According to ZME Science, “You wouldn’t be wrong in saying an iPhone could be used to guide 120,000,000 Apollo era spacecrafts to the moon, all at the same time…Your smartphone is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969.”

New technologies from the current industrial revolution are likely to provide future growth opportunities. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Life Sciences alongside other new technologies are generally expected to provide a significant boom for the global economy.

Understanding where these will come from could be critical to investors’ long-term success. 

J.M. Finn gathered a high calibre range of expert speakers to help investors understand the options. Ben Rogoff from Polar Capital, talking at 100mph, introduced the key transformation enablers, the Internet of Things (IoT), the demand for Robotics in manufacturing—the exponential potential of AI from augmenting labour to previously impossible tasks being unlocked by cheap parallel computing, and massive data sets, with the goal being speedy predictive analytics and autonomous decision-making. Rogoff claimed there are 60 million machines in factories globally: 90% of them are not connected, 70% of them are over 15 years old, thus he anticipates Euro 30 billion incremental spending on Industrial IoT by 2022. This will introduce arbitrage of downtime in factories and mines. Rogoff predicted that precision machine vision, accuracy and the intelligence of cobots (human-robot collaborations) will expand the total available market in the industrial, healthcare, service and military sectors. In 2016 $26 bn-$39 bn was invested in AI. Rogoff anticipates the focus of investment in the near to medium future will be on machine learning, useful examples given were training computers to recognise a weapon or bad ingredients in a manufacturing process. If AI can identify things human miss, AI can save money and lives. The Stanford University is already identifying skin cancer with computers.

Chris Hollowood from Syncona introduced the value and need for investment in Life Science. Humira, the drug that treats various diseases including arthritis, enjoys sales of $16 billion per annum. It highlighted the growth needed in therapies for the increasing elderly populations, estimated at 45 million people over 65years by 2020—some 5.5million of these will be Americans suffering from Alzheimers disease. Advanced biologics and diagnostics in areas such as gene therapy, cell therapy and DNA sequencing are typically targeted to specific, well defined patient populations. Hollowood believes that BioTech is experiencing an innovation wave since the genomics discovery; the use of enzyme replacement therapy, virus’ and cells to attack disease is replacing Pharmaceuticals and introducing opportunities to revolutionise healthcare, disrupt established business models and vastly improve treatments for patients. Evidently, regulators in the US are open to gene therapies as no other treatments are available but most seminal breakthroughs happen in the UK.

Richard Gould from Surrey County Cricket Club gave an entertaining glimpse of technology in sport, about how to find and use customer data. The easy way to find it out, is to introduce free Wi-Fi with an e-mail login but how to drive ticket sales and create a satisfying experience is the real driver of data interpretation. The 2018 Test Match against India will have the largest number of away supporters, which is more than the Australian supporters in the 2015 Ashes. Gould wants to make that atmosphere memorable.

Freddy Colquhoun of JM Finn wrapped up by shedding a doubt on the Chancellors simultaneously released Budget productivity figures, saying “Much of today’s growing digital economy cannot be picked up by traditional measures of growth, productivity and inflation based on output, income and expenditure; with over the internet, weightless, zero /marginal cost digital products and apps which are beneficial to the public good.  These facilitators of commerce and growth, and the positive effects they are having on our (UK) productivity, are just not being picked up in the official data.”

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