Published: 23 April 2018

The future of new technology and disruption in the UK’s services sector

Service industries around the world are being disrupted by both information technologies and the new business models that come with them.

Stylised image of someone using a virtual reality headset

The digital revolution encompasses an array of new and emerging technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and distributed ledger technologies – all made possible by the rapidly developing global infrastructure of the internet.

While the new digital infrastructure improves the quality of life for many, it comes with new threats and vulnerabilities. These vary from cyber security threats to questions about how to tax and regulate companies that aim to operate as supranational entities. There is hardly any business that will be unaffected by these extraordinary advances in technology.

Surrey Business School’s Dr Phillip Godsiff and the School of Hospitality and Tourism’s Dr Iis Tussyadiah has made a significant contribution to the latest report by the Government Office for Science Blackett review, Services Transformed: Growth Opportunities for the UK Service Economy, which has also been published by GOV.UK. Phillip Godsiff considered how we keep up with this rapid change to safeguard and build on our strengths in services; how we capitalise on emerging platforms; how we exploit servitisation; and how we spread success throughout the UK. Iis Tussyadiah commented on how emerging digital technology continues to revolutionize the travel, tourism, and leisure sector, changing the ways in which services are created and delivered, enhancing personal travel and leisure experiences.

The report sets out the findings of a review of how technology could enhance UK services. It recommends 11 actions for government to safeguard and build on its strengths in services to retain the UK’s competitive advantage in the sector. It covers:

  • Strengths
  • Trade
  • Automation
  • Digital technologies
  • Servitisation
  • Spreading success.

The report also looked at some of the challenges faced by the sector, such as increasing automation changing the nature of digital business.

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