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Innovations like mobile banking don’t just make banking easy and keep lines short; they also enable bank tellers to do work that is far more impactful. Whatever your industry, the work of the past was error-prone, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. Technology has helped solve these challenges and empowered unprecedented scale across all types of work. This progress is essential as the need to enhance productivity has long exceeded increases in head count or payroll. Critically, from cloud-based accounting software to factory automation, these innovations also enable you to focus on the things that matter most — like more creative, higher-impact ideas and quality of life.
We are well past the days when desktop computers were the latest workplace technology. Today, countless innovations make smarter, faster, and more scalable work possible. The pandemic also accelerated the demand growth in applications for flexibility and connectivity.
Some have raised concerns that tech could put people out of work. Historical evidence suggests otherwise: Increasing automation has consistently led to new hiring in labor-intensive industries like steel, textiles, or automotive manufacturing, compared to when they were artisan industries. In our view, innovation simply eliminates mundane tasks and enhances human capabilities, driving higher-quality results and greater worker satisfaction.
Consider mortgage lenders: AI and machine learning are enabling automated lending decisions that previously required lengthy in-person meetings. Likewise, pharmacies are expected to experience increased efficiency and reduced risk by automating the dispensing of medicines.
Take advances in online shopping as another example: How rare is it that you receive a package that wasn’t meant for you? In the past, it was inconceivable for companies to achieve the large-scale efficiency of today’s e-commerce. But tools like barcode cameras, machine-vision-enabled bin-picking, and cloud-based inventory management systems make it possible and enhance the customer experience. Moreover, the advent of 5G allows warehouse customers to manage logistics remotely through a digital interface with the help of AI. Drones can also help humans inspect warehouses, improving safety, efficiency, and maintenance outcomes while reducing costs.
Our research engagements with company management teams, suppliers, and industry experts make us increasingly excited about the impact of AI and other forms of machine intelligence. Machine intelligence continues to evolve from robots learning to sort and select items, to machine vision differentiating shapes and AI assisting human decision making with improved pattern recognition. For example, AI is already more diagnostically accurate than human doctors in some areas, and it has also enabled increasingly precise weather forecasting.
In addition, the robot showcased at the Tokyo Olympics that never missed a basketball shot gave us a glimpse of the countless possibilities that precise physical dexterity can bring, such as refined surgical applications. We believe these advances will enable more creativity and improved outcomes at work, and generate investable opportunities across industries, geographies, and market caps.
We are already seeing remarkable advances fueled by machine intelligence around the world, from a small-cap Japanese machine vision provider to a mid-cap Australian provider of cloud-based accounting software to a mega-cap American maker of robotic surgical equipment.
Workplace innovation has already transformed our lives by enabling progress in scale (what you get done), efficiency (how quickly you do it), and flexibility (where you work). Many of us have been witness to these developments or experienced them firsthand. We believe significant advances in new forms of intelligence will reshape the future of work.
Our research — underpinned by fundamental insights from 50+ dedicated career global industry analysts — seeks to have tech WELLcovered. Through in-depth industry knowledge and an understanding of potential connections/applications across industries, we aim to identify innovators early, regardless of geography, industry, or market cap.
To take advantage of the reimagined future of work, investors must identify the right trends and the right companies at the right time. Is your tech exposure ready to capture this potential?
1TechCrunch, November 2020
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