Almost 40% of Europe-based businesses plan to adopt artificial intelligence and blockchain technology in the next two years, compared to just 20% in North America.

North American organisations currently lead the way in IT automation, gigabit WiFi networking and Internet of Things (IoT) adoption. Some 35% of companies are already using those technologies, compared to 31% in Europe.

However, North American companies are far less open to accepting new technologies, such as virtual reality, 3D printing and edge computing. On average, 25% of European businesses will invest in emerging technologies over the next two years, compared to just 13% of North American businesses.

That is according to a new report published by technology industry network Spiceworks. The 2019 State of Future Workplace Tech report is based on the views of more than 700 business technology buyers across North America and Europe, providing accurate insight into the areas where businesses are investing.

The emerging technologies interesting businesses

European businesses will invest most in hyper-converged infrastructure over the next two years. This is the process of combining storage, computing and networking into a single system, which reduces the complexity of data centres and allows businesses to increase scalability in the age of big data.

Almost 20% of European businesses are already investing in this, with another 28% expected to adopt the technology in the next few years. North American companies are far less interested in the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure. The technology is currently used by 17% of businesses, with 13% more likely to follow suit.

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Instead, North American companies are more likely to invest in gigabit WiFi networking, a technology that 39% of businesses are already using, in a search for faster data transfer speeds. Some 23% of North American companies plan on investing in a gigabit network. However, while Europe currently trains, businesses on the continent also recognise the technology’s potential, with some 27% of businesses considering implementing it within the next two years.

European businesses are also interested in IoT (27%), artificial intelligence (26%) and container technology (25%). While less open to adopting these technologies, North American companies are likely to invest in similar areas, with businesses showing an interest in IoT (15%), container technology (13%), and IT automation (17%).

The biggest disparities between the two continents are in blockchain, 3D printing and edge computing. Just 9% of North American businesses plan to invest in blockchain and 3D printing in the next two years, some 16% and 15% less than in Europe respectively.

While 25% of European businesses plan to adopt edge computing, allowing data to be process to where it is created rather than in distant data centres or clouds, just 7% of North American businesses are interested in the technology.