Two in five (40%) of UK businesses plan to make investment into artificial intelligence (AI) a priority in 2021, new research from Fountech Solutions found.
Firms intend to utilise AI to help them adapt to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the survey of 772 decision makers within UK businesses.
Almost a third (30%) of businesses are set to pilot an AI solution for the first time over the coming 12 months, due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Some 41% of businesses plan to hire new talent to work specifically with AI, while almost half (48%) will send employees for AI-related training in 2021.
Businesses are also looking to external AI experts to help them use the technology to overcome challenges posed by COVID-19, with 44% of businesses planning to engage with third parties to help with their AI requirements.
As AI and automation becomes more common in the UK workplace, more than half (58%) of firms plan to invest more heavily in training their employees so they can better deploy these new technologies, according to the survey.
Some 61% of businesses feel that embracing AI will give their business a sustainable competitive advantage in the long term.
Ero Georgiades, chief operating officer of Fountech Solutions, said: “In difficult and unexpected circumstances like these, businesses naturally look to leverage new solutions that will ensure that they can ride out the storm and emerge in a strong position on the other side.
“To that end, COVID-19 has been a powerful catalyst for AI adoption across all industries, as firms large and small alike seek technologies that can improve efficiency or create new commercial opportunities.
“2021 looks set to be the year that AI adoption explodes. Indeed, the research shows that, having had a taste of what AI has to offer, many businesses will now be exploring how they can utilise deep tech to empower their employees and better service their customers.
“No doubt, we can expect AI to play a major role as businesses look to rebuild and grow in the coming months.”
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