Going forward, incentives to maintain the momentum of innovation amongst UK businesses will be critical part of the country's recovery from covid-19
We look into how a concerted investment in modernising business could reap significant benefits in the form of increased productivity and competitiveness as well as spawning further innovation activity, some fo which might qualify for R&D tax relief, allowing companies to recoup some of their initial financial investment.
5 technologies of the future
Bernard Marr recently identified the 5 emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on post covid-19 business, at the recent CogX conference:
- AI and machine learning
- Robotics, drone and autonomous vehicles
- Cloud Computing and Edge Computing
- Extended reality, augmented reality & virtual reality
How will these impact on business?
Impressive progress has been made in AI in recent years, driven by exponential increases in computing power and by the availability of vast amounts of data, allowing businesses in every sector benefit through the use of "robots" to write articles, assist shoppers choose the right bottle of wine or carry out complex gene sequencing to identify the source of specific diseases and most effective treatments.
The use of drones to maintain accessibility for remote communities, such as delivering critical drugs to island communities during lockdown.
The cloud computing revolution reducing entry barriers for SMEs and new starts to sectors long thought to be the stronghold of large established business, such as financial services, through the ever-widening array of “as a service” offerings. Not to mention the growing importance of Edge Computing, using the growing computing capacity of remote devices to create faster responses and more satisfying real-time service experiences
While extended reality technologies are creating new learning and recreational experiences while allowing consumers to “stay safe” through social distancing: virtual tours of museums, historic venues and even checking out the right touch-up hair colour for you from the comfort of your own home!
The roll-out of 5G will facilitate all of these advances and make the use of them easier and seamless through faster data transfer and more consistent connectivity.
But what does it mean for MY business?
The exciting news is that these advances could open up major opportunities for UK businesses.
Improved channels of communication will give companies greater insight on their customers and create new ways for companies to integrate their customers’ needs and preferences into their development and production processes, enabling personalisation, customisation, local production and new services around the use and consumption of products.
In some cases, it will make it easier to analyse machine data, helping to enhance quality, avoid faults in the production process or reduce unproductive downtime through planned maintenance programmes
These technologies appear to be levelling the playing field between small and large businesses, making it easier for any business, regardless of size, to be innovative in every aspect of business, creating new processes, designing and delivering new products or service concepts and driving efficiency into every process.
Keep in mind however, that SMEs seeking to develop and extend the integration of new technologies into their business to give them a competitive advantage, face a number of challenges.
- The first is the cost involved, in terms of both capital investment and the resources required.
- The second is the technological challenges, and uncertainty, of successfully deploying solutions that will benefit the business.
The good news is that the majority of the challenges your business will be faced with, in order to extend the knowledge and capability of the industry, will fall within the boundaries of the R&D tax relief scheme.
Funding through the innovation cycle
One thing that is top of mind for many of our clients is finance. Securing short-term working capital to get up and running again will be the first challenge for many.
The good news is that there is help out there to get businesses up and running and reinvesting in innovation. From early stage project grants, to commercial funding (such as loans, asset finance or equity investment) for projects at a more advanced stage, through to R&D tax relief and finally Patent Box for companies developing IP through an innovation project, there are many ways to offset some of the financial risk posed to innovative SMEs.
We can help.
Securing the right funding for your innovation project is vital to its success and your continued investment in R&D. ABGI is here to help. We help our clients accelerate their innovation activities by identifying and securing the right innovation funding, through grants, tax incentives and commercial funding.
ABGI-UK can review your projects and identify the most appropriate forms of funding and assist in the application process, to support those projects from idea to market readiness and beyond .