers and companies that address businesses as well as consumers.

TomTom Telematics is one of the world’s leading telematics solution providers with more than 861 000 connected cars worldwide. The company services drivers in more than 60 countries, giving them the industry’s strongest local support network and widest range of sector-specific third party applications and integrations. Our customers benefit every day from the high standards of confidentiality, integrity and availability of our ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified service, re-audited in November 2017.

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