Pictet Asset Management highlights the areas of digital offering the most compelling investment opportunities.
In the past decade, since the Pictet Digital strategy was first launched, global internet usage rate has more than doubled, smart phones have become ubiquitous, while the cost of computers and data storage has plummeted. We consider five areas of the digital world which have seen some of the biggest changes - and which offer some of the most compelling opportunities for the next 10 years and beyond.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are seeping into virtually everything. By 2021, Gartner forecasts that 40 per cent of new enterprise applications will include AI technologies1; we believe that eventually that share will rise towards 100 per cent. Unsurprisingly, the economic impact will be huge - AI could contribute up to USD15.7 trillion to the world economy by 2030, adding 14 per cent to global GDP through increased productivity and increased consumption2.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart lightbulbs, keyless locks and healthcare monitors that can contact your doctor at the first signs of illness are just some of the billions of connected devices on the market, making our lives easier. Annual revenue in the IoTs space could exceed USD470 billion by 2020, while investment from industry expected to top USD60 trillion in the next 15 years3. To facilitate real-time response and processing for all these devices, edge computing will become the only viable option.
THE ROARING TWENTIES
By the start of the third decade of the 21st century, the digital revolution will have gained even more ground.
Sources: Gartner, IDC, Cisco. Based on forecasts for 2020-21.
3. Mobile and cloud computing
Worldwide public cloud services market revenue is forecast to nearly double in half a decade, to reach USD411billion by 20204. The fastest growing market of all cloud services categories should be the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) one, with an expected growth rate of 36.6 per cent for this year alone.
For investors, opportunities range from the largest cloud infrastructure providers - such as Amazon, Microsoft and Alibaba - to small web-based software providers.
Blockchain's potential goes far beyond volatile cryptocurrencies - including streamlining traditional banking transactions (and making them cheaper), facilitating new kinds of e-commerce marketplaces, music and video sharing sites and even eliminating the need for paper passports. We are already seeing signs of more mainstream companies - which are part of our investment universe - exploring the options.
Worldwide spending on blockchain is forecast to reach USD11.7 billion by 2022, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate (VAGR) of a whopping 73.2 per cent5.
5. Immersive experiences - AR, VR and MR
Virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing the way we perceive and interact with the digital world. The VR and AR market is currently adolescent and fragmented, with many novelty VR applications that deliver little real business value outside of advanced entertainment, such as video games and 360-degree spherical videos. To drive real tangible business benefit, enterprises must examine specific real-life scenarios where immersive experiences can be applied to make employees more productive and enhance the design, training and visualisation processes.
 Gartner, "A chief data officer's guide to an AI strategy", July 2017
 PWC, "Sizing the price", July 2017
 Bain, "Brief on the Internet of Things", November 2017
 IDC, "Worldwide semiannual blockchain spending guide", July 2018
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