Utilities organisations have already embraced 3D printing (36%), AI (35%), blockchain (34%) and robotics (34%). The next most pressing technology they are set to invest in is 5G, with almost three quarters (74%) of utilities companies planning to adopt or use 5G within the next one to five years. In fact, utilities leaders believe 5G (47%), AI including RPA (34%) and virtual reality (24%) will be the top three technologies which will most change their organisation in the coming five years.
Over the past five years, almost three quarters (73%) of UK utilities leaders believe technological innovation has positively impacted their organisation. 69% of utilities leaders feel the sector has experienced radical change which has been met positively by almost all (96%) leaders in the sector, and the majority (71%) of leaders only expect this pace of change to accelerate.
Commenting on the results, Graeme Wright, CDO for Manufacturing and Utilities at Fujitsu UK&I said: “Leaders in the utilities space see themselves as early adopters. Yet, while it’s encouraging that the sector is looking to make the most of new technologies like 5G, organisations must ensure they are putting the right plans in place, so they can truly take advantage of the technology once it’s implemented. Only then will they be able to genuinely improve efficiency, data collection and the working day of employees and customers end services. Also, as with any new connectivity solutions, utility companies will need to ensure that they embed security in its foundations to ensure their networks are kept secure as a breach could lead to a denial of critical services for end users.”
Despite this eagerness to embrace new and emerging technologies, utilities leaders are struggling to identify what the future will look like. Almost two-thirds (60%) of leaders admit they cannot predict what customers will want from their organisation over the next five years, and most (58%) also said they cannot predict what their sector will resemble in five years.
“The utilities sector is continually charged with finding ways to innovate and cut costs which lead to consumer savings, as well as how to make the sector more sustainable” continued Wright. “The industry is currently undergoing a period of change, looking at what technologies and innovations will take their business through the next five years and beyond. In order to be able to understand which technologies will help set them up for the future and meet consumer expectations, utilities organisations are going to need the right talent and support.”
“Having the right external support can ensure utilities organisations have the right future looking minds which can help them keep abreast of new technologies. Combined with their own talented workforce, utilities companies will have the skills, knowledge and future thinking that will provide them with the roadmap for an innovative and sustainable future, which will benefit generations to come.”