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The technology needed to address Asia Pacific’s decade of ‘seismic’ B2B trends

According to a new report from customer experience company Merkle, the B2B market will undergo many major changes by 2030. Asia Pacific B2B businesses now need to consider the level of investment in multiple technologies and integrating new tools to prepare and adapt to the coming changes.

The “B2B Future: Outlook to 2030” report believes that four key “seismic” trends are about to emerge in B2B:

  • The rise of machine-to-machine trading.
  • Enhance supply chain traceability.
  • Dominance in B2B digital markets.
  • Greatly speed up the time to market.

Jake Hird, vice president of strategy for Merkle B2B Asia Pacific, told TechRepublic that B2B businesses in the region need to respond by investing in technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain to ensure they adapt to these impacts on their businesses and markets. The change.

IoT drives growth in machine-to-machine commerce

Merkle said that by 2030, machine-to-machine commerce will account for one-third of all B2B business. In practice, this will see today’s automated decision-making tools, such as retailer replenishment systems that automatically purchase new inventory from factories, extending to more complex but still AI-powered merchandise decisions.

Photo by Jack Hurd.
Jake Hird, Vice President of Strategy, Merkle B2B Asia Pacific
Image: Merkel

Hurd said this trend will require B2B companies to increasingly prioritize investments in IT infrastructure, artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, blockchain technology and cybersecurity.

Internet of Things

The growth of machine-to-machine commerce will rely heavily on the acceptance and deployment of IoT tools, which need to be embedded throughout the B2B market. “IoT devices, sensors and networks will form the backbone of M2M commerce,” Hurd said.

Merkel acknowledged that the IoT market’s growth to date has been erratic, but said that the Internet of Things has matured. Merkle’s report predicts that IoT devices will soon become a critical source of data for B2B businesses that need to “identify and predict business needs, from potential out-of-stocks to equipment degradation that may require replacement, and transact accordingly.”

Blockchain and smart contracts

Machines will be able to transact with other machines using blockchain. “Blockchain technology and smart contracts will ensure the security and transparency of transactions, enabling machines to execute agreements without human intervention,” Hurd said.

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Edge computing infrastructure

B2B enterprises will need to invest in edge computing infrastructure to support more real-time data processing and procurement transactions across their footprint and supply chain.

Data management and integration platform

B2B businesses will need to collect, process and analyze more information, making investments in data management important. This will include overcoming integration challenges and leveraging the interoperability of systems to generate the insights needed for feedback systems.

network security system

Merkel said cybersecurity solutions are crucial to protecting transactions from unauthorized access and other online threats. “Companies need to invest in measures such as intrusion detection systems and advanced encryption technology,” Hurd said.

Blockchain and distributed ledger technology provide supply chain traceability

Driven by consumer and market pressure, supply chain traceability may become the top two purchasing drivers for B2B by 2030. Adoption of blockchain and distributed ledger technology will increase as businesses seek to deepen transparency and trust in their supply chains.

Blockchain and distributed ledger technology

Merkel’s report suggests that blockchain, the most common form of distributed ledger technology, can help “illuminate intricate global supply chains” by providing access to certification data, procurement practices and environmental impacts, and even calculating carbon footprints. . These technologies can help companies enforce sustainability standards.

RFID tags and the Internet of Things

The availability, cost reduction and miniaturization of RFID tags and IoT sensors will allow IoT to play a key role in traceability. This is expected to enable real-time tracking and monitoring of a product’s progress through the supply chain from procurement to sale.

Data analysis and artificial intelligence tools

B2B players will need data analytics and artificial intelligence to derive insights from the data generated by supply chain traceability systems. “With real-time analytics, businesses can optimize inventory management, predict demand fluctuations and reduce supply chain risk,” Hurd said.

Integration readiness to support the rise of B2B digital marketplaces

The B2B digital market is expected to account for 50% of B2B business by 2030, up from 15% in 2024. This shift will push B2B organizations to focus on implementing e-commerce platforms to grow their business in the growing digital market, or to develop their own businesses in depth.

Analytics and personalization tools

Hurd said analytics and personalization will allow businesses to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. This will help B2B businesses tailor their marketing and communications to individual B2B buyers, thereby improving customer experience, engagement and revenue.

Integration and API solutions

Digital marketplaces rely on system integration to facilitate customer transactions and purchasing experiences. Businesses need to invest in integration and API solutions to connect internal and external systems and platforms to streamline operations and increase efficiency.

Supply chain optimization technology

Hurd said the digital marketplace model also requires B2B companies to meet demands such as faster delivery times and efficient order fulfillment through their marketplace operations. He believes this will encourage B2B companies to adopt more supply chain optimization technologies.

Design and prototyping tools accelerate B2B time to market

Significant changes are expected in the way B2B brands design, test and deliver products to market. In pharmacology, for example, Merkle said that while it can take 10 to 15 years to bring a drug to market, faster drug discovery and clinical trials can shorten the process significantly.

Generative AI and virtual prototyping

Hurd told TechRepublic that functional product and prototyping processes can be enhanced by generative artificial intelligence and virtual prototyping technology. By using simulation and design tools that augment human contributions and traditional methods, businesses will be able to significantly reduce the time and costs associated with physical prototyping and testing.

“This enables faster iteration cycles, faster product development processes, and faster time-to-market for new and innovative products,” Hurd said.

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