Most local companies not embracing disruptive technologies

Feb 8, 2018

While the use of technology continues to grow, a new survey of local CEOs shows many companies across the region are slow to change.

According to a new Siena Research survey, nearly half of upstate CEOs are familiar with "disruptive technologies," but very few use or plan to use artificial intelligence, 3D Printing or advanced robotics. Julie Dotton, President and CEO of Buffalo based Applied Sciences Group says, they are a huge opportunity for her company.
"We're in automation. We are in internet. We are in cyber and delivering those services," Dotton said.

Applied Sciences Group President and CEO Julie Dotton
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

Companies that don't work in that arena, she says, are probably nervous about using technology.
"The more that they can get comfortable with vendors and collaborate with them and find someone to work with them on it and really make it a partnership I think they'll be more successful and they'll be less hesitant about doing that," Dotton said.  

The survey shows less than a quarter of local business leaders describe themselves as very innovative. But NOCO Energy Executive Vice President Michael Newman says, he sees a need to embrace disruptive technology, especially on the company's retail side.

NOCO Executive Vice President Michael Newman
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"Being able to have people use RFID technology, to be able to just fill their bag and walk out of the store, that's a big thing we've looked at. How do we make the time of checking out go down? How do we use technology to improve that? How do we improve inventory reordering to be able to make it more smooth? And then also on the delivery side we do a lot of home heating delivery. Is there an opportunity to use driverless trucks?" Newman said.  
As for its impact on employment, Dotton says, she thinks automation and robotics will enhance jobs and allow people to do other things at higher pay.