Hong Kong lags behind India and Singapore in workplace automation

More than half of offices are hesitant to adopt AI operations.

Despite the advancements in delivering customer engagement digitally, automation has yet to be fully embraced amongst Hong Kong’s workplaces, with more than half unwilling to automate aspects of their operations, a study by Verint and Opinium Research LLC found.

This places Hong Kong behind regional peers India (28%), Singapore (42%) and Australia (52%) in workplace automation.

That said, the researchers noted that data suggests that this will change in the future with more than half of the respondents (55%) saying that their tasks will be automated; though this is still behind other APAC countries.

And whilst more than half or 57% of workers think that technology is a good thing in the workplace, one in two Hong Kongers are still nervous about robots taking their jobs. Another 43 % were found to be less willing to try new technology and ways of working in order to be more efficient or productive, higher than the global and APAC average (37%).

“However, there is still work to be done in other areas of digital integration in the workplace as attitudes and mindset towards technology positively changes, albeit slowly,” he said. “Leaders need to work closely with their people and help educate and engage them about the use of technology in the workplace, and how automation and robots won’t be necessarily replacing people. Instead hybrid workforces will create more exciting and fulfilling opportunities in different high-value areas.”

In contrast, Hong Kong’s consumers were found to demonstrate a stronger uptake of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven channels, video chat and personal voice assistants more so than their regional neighbours.

The Hong Kong edition of the global study, CX State of Play in Hong Kong, found that despite the demand to engage in person and on the phone is still strong for consumers, Hong Kong customers are digitally connected and demand to be engaged by their providers online as well as by humans.

“The increasing expectation that organisations are ‘always-on’ for the consumers presents a world-wide challenge in terms of customer engagement,” Verint’s VP for North Asia and Korea Matty Kaffeman,explained in a statement. “Organisations need to turn to digital solutions to cope with increased demand, but they must ensure they continue to provide the high-quality experience customers expect – including the ability to engage with a person when needed.”

According to the Asian Digital Transformation Index, Hong Kong is recognised as one of the top four leading economies that are thriving thanks to new-age, digital capabilities — only behind Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

It is predicted that digital transformation will add US$9b to Hong Kong’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the next three years, and increase the economic growth rate by 0.5% every year. Digital technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI reportedly contributed 5% to Hong Kong’s GDP in 2018, and is expected to grow in value to 60% by 2021. 

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