30 November 2017

Industrial Revolution 4.0: finding the growth opportunities

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) alongside other new technologies are generally expected to provide a significant boom for the global economy.

This revolution is well and truly in play as the world we live in becomes ever more connected and the brands we engage in on a daily basis turn data into corporate advantage. These revolutionary technologies should not just change our lives but will likely provide the future growth opportunities.

Understanding where these will come from could be critical to the long-term success for investors and it was with this in mind that JM Finn gathered a high calibre range of expert speakers to educate our audience on how tech is affecting their lives today, what technologies to look for and which technologies will drive the real growth opportunities.

Held in the England Suite at the Kia Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club, where JM Finn have been corporate partners since 2004, over 220 guests were introduced firstly to Ben Rogoff.  With over 20 years of experience investing in technology at Polar Capital, Ben is well placed to offer an eloquent and entertaining view of some of the exciting technologies coming into play.  Ben looked at four major transformations: industrial automation, Artificial intelligence (AI), Robotics and Materials Science.

Tom Inskip from Afiniti followed, by looking at how AI can enhance those day to day human interactions.  By applying artificial intelligence Afiniti looks to discover, predict and affect patterns of interpersonal behaviour that can be applied to call centres for example.  Tom discussed how they can match up a caller to a handler to provide an optimised experience for both the end client as well as a greater degree of loyalty and therefore incremental revenue for the brand.

For the next presentation, we heard how Gett Taxis has over half of all black cabs in London running on their app, which is testament to the success of their driver-centric model.  James Cowen, Global Corporate Development Director talked through how Gett plans to capitalise on the $1 trillion opportunity that is created as we move away from car ownership to a pay per ride model.  James suggested that the autonomous car market will bring this change for four key reasons: it will be cheaper, more efficient, a better experience and environmentally friendlier. When challenged by an audience member about the logistical reality of pay per ride being available to rural communities, James was quick to point out that, as with most innovations, it will take off first in the cities and as take up grows, adoption will spread further afield. He also suggested that train companies will likely have to react to these changes as the user of experience in autonomous vehicles could rival that of train travel.

Following that, Richard Gould, CEO of Surrey Cricket Club talked about how clubs use customer data to enhance their fans’ experience and ensure they continue to grace their stadia with their presence.  It was interesting to learn how visitor satisfaction tended to be highest when the ground ticket sales were lowest – leading to the conclusion that satisfaction lay primarily in the length of the queues to the concessions.  Being the eve of the opening Ashes test match and with three Surrey players on the tour, Richard was keen to suggest a score line of 3-2 to England!

Finally, Freddy Colquhoun wrapped up the conference by discussing how technology had generally increased productivity and how the UK has embraced e-commerce (as an example, he cited internet penetration amongst over 15 year olds at 93% - the highest in the world.)  As chairman of the stock selection committee at JM Finn he finished by discussing how clients of the firm might be able to access some of the ideas that they had heard during the conference and cited the examples of the funds managed by GAM, Polar Capital, Syncona and Baillie Gifford. Judging from the feedback received, the day was considered to be very worthwhile, interesting and thought provoking.  Our thanks to the speakers and the Kia Oval for making it a great day.

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