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CBI predicts decade of IT-driven business change

Bill Goodwin

Businesses need to adapt quickly to meet the opportunities offered by new technology, says employers organisation the CBI.

Technology will form the backdrop for a decade of business change, as companies adjust to life following the recession, the employers group said at its annual conference.

Launching a report, "The shape of business - the next 10 years," CBI director general Richard Lambert said the credit crunch had changed the business landscape.

"We may be at the start of a new era for businesses, in which attitudes to finance and to corporate leadership are changed for a generation by the shock of the past two years," he said.

The recession may affect the take up of some technologies but the appetite for the "right" high-tech products and services appears undiminished, the CBI's report says.

Digital technologies have fundamentally changed business models and the behaviour and expectations of individuals and consumers, it says.

Personalised web-based applications, cloud computing, real-time interaction, and always-on web features are likely to become commonplace over the next five to 10 years.

The report points to the growth in sales of Blackberries and other smartphones, which have boomed despite the recession.

More than 35 million iPhones have been sold since their introduction in 2007, with around half of these being sold in the first two quarters of 2009, it says.

Robotics will expand from industrial use into other sectors, including hospitals, defence and agriculture.

Over the next three years, 50,000 professional service robots will be installed worldwide and 12 million personal robots, says the report.

Technology to generate green power, and the growth of lightweight composite materials, will also have a significant impact on businesses.

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