Technology is transforming every sector, from early adopters finance and health through to education, manufacturing, property and transport.
Tech moves at great speed and new regulation often follows – which is why it is essential for businesses to keep their fingers on the pulse of what is coming next.
We asked UK entrepreneurs across several sectors – many of whom featured in our Tech 50 innovation rankings in 2022 – for their predictions in the 12 months ahead.
John Natalizia, CEO & co-founder, Snoop
It can sometimes feel as though there is grit in the chain when it comes to developing the regulatory framework that will underpin the sector, but the government issued a statement in December noting that open banking is a priority for both the Financial Conduct Authority and Payment Services Regulator. This bodes well because it’s essential that the benefits of open banking are fully realised. The vast potential for open banking makes it an exciting industry to be involved in and – as we move towards open finance – one that can deliver further significant benefits to consumers and SMEs as well as supporting competition, innovation and economic growth in the UK.
It has always surprised me that it has been in the shadow of cryptocurrency in the stakes of fashionable finance. Reasons given for using crypto vary but include gambling to make money, diversifying investment portfolios, fear of missing out and even mistrust of the mainstream financial system. I think 2023 will see open banking adoption leapfrog crypto because of the accessibility, personalisation and immediate benefits in helping people move, manage and make more of their money. It’s like the story of the tortoise and the hare.
Karen Jordaan, head of UK, WorldRemit
There is a rise in demand for open banking. Hundreds of payment apps are waiting at our fingertips: from ordering food to booking a taxi or sending money to a friend, the ones we use most all have the same things in common: speed, security and convenience.
Time-poor customers want to jump through as few hoops as possible before making a transaction. Here’s where open banking comes into play, which will continue to grow in 2023. This simply means speeding up the payments process by sharing financial information via your bank with the app instead of filling out numerous forms. Payments providers can connect directly to their customers’ bank to let them approve payments via online or mobile banking.
David Jarvis, CEO, Griffin
Embedded finance is already here, but it’s really going to take root next year. Companies will be looking for every marginal pound they can get. This is in favour of the embedded finance thesis: “I have this customer relationship, I have data, there is a way for me to both improve the customer experience and monetise it simultaneously.” It is a natural win-win, and I expect companies to continue doubling down on embedded finance for that reason.
Both B2B and B2C businesses will be looking for ways to embed banking and financial services directly into their user experience. Whether it’s an invoicing platform that will offer credit to customers or a neobank that wants to offer savings accounts to consumers, businesses will be looking for ways to diversify revenue via financial services.
Maria Scott, CEO, TAINA Technology
2022 has seen increased adoption of RegTech solutions by financial institutions and service providers, who are looking to cut down on costs, reduce their risk, increase operational efficiency and improve their customer experience. We expect this trend to continue in 2023. Financial institutions are also starting to invest in RegTech providers as more than just vendors. Financial institutions want RegTech companies as strategic partners, with whom they have synergy and so can jointly address their financial and strategic objectives.
Customer experience will be key for financial institutions looking to gain a competitive advantage over their competition. Customers are becoming increasingly selective and demanding, so it is important for financial institutions to adopt RegTech solutions that both strengthen their governance and improve the customer experience.
Evgeny Likhoded, CEO, Clausematch
The RegTech space and the companies that comprise it, though strong and innovative, won’t be able to hide from the impacts of the recession. With that in mind, look for RegTech/FinTech mergers and acquisitions in the next year. While it’s never good to see a company go out of business, trying times often produce innovation, creativity, and even stronger solutions on the other side.
I predict that in 2023 we’ll see solutions with more incorporation of artificial intelligence and automation. Users are looking for simple, efficient, and risk-adverse solutions, and RegTech companies will have to meet those desires in order to stay competitive and relevant.
Paul Williams, CEO, Ripe Thinking
People have reacted to the cost-of-living squeeze during 2022 and buyer behaviour patterns in the insurance market are changing. The desire to seek out the best deals has intensified: customers are considering more closely the specific cover they really need and discarding elements they don’t, rather than tying themselves into a standardised package with unwanted extras and unnecessary cost. This means loyalty to insurance brands is being tested, and those with the ability to respond rapidly to the evolving market and customer expectation, will find it much easier to move with it.
With mounting pressure for InsurTechs to prove commercial viability to investors, business models will face unprecedented scrutiny. InsurTechs need to deliver beyond the tech itself, and many will have to pivot their business models to thrive. Those relying on new funding to fuel their development may stall. There will undoubtedly be a dash for growth – and those who demonstrate an ability to attract customers with sound commercial economics and financial success, will be in a strong position.
Steve Edwards, MD, Foundation Stage Forum Ltd – creator of the Tapestry online learning journal
The pandemic and accompanying lockdowns hugely increased the demand for EdTech software solutions to enable the provision of remote learning. There was a Wild West-style goldrush to seek out new resources; necessary, but also unmonitored and ungoverned. Schools differ in the levels of IT expertise and support they offer their teachers, and due diligence in the selection of tools that will respect the privacy and security of the data entrusted to the vendor varies widely.
I predict that government will begin to realise that this leaves very real dangers in the use of online services. Whether ‘free’ or paid for, these resources – and of course, we are one – ought to be certified to a minimal set of standards in terms of who owns the personal data of parents and children, and how it may be used, so that they may be taken up with confidence.
Chris Mansfield (pictured on right), CEO, GoodCourse
When it comes to staff training and learning, the next 12 months will see an increased focus on user experience and outcomes. Social media has transformed how we consume content in our personal lives – short-form, enjoyable, easy, video-led – the list goes on. With our expectations and standards shifting as a result, no longer will employees – particularly Gen-Z who are becoming a dominant participant – tolerate old fashioned, long-form, dry training that acts as a tick-box exercise.
Companies in many industries have already gone to lengths to make training and content more personalised, and now making the experience quicker, more emotive and, ultimately, more effective is what’s on the agenda for 2023.
Anastasios Papadopoulos, founder and CEO, IMS
Savvy real estate firms know that investing in technology might be the only way they can attract and retain their top sales talent in 2023. After all, this is what their business model relies upon! Better tech equals a better chance of closing deals, which in turn leads to happier agents – and this is better for businesses’ bottom line.
Oliver Muller, CEO, PropertyCard
2023 will be about Super Apps: mobile-first end-to-end user experiences that consolidate services in one place. Now is the time to get in. PropTech specifically is about to witness the greatest opportunity ever: sale, rent, utilities, mortgage, conveyance, KYC, inventory, docs, payments will happen conveniently in one app.
Dec Norton, director of development, CareLineLive
I am looking forward to seeing more tech to be provided within the home. We’ve all heard of smart home features, and voice activation, but it’ll be interesting to see how more healthcare support is brought into the comfort of your home. This will make medical care much more accessible but also make the care already provided in the home more streamlined and efficient.
Use of wearable technology also opens new avenues to providing a more efficient service; carers won’t have to get out their phone to type notes. They could simply dictate to their smart watch instead. Although blood sugar level detection services – where a sensor is inserted under the skin – are currently in use, new developments will see service users monitor their health diagnostics using non-invasive laser sensor technologies; heart rate, ECG and oxygen levels can all be monitored, and a recent breakthrough by Kennesaw State University means non-invasive blood sugar monitoring could be a possibility in the near future. In theory, it’d mean the client wears a smart watch throughout the day, a carer arrives and can download the data for the last 24 hours so they can see how heart rate, ECG, blood pressure and blood sugar have changed.
Alistair Williamson, MD, Lucid Group
My hope is that in the medical device sector, the people who actually innovate, do and make will rise up and start to seize the agenda. The s*** has hit the fan – it’s literally time to cut the c***, seize the opportunity to start to better spend scarce money.
The real needs and voice of patients, carers, clinicians and innovators is at the coal-face is drowned out by regulation that is ambiguous, disconnected from risk of harm and implemented in such a burdensome way that it’s stopping low-risk innovation from helping solve real problems; NHS digital safety and sustainability initiatives that are well-meaning but implemented so clumsily that they add an additional nail in the coffin to innovation – more cost burden to innovation with little or no benefit; quangocrats, with well-meaning but ineffective SME ‘support’, wasting money that could be spent on care; and university SME ‘support’ initiatives that duplicate, displace and divert attention from what other SMEs do.
Keith Tilley, CEO, Intoware
More and more businesses are beginning to see the benefits that digital workflows can provide. The take-up is certainly moving quickly but not quite the Harrier Jet lift off – more the Jumbo accelerating down the runway. However, we believe that point is coming and the next 12 months will see acceleration climb.
2023 will see digital workflows helping the connected workers to become more integrated into both their environment and with other workers. They will ensure frontline workers become even more valuable and empowered through digitisation.
Colin Tankard, MD, Digital Pathways
The growth of application programming interfaces (APIs) is clear but has focused on making life easier to connect rather than how secure the API is. Following some big exploits, more CISCOs are aware of the risks and are demanding development teams to review the full API code, not just the section that they want to use. This will bring API security into the forefront of any cybersecurity review and will also improve the development of APIs as bad coding will be highlighted.
2023 will be another year of indecision by companies on their cyber security strategy. This is driven by the flip/flop attitude some have around remote working. For others, it is the economic challenge every UK business is facing. Considering new ways of working, to improve the security posture, is too hard and so the default is ‘carry on the way we are’. This is leading to poorly configured solutions for cloud working, data being shared in uncontrolled workspaces and operations teams being blinded by technologies which are hard to manage and detect compromise at an early stage.
Kathy Gormley, principal solutions engineer, Resistant AI
Recession will lead to an increase in fraud. As recession looms, fraud will continue to increase. People get desperate and fraudsters get even more creative, resulting in massive increases in both first-party fraud and third-party fraud. Likely we will see more money muling, something we head a lot about in the pandemic.
Machine learning will become the chief way to catch financial criminals. While effectiveness has been high on the agenda there will be an increased focus on efficiency with a refocus on modernisation efforts as a way to increase efficiency. This I expect to drive a more widespread adoption of machine learning.
Anila Siraj, MD of alternative fuels, Kalibrate
The government as well as auto and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have made significant investments to ensure that electric vehicle adoption takes off by making more charging stations available. While this is expected to continue, we’re only at the beginning of the EV adoption curve. Encouragingly, EV growth is outpacing internal combustion engine vehicles, with 249,575 new EVs on the road in 2022 alone.
Historically it has been mostly affluent drivers that can afford EVs. Reducing the price to encourage mainstream adoption remains a challenge, even with newer models coming on the market. Right now demand is outpacing supply, resulting in longer wait times and higher prices. The cost-of-living crisis has only increased this gap. Add into the mix a recession and higher inflation rates, and the slowdown in demand from the mainstream will be exacerbated. The reseller market is also creating a trap for those looking for affordable EVs – leased vehicles account for the vast majority of new car sales but when leases expire, drivers must choose to purchase the vehicle or return it. Even with more EVs being returned, delays in the supply of new vehicles are making used vehicles just as, if not more, expensive.
Rachel Delacour, CEO, Sweep
Businesses will move away from ‘Net Zero pledges’ that are not enough to track actual progress and accelerate decarbonisation. Instead, businesses will embrace multi-dimensional carbon reduction methods to protect their financial health, supply chain operations, and avoid greenwashing allegations. Like the digital revolution two decades ago, this is a transformational move for any company seeking to survive and thrive in the climate-impacted future, especially in a context where progress will be increasingly checked by regulators and NGOs.
Next year marks the year of regulatory reckoning and auditability of carbon data. Businesses will have no choice but to comply with climate regulations in 2023 (TCFD framework, SFDR, and EU taxonomy). This could become a competitive advantage for UK businesses that will be prepared to face foreign climate regulations and anticipate climate risks and opportunities.
Patience Tucker, CEO, wi-Q
2023 is going to be about environmental sustainability. With the recent agreements signed by some 200 countries to provide protection for nature and biodiversity, businesses will continue to embrace innovative ways to become more sustainable. That will be seen not just in their own operations, but by giving customers the opportunity to do good along with their purchases.
Here at wi-Q Technologies, our partnership with Sustainably Run, which allows customers ordering food the option to fund the planting of GiftTrees, is a step closer to global sustainability goals.
Evgeny Likhoded, CEO, Clausematch
The past year has seen a major focus on environmental, social, governance (ESG) policies, procedures and controls in RegTech. I believe this will only increase in the coming year, as international organisations and governments will enact more regulations regarding ESG and sustainability and the consumer pushes for transparency. Over the past year, it’s become clear a company with a simple label as ‘ESG priority’ doesn’t suffice. Evidence, policies, procedures, and controls have to be in place in order to meet new standards and expectations.
Scott Brinker, VP, platform Ecosystem, HubSpot
Marketers and tech companies will look to address the problems brought on by the increasing use of various pieces of software. Cloud data warehouses will be key here. Because of the convergence of data from businesses having these very large apps in their tech stacks – where the data is closed in their own little world – slows down operations. This will be a good change as businesses will have a more unified view and can turn around and feed new data back into this system, making for better decisions across the board.
Third-party data was never that good… enter account mapping. Thanks to second-party data, account mapping with partners in an ecosystem will become more apparent. Businesses will be able to see their own customers, partners’ customers, their partners and all account-level data. Businesses can leverage that. And since they have a partnership, they can reach out to them – with consumer consent. This is really valuable, especially at a time when growing your customer base is critical to cope with current economic worries.
Lilly Contino, business development lead, Ryu Games
The Web3 space has seen a lot of development in the past year, with an influx of new projects and games. However, the crypto crash of 2022 has put a damper on investment in the space. One major cause of the crash is the tightening monetary supply amid rising interest rates. The impact has been more hesitancy to invest in Web3 projects as a result.
As unfortunate as the crash has been, they are typical growing pains for a technology and a market that the industry is still in early development. At the same time, we have an influx of Web3 game projects that are dying off after the crypto crash, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you see the industry organically weeding out poorly designed projects. Both of these trends will contribute to better projects and increased investment over time. In the meantime, Web3 developers will need to be patient and continue to build great products that solve real problems.
Nick Saponaro, CEO, Divi
Brands will be the real driver of mainstream adoption. Next year we’ll see more pilot programs as corporations continue to test the potential of Web3. They will move beyond cash-grab NFTs and look at the proper strategic integration into their ecosystems. Starbucks Odyssey loyalty scheme is a good example. Loyalty is a use case where crypto/blockchain offers an excellent fit and opportunity for brands to innovate schemes that mutually benefit businesses and users. Development of the underlying app chains will continue making it easier for businesses to build on. Next year, we’ll see consolidation as weaker market participants fail to gain enough traction to scale while others explode into mainstream relevance.
It’s an exciting time. You’ll see more partnerships between brand and blockchain businesses. They’ll bring the customers, and we’ll bring the technology. Utility will be a fundamental growth vector: Utility is going to be the defining factor for crypto. Without it, all you have are catalysts on which to speculate. As more use cases become apparent and more people build on the blockchain to leverage that utility, the underlying delivery system for that utility – the coins – will increase in value. As the price improves, so will people’s interest.
Evgeny Likhoded, CEO, Clausematch
In the crypto space, we will continue to see the US competing with the EU on regulatory crypto development as 2023 is definitely going to be an exciting year for crypto regulation. The end of 2022 showed building companies just to make money won’t work any more. With the right compliance and control framework, crypto companies will be able to develop strong foundations that protect consumers’ interests and keep regulators happy. And we will see more technology enabling crypto compliance as a consequence too.