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7 New Tech Trends For Asia Pacific Businesses: Part 1

By Kawal Preet | First published: July 15, 2020    Updated: November 12, 2021

Technology and rapid digitization is remaking the business landscape. And small businesses that take advantage of digital disruption are driving economic growth.

So, what is needed most right now to accelerate innovation, drive growth and do business amid uncertainty? Ready-for-anything agility and adaptability.

Digital disruption is changing the face of Asian business landscape faster than ever. And in the COVID-19 era, there’s a new urgency for businesses to aggressively digitize in response to rapid economic shifts.

So, what is needed most right now to accelerate innovation, drive growth and do business amid uncertainty? Ready-for-anything agility and adaptability . Yet when we think of digital disruption, it’s often the world of tech that springs to mind – phones, autonomous vehicles, robots. Or most recently, remote working and video conferencing tools.

But the new trends center on invisible tech and with it, a new mentality. How we can harness intelligence to fundamentally change how we connect, run our business, or make life easier for customers.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) fueled enterprises

The main trend driving all others is that digital innovation will continue to be powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – the complex, computer-driven intelligence that’s seeing systems learn through huge amounts of data and computing power.
So, what is needed most right now to accelerate innovation, drive growth and do business amid uncertainty? Ready-for-anything agility and adaptability.

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Already, AI affects our lives in transformational ways – the navigation apps we use, the media services we stream, or the ride-sharing apps we rely on. We are also turning to AI for help in diagnosing and treating coronavirus, and in technology tools to track and fight the pandemic.

In the future, more technologies will be embedded with AI – not just in our homes or transport, but in our enterprises. Currently, more than 50% of companies in APAC have launched AI-based solutions or tools. Their top three priorities include customer experience, faster and sounder business decision-making ability and enhanced operational efficiency. Others are using AI to drive up sales – for instance, one Japanese clothing retailer improved its sales 10-30% by understanding how to better allocate staff.

Also, the science of predictive data analytics is transforming the business landscape, using machine learning and statistical modelling to predict future behaviour and outcomes. We’ve gone from being able to look at what happened, to what is happening, to predictive analytics about what is going to happen.

2. Democratization of machine learning to empower more digital upstarts

At the same time, AI’s offshoot, machine learning – where intelligent algorithms find and apply patterns in data that fuel our latest AI apps and advancements – is becoming more ‘democratized’.

Machine learning is now so widespread that it’s less of a disruptive technology and more an integral part of companies’ competitive strategy. In fact, technology is transforming so fast you don't need coding or data science skills to do it. That’s a real game-changer, especially for Asian SMEs.
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We expect to see empowered Asian businesses starting to build more of their own AI solutions, thanks to the power of high-velocity computing in tandem with off-the-shelf algorithms. We also expect to see more digital upstarts: with business models built entirely on AI-enabled services and product innovation. Take, for example, Native Union, an up-and-coming luxury tech brand that’s tapping into global demand for wireless charging.

3. Wider adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) across Asia Pacific

Robotic process automation (RPA) is among the fastest-growing segments of the global enterprise software market. Businesses in Asia, big and small, are spearheading the mass adoption of RPA, particularly in consumer electronics. With high cost-effectiveness and scalability, RPA uses robotics to automate and streamline tedious tasks. It’s in even greater demand now because of new requirements for social distancing and less human-to-human contact in business processes.

Bots have also been used by authorities in Asia Pacific during the COVID-19 pandemic to gather infection data and speed up collation and contact tracing. But the advantages of RPA were clear long before coronavirus. For instance, in Singapore, we use a robot to automatically send messages for missing scans to on-road couriers to improve customer service. That’s turned a three-step process – ordinarily taking FedEx staff up to four hours daily - into a 20-minute automated task. Our teams, freed up from collating this information, instead focus on value-added solutions and interaction with customers.

4. Strategic automation to become integral

The future is also intelligent when it comes to something even less visible – strategic automation. Strategic automation means taking a holistic approach, looking at the overall needs of the business to free up employees from simple or repetitive responsibilities so they can focus on more meaningful work that ultimately optimizes operations, removes redundancy and fosters employee career growth.

We know from our own experience that when launching any new technology, these core business values are key to decision-making about when and what to automate:

  • Compliance
  • Job satisfaction
  • Productivity improvement
  • Consistency and reliability
  • Scalability
  • Cost saving
  • Customer experience

Head straight over to part two to discover the rest of our essential tech trends in Asia Pacific.
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About the Author
the author bio

Kawal Preet

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as an engineer at FedEx over 27 years ago. She’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA and is based in Singapore.

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