Southeast Asia consumers are also most confident in the world that the Metaverse will be good for society in future
Personal data privacy, security and digital inclusion remain top concerns of consumers globally
Southeast Asian (SEA) consumers are the most optimistic to embrace a digitally empowered future according to the findings by VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a leading innovator in enterprise software, in its annual research tracking the confidence and fears of global consumers in an increasingly tech-infused world. The VMware Digital Frontiers 4.0 survey findings reflect that the SEA respondents are the most excited in the possibilities of digitalization and benefits of new applications such as the Metaverse. However, the survey also indicates growing concerns over data privacy and security, widening gaps between the digitally-savvy versus more vulnerable parts of the society, and the expectations of the roles of organizations in working closely with consumers to realize tech-enabled benefits for the society.
“Digital transformation is more than a business criterion today; it is a business philosophy. Organizations must enable digital innovation with enterprise control by ensuring autonomy for developers, productivity for employees, and control for the business in order to drive growth. As we enter the next decade of witnessing more disruptive innovations across industries and nations, businesses should exercise more caution in offering secure digital offerings to their end-users that are also seamless in operation.” said Paul Simos, Vice President and Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Korea, VMware.
Confidence and Progress: Digitalization is Core to Economic Growth After COVID-19
More than three in four (76.2%) respondents in SEA believe technology has been an enabler rather than an impediment to people during the COVID-19 pandemic – 4% higher than the global average. SEA leads as a region in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) with 77% of the consumers here acknowledging the progress from digitalization in the form of new jobs and livelihoods as compared to last year, whilst Korea and Japan are at 66.5% and 48% respectively.
South Korea is the most excited and ready (64%), followed by the rest of the SEA region (62%), to embrace increased digital experiences in life. This puts the consumers in the APJ region ahead in leaps and bounds of their global counterparts in the US (35%), UK (37%), Germany (46%), France (37%), Italy (50%) and Spain (47%).
Excitement for Tech in Daily Lives, Anticipation of Metaverse’s Impact
SEA consumers demonstrate the most excitement to embrace technology transformation with 51% indicating their readiness for robot-enabled healthcare and emergency, ahead of their global counterparts (42%). One in four (25%) in SEA has also shown eagerness to allow a qualified doctor to conduct an invasive surgery via remote robotics rather than a less qualified one doing it in person, 8% more than the consumers in Japan.
40% of the consumers in SEA strongly believe that the metaverse will be favorable for society, exceeding by around 10% from the global average (27%). Surprisingly, SEA respondents (36%) have also shown eagerness in spending an extra hour everyday exploring the metaverse than the physical world, with Korea (24%) showing a slightly less interest as the rest of the world (23%) and Japan (9%) showing the least.
Higher Expectations for Businesses and their Digitalization
While SEA consumers are the most excited and confident for even more technology in their daily lives, they also have higher expectations for businesses and their digitalization. Close to half (49%) of consumers in SEA and 46% in Korea will chose a different service provider if an existing one requires them to visit a physical branch for routine paperwork like forms, as compared to the global average of 38%.
Six in 10 consumers (60%) in the SEA region expects providers to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help protect personal data, while expectations by Korean consumers (45%) are closer to the global average of 48%.
More Demand Transparency Around Data Usage
Similar to last year, personal data privacy and security remain top concerns for consumers in the region. 72% of the respondents from Singapore feel they have no knowledge of how their data is being used and who has access to them. Malaysians (32%) are most fearful of loss of privacy or being hacked by organizations with access to personal data. Respondents from Thailand are highly apprehensive (69%) about being tracked by organizations on their devices, followed by Singapore (62%) and the Philippines (60%).
46% of the respondents in SEA feel governments and organizations should be more transparent about the use of data in their pursuit of bringing a positive change in society, although the regional average is still below the global figures (51%) but slightly above that of Japan (37%).
A Growing Digital Gap
The accelerating adoption of technology is also creating worries in the widening digital gap. 67% of the respondents in SEA are worried their older relatives are not able to keep up with the new digital world, with Singapore (75%) and Thailand (70%) the most and Japan (45%) the least concerned.
The majority also agree that connectivity in rural areas must improve to be considered truly digital, especially by Indonesia (81%) followed by the Philippines (78%) and Thailand (74%). In unlocking the full potential of technology, governments and organizations are expected to strategize their efforts equally towards the disadvantaged communities to usher in a digital-first world in its true sense.
A robust and inclusive tech economy for a digitally empowered future
SEA’s accelerated digital economy post-pandemic reflects the need of rapid business transformation to meet the evolving needs of the customers. In building the region’s rapidly digitalizing business environment, a robust approach that enables organizations to deliver superior digital experiences across any cloud, any application and any device in a seamless and secure manner is of paramount importance.
With an eye on securing long term success and accelerating growth in the new world of work, businesses must re-think how their customers can harness technology to better innovate and collaborate in this digital-first environment. VMware outlines key priorities that will further strengthen the region’s transformation into a resilient, inclusive and innovation-led economy:
- Empowering businesses to build a multi-cloud and app future: Unlocking multi-cloud future with app-driven innovations for greater agility in a consistent and more secure environment that enables continuous innovation.
- Enabling innovation and productivity for a distributed workforce: Future ready workforce solutions will enable a seamless and more secure digital employee experience, driving greater outcomes in the new world of work.
Intrinsic security for uninterrupted innovation: An intrinsic approach to enterprise security will provide an additional layer of robust protection for mission-critical operations and infrastructures to fast-track business innovation and resilience.