News

pound
Press Releases

Good night Miss Moneypenny, hello Alexa

While cybersecurity and connectivity top the IT spending plans of UK businesses in 2019, the number of large firms using A.I. assistants will surpass human PAs and secretaries for the first time.

The number of big British businesses using Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered assistants will overtake those employing people as personal assistants (PAs) and secretaries for the first time during 2019, according to our new research.

Beaming’s study, which was conducted by researchers at Opinium, reveals that the proportion of large companies using products such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant to help with tasks such as dictation, information gathering and calendar management is expected to more than double in 2019, rising from 18% of the large business population to 39% by the end of the year.

Struggling with Digital Transformation?

When will AI take over human jobs?

Beaming expects the number of large companies using A.I. assistants to overtake the 32% of similarly sized businesses that employ human PAs and secretaries in August 2019.

The study reveals that the use of A.I. assistants will increase among all sizes of business in 2019, expanding from 17% to 27% of medium-sized companies and from 6% to 13% of small firms. Given this current rate of adoption, Beaming predicts that the employment of A.I. assistants will overtake human PAs and secretaries in medium-sized companies by the end of 2020 and at small firms in 2021.

Across all business sizes, A.I. assistants are already more common than their human counterparts in companies run by younger business leaders. Beaming’s research indicates that they will be as prevalent as PAs and secretaries in companies run by 35-54 years old leaders by the end of 2019.

‘The more companies turn to technology, the more it is important that they address fundamentals such as connectivity and cybersecurity’
Sonia Blizzard, managing director at Beaming

Sonia Blizzard, managing director at Beaming, comments: “Businesses of all sizes are undergoing a significant period of digital transformation, doing more online and making ever greater use of new technologies. A.I. is gaining in popularity because it augments how people operate in the workplace, making them smarter and more efficient. The more that companies turn to technology, however, the more it is important that they address fundamentals such as connectivity and cybersecurity, to ensure they have the speed, capacity and online resilience they need for the future.”

Cybersecurity and connectivity top IT investment agenda for 2019

Beaming’s study also reveals that cybersecurity and connectivity will top the IT investment agenda for UK businesses in 2019. Almost a third (30%) of companies questioned said they would invest further in cybersecurity this year, while a quarter (26%) said that they planned to improve their connectivity.

By comparing the results of its study with the Government’s business population estimates, Beaming estimates that 672,000 companies nationwide will spend more than £837 million enhancing their antivirus and anti-malware software this year, while a further 284,000 firms plan to spend £549 million on new network perimeter firewalls to control traffic entering and leaving their systems.

Connectivity is a major area of focus for micro, small and medium-sized businesses in particular. More than 400,000 firms intend spending up to £1.5bn on superfast fibre broadband services that will allow them to connect to the fibre network using their existing copper telephone lines.

Another 31,000 small and medium-sized businesses plan to go a step further and invest in fibre-optic leased lines to improve the speed, capacity and resilience of their connectivity. These businesses expect to spend over £1bn between them to extend the fibre network directly into their premises.

AI Versus human assistants

 

Adoption rates by business size

Estimated number of UK businesses:

Micro

1-9 people

Small

10-49

Medium

50-249

Large

250+

Employing PAs/secretaries 10%

376,341

22%

46,589

37%

12,756

32%

2,374

Already using A.I. assistants 4%

159,378

6%

11,647

17%

5,888

18%

1,325

Planning to invest in A.I. during 2019 1%

43,699

7%

14,559

10%

3,434

21%

1,601

Expected users by end of 2019 5%

203,077

13%

26,206

27%

9,322

39%

2,927

 

Adoption rates by business leader age 18-34 35-54 55+
Firms employing PAs/secretaries 14% 23% 24%
Already using A.I. assistants 16% 11% 4%
Planning to invest in A.I. during 2019 10% 12% 3%
Expected users by end of 2019 26% 23% 7%

Top 10 areas of investment in 2019

Adoption rates by business size

Estimated number of UK businesses / spend

Micro

1-9 people

Small

10-49

Medium

50-249

Large

250+

Antivirus / anti-malware software 12%

642,621 / £321m

11%

23,294 / £389m

13%

4,416 / £27m

24%

1,767 / £100m

Superfast fibre broadband 7%

378,895 / £254m

10%

20,383 / £590m

14%

4,906 / £633m

21%

1,601 / £107m

Social media 6%

349,592 / £740m

7%

14,559 / £339m

27%

9,322 / £157m

23%

1,712 / £23m

Online accounting tools 5%

277,101 / £212m

10%

20,383 / £326m

17%

5,888 / £83m

13%

994 / £201m

Firewall at the network perimeter 5%

262,194 / £168m

8%

17,471 / £285m

8%

2,944 / £9m

20%

1,491 / £87m

Payments applications 3%

189,192 / £255m

10%

20,383 / £799m

23%

7,850 / £838m

16%

1,215 / £39m

Office productivity 3%

188,681 / £422m

10%

20,383 / £319m

15%

5,397 / £68m

28%

2,098 / £79m

Public cloud storage & file sharing 4%

189,703 / £95m

6%

11,647 / £272m

11%

3,925 / £648m

15%

1,160 / £78m

Fibre optic/ethernet leased lines 3%

146,004 / £73m

12%

26,206 / £355m

13%

4,416 / £658m

16%

1,215 / £59m

 

The best of Beaming straight to your inbox

Sign up for Beaming's monthly email updates & receive news on the latest tech to keep you online, simple shareable advice to help colleagues avoid cyber threats & how-to guides from our experienced tech team.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Time to embrace tech?

Download our Digital Transformation in Accounting report to find out how digital technology supports accountants’ growth.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.