The Roaring Twenties of nearly 100 years ago was defined by a surge of consumerism, a brightly revitalised global economy and the arrival of the concept of ‘mass culture’. It was the era of jazz hands, fresh ideas and glamorous invention. It was also a time of significant political and social change – an undercurrent that charged conversations and technological innovation. Into this decade of post-war ennui and awareness came the telephone, the radio and the instant camera along with a slew of other inventions that changed the course of history. Today, the world awaits the 2020s, with eager anticipation and much excitement, as a decade likely to be defined as much by further leaps in technological innovation as by its socially influenced political and economic upheavals. The resultant landscape, filled with roaring changes, will inevitably require a much more comprehensive level of understanding to most effectively capture the resultant growth opportunities.
“There are seven major themes that will drive global growth over the next decade,” says Jonathan Sieff, Senior Portfolio Manager at Sasfin Wealth. “These will change the way we live, the way we travel, how we engage and collaborate, and how we work. Each of these themes should form part of any forward-thinking investment portfolio to ensure it is capable of benefiting from these specific market forces.”
Healthcare innovation is the first theme that will dominate the decade. The cost of medical solutions has reduced exponentially over the years – the complex process of mapping the human genome cost over $1bn when it first emerged, but by the mid 2020’s it will be mapped for less than a few hundred dollars. This has huge ramifications for preventative medicine as doctors can use genome mapping to assess cell mutations and invest in preventative care that could mitigate the health impacts of obesity, cancer and so much more. This will be complemented by further advancements in robotic surgery, preventative diagnostic equipment, improved education and medical intervention techniques.
“The second trend is smart mobility, which includes combining materials like lithium and cobalt with metalloids, such as silicon, or innovative organic compounds to produce the batteries of the future; new technologies required to drive the concept of e-mobility forward,” adds Sieff. “The next decade will see significant refinements to connected vehicles and mobility solutions that will fundamentally change the way we travel such as autonomous vehicles that bypass fossil fuels entirely.”
The third trend lies in a buzzword that dominates media today but has yet to deliver on its promise – the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and its enabler, 5G. IoT involves digitally animating the physical world, using a vast array of devices, with 5G enhancing the speed and reliability of connections across the globe. For now, 5G penetration is still relatively low globally. For example, the concept of the smart home has yet to entrench itself as a modern living standard. Only 3% of homes in the United States are smart homes, with seamless communication between devices to enhance quality of life. The next few years should see this concept become increasingly accepted and entrenched as the costs of internet access, mobility and technology reduce further.
“In addition to 5G enablement, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to have a huge impact on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR),” he says. “Technology and cost efficiencies will redefine consumer robotics and improve quality of living by automating a number of previously menial human functions.” AI-assisted diagnostics will be able to provide personalised care and improved treatment outcomes, and by considering all available evidence, deliver predictive analytics to detect hidden factors and reduce side effects through personalised drugs.
One of the major trends that will continue to lead in the Roaring Twenties will be digital entertainment and eCommerce. In terms of digital entertainment, “online content and how people access and aggregate their information will continue to innovate,” explains Sieff. “Online streaming TV is fast replacing cable and satellite delivery and this trend will accelerate. Alongside this trend, the world of advertising is clearly trending towards programmatic advertising, which will have a powerful impact on personalisation and eCommerce growth.”
In many countries, eCommerce is still not fully established. Even the United Kingdom has only 30% of its consumer base embedded in digital. The 2020s will see the omnichannel retail world continue to shift on its axis to become increasingly accessible and relevant to the consumer. This will be particularly obvious in developing countries, such as South Africa, where the online market remains limited but is now showing signs of significant growth.
The penultimate theme is cloud computing and cybersecurity. This market is growing exponentially and is extremely competitive. It will be defined by continuous innovation, embedded cybersecurity, and privacy of information. These factors will influence which organisations thrive and which wither over the decade as those that adapt will likely grow alongside cloud demand.
“Finally, the clean energy conversation will dominate in the 2020s,” says Sieff. “There is an increasing awareness of the need to live more sustainably and to invest into renewable power innovation. Innovation has become a necessity, given the environmentally harmful nature of fossil fuels over and above their finite nature. It has also improved the relative cost advantage for renewable options as population growth and ongoing urbanisation continue to drive the increased consumption of electricity, particularly in a world of more interconnected devices.”
“These seven trends will govern how we live, work, commute and entertain, and will redefine the infrastructure within which we operate. They are interconnected and dynamic, making the landscape even more exciting in term of its potential and how it will influence investment and markets.”
Sasfin offers a Global Innovation Portfolio that provides investors with exposure to these seven themes and the next generation of emerging global leaders. Through its evolution alongside these key themes which are set to dominate markets over the next decade, Sasfin has positioned itself as an investment thought leader and the best partner for anyone looking to build their portfolios intelligently for the future, as well as for those eager to take advantage of the investment opportunities that the Roaring Twenties will present.
Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?
It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.
Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.
When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.
That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.
In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.
The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.
Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.
“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.
“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”
Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.
In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
Robots coming to IFA
Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.
The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.
The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:
Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.
Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.
Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.
Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.
Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.
And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.
IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com