Coming soon: industry 4.0

Coming soon: industry 4.0

24-05-2017 | インサイト

Imagine a whole new world. A world in which self-driving cars populate the streets, artificial intelligence makes production faster and smarter, sun and wind fuel local production and cybersecurity keeps us safe. The newly launched Robeco Global Industrial Innovation Equities strategy invests in the companies that are making this happen.

  • Henk Grootveld
    Henk
    Grootveld
    Portfolio Manager/ Head Trends Investing
  • Marco van Lent
    Marco
    van Lent
    Senior Portfolio Manager Equities

Speed read

  • New trend strategy invests in the industry of the future
  • Focus on four strong trends provides risk diversification
  • Trends: robotics, digital manufacturing, energy transition and cybersecurity

Robeco Global Industrial Innovation Equities selects long-term growth trends driven by demographic, technological or regulatory changes. Lead portfolio manager Marco van Lent and Henk Grootveld see a number of trends that will change the face of production, shaping what they call the fourth industrial revolution. While the first industrial revolution was marked by the shift from manual to mechanical production, the second one by mass production and the third one by automation, the fourth industrial revolution is all about the next stage of automation, with the advent of robots, the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems.

Within this transition, Van Lent and Grootveld discern four disruptive trends, i.e. Robotics, Digital Manufacturing, Energy Transition and Cybersecurity. Investing in multiple trends rather than one benefits the portfolio’s diversification and increases its breadth.

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1. Robotics: we’re only at the beginning

The first trend focuses on robots, co-bots, automation, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous cars.

The portfolio managers foresee that robots will replace most heavy-duty work still done by humans. And this will promote the return of local production. After all, whereas labor costs differ greatly from one country to another, the price of robots is more or less equal. In terms of costs, it doesn’t matter so much whether a robot sews a pair of jeans together in Beijing or Chicago. For the US market, the latter is even more attractive because of lower transport costs and shorter delivery times. Embracing robot technology and automation is the solution for both a shrinking labor force and rising labor costs, as robots become smarter and cheaper.

2. Digital Manufacturing: a way to lower costs and increase sales

The second trend revolves around Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices in everyday objects), Digital Infrastructure and Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality.

Factories are becoming smarter due to new digital production techniques. Market research company IDC predicts that 75% of all enterprises and independent software vendors will include Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality in at least one application by 2018. That is next year. AI will allow faster decision making, productivity gains, pattern detection (allowing companies to make suggestions to their clients) and increased data monetization.

3. Energy Transition: renewable energy will become the cheapest source

The third trend is about  solar and wind energy, energy storage and the smart grid.

Renewable energy is rapidly becoming cheaper. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects wind and solar energy to be cheaper than natural gas by 2020 and cheaper than coal by 2024. The increased use of renewable sources in electricity generation requires heavy investments in ‘smart grids’, as renewable generation is inherently unpredictable. A smart grid is an electrical grid which uses digital information and controls technology, such as smart meters and renewable energy, to improve the reliability of the grid.

4. Cybersecurity: keeping the world safe

The fourth and final trend is cybersecurity.

Recent hacks upsetting the functioning of hospitals, telecommunications companies, railways and airlines expose our vulnerability to cyber-attacks. This vulnerability has increased rapidly with the advance of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Cybersecurity has become a necessity and not surprisingly, IT spending on security has grown substantially over the past ten years.

Why now?

The average age of production facilities, especially in the US, has never been as old as today, as most investments were postponed due to the Global Financial Crisis. In addition, demographic developments ensure a long-term need for automation and the strongest robot penetration is found in countries with shrinking labor markets. The technologies to make a new, smarter and more efficient way of producing possible are developing quickly. Populist governments are supporting this development. Trump’s America first and China’s shift to a more domestic consumption-driven economy are kick-starting the industry of the future.

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

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商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会

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