AUSTIN, Texas — December 7, 2016 — Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, today announced the results of a new survey exploring IT professionals’ adoption plans and perceptions of emerging technologies in the workplace, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printers, and virtual reality (VR). The study “Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality” revealed that while these emerging technologies have potential in the workplace, IT professionals are grappling with budget and security concerns as they evaluate the impact these technologies can offer today versus in the future.
The results show that among emerging technologies covered in the survey, IT professionals expect IoT devices and AI technology to have the biggest impact in the workplace, and VR to have the least impact. In fact, 80 percent of IT professionals said IoT devices will be useful to their business practices in three to five years and nearly 60 percent said the same for AI. Although most IT professionals don’t expect mass adoption to take off in the workplace for VR and 3D printers, some industries have significantly higher adoption rates than the industry average.
“IT professionals are rightly concerned with the practicality of integrating emerging technology in the workplace, particularly when it comes to VR and 3D printing,” said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks. “Many organizations are struggling to find viable use cases for VR and 3D printers that will justify the costs. With IoT and AI, while many understand the potential benefits for businesses, IT professionals are more concerned about potential security risks over costs, especially in light of recent DDoS attacks originating from vulnerable IoT systems.”
Artificial intelligence: IT professionals seek AI to automate mundane tasks
When examining the adoption of various types of artificial intelligence, the results show 19 percent of organizations use intelligent digital assistants for work-related tasks while relatively fewer reported using machine learning (8 percent) or business analytics with AI (8 percent). However, more organizations are planning to adopt AI technology over the next five years. In fact, 46 percent of organizations plan to adopt intelligent assistants, 60 percent plan to adopt machine learning, and 72 percent plan to deploy business analytics with AI.
Looking more closely at intelligent digital assistants, the results show that among companies using them for work-related tasks, Apple Siri (52 percent) is the most commonly used, followed by Microsoft Cortana (45 percent) and Google Now (34 percent). However, an additional 21 percent of IT professionals are planning to implement Microsoft Cortana in the next 12 months, likely through Windows 10 deployments. This would give Cortana the lead as the most commonly used intelligent assistant in the business environment.
When asked what their biggest concerns are about AI in the workplace, most IT professionals cited security and privacy issues (48 percent) as their top concern. But despite these concerns, nearly 70 percent of IT professionals believe AI and machine learning will enable more time to focus on strategic IT initiatives. Only 14 percent of IT professionals believe AI will put IT jobs at risk.
Internet of Things: As adoption grows, IoT security concerns are top of mind
Nearly 20 percent of organizations surveyed have IoT technologies deployed on their network today and an additional 40 percent plan to adopt them. The healthcare industry has the highest adoption rate at 28 percent with an additional 50 percent planning to adopt it. However, according to Spiceworks’ 2016 IoT Trends report, security is the top concern when it comes to connecting IoT devices in the workplace. Specifically, 84 percent of IT professionals are concerned about the growing number of entry points into their network and 70 percent are worried about the lack of security measures put in place by IoT manufacturers.
When asked to name the leader in developing innovative IoT technology, most IT professionals selected Google (20 percent), followed by Intel (7 percent) and Samsung (7 percent). However, 38 percent of IT professionals said they’re still waiting for a vendor to emerge as a clear frontrunner.
3D printing: Despite cost concerns, 3D printers gain momentum in select industries
Eleven percent of organizations are currently using 3D printers, and an additional 22 percent plan to adopt them. The education industry has the highest current adoption rate (45 percent) and the manufacturing industry has the highest planned adoption rate (36 percent), as the technology can help organizations rapidly prototype new products. In terms of the barriers to adoption, IT professionals cited cost (50 percent) as their top concern, followed by a lack of use cases in the workplace (38 percent) and ongoing investment and upgrade requirements (27 percent). IT professionals said they’re least concerned about security and privacy issues with 3D printers.
Although 22 percent of IT professionals selected MakerBot as the most innovative leader in 3D printing, most IT professionals (59 percent) couldn’t name the leading provider, indicating an opportunity for market leadership. However, when looking at the providers IT professionals are most likely to consider for their organization, IT professionals said they are just as likely to evaluate HP’s 3D printers (28 percent) as MakerBot printers (27 percent), which may be due to IT professionals’ level of comfort with HP technology.
Virtual reality: IT professionals question the value of VR in the workplace
Seven percent of organizations currently use VR technology and 13 percent plan to adopt it. Although only 5 percent of organizations in construction and engineering use VR today, the industry has the highest planned adoption rate (27 percent), likely because architects and engineers can use VR to visualize a building or product prototype. However, most IT professionals cited cost (62 percent) as the primary barrier to adoption, while 46 percent believe there’s a lack of use cases for VR in the workplace, and 33 percent are concerned about the graphics and computing power required. As with 3D printers, IT professionals cited security and privacy issues as their least concern with VR.
In terms of the most innovative leader in VR, 34 percent of IT professionals named Oculus, followed by Google (15 percent) and Microsoft (12 percent). Although nearly three times as many IT professionals selected Oculus over Microsoft, Microsoft HoloLens (36 percent) was a close second to Oculus Rift (41 percent) as the headset IT professionals are most likely to evaluate for their organization. Again, this may be due to IT professionals’ level of comfort using Microsoft technology.
The survey was conducted in October 2016 and included 566 respondents from North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Respondents are among the millions of IT professionals in Spiceworks and represent a variety of company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Respondents come from a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, education, government, and finance. For more information and a complete list of survey results, visit https://community.spiceworks.com/research/future-of-it.
About Spiceworks Voice of IT
Spiceworks’ Voice of IT shares statistics, trends, and opinions collected from millions of IT professionals on the global technology issues that are important to them. For other Spiceworks Voice of IT reports visit: www.spiceworks.com/research.
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