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Throughout history, technology has propelled business innovation and advancement. As active equity managers with an eye toward long-term business drivers of the companies we invest in, we aim to understand how technology is manifesting within global industries and sectors. Here are some of the transformative changes we have been seeing take place in the industrials, healthcare and financials sectors.
|INDUSTRIALS may not be the first sector that comes to mind when thinking about innovation. But technological advances are helping to make industrial activity safer, more efficient and cost effective.
- HVAC systems have experienced a digital revolution. As older systems age out of use, the newer HVAC systems give users customizable options through advanced digital control system or fully integrated apps. For building managers, these advancements help systems run more efficiently and less expensively than older, more rigid systems. It also illustrates the efficiency evolution underway for buildings themselves.
- Tools used within this sector are also becoming “smarter.” Advancements in rechargeable batteries for large power tools are extending the life of construction tools and materials, contributing to the overall efficiency of the building process. Batteries help to reduce power cords, which generally cover the floors of construction sites and contribute to worksite accidents, injuries and even deaths. Batteries are also moving towards increased efficiency as they convert from lead-acid to lithium.
- Digital advancements in construction include predictive analytics, which send machine diagnostics alerts and other information to fleet managers and equipment owners, enabling them to manage machinery off-site.
|Turning to HEALTHCARE, there have been many advances beyond more well-known areas, such as personalized medicine.
- Digital technology has helped lab data improve considerably. This is critical for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as US Food and Drug Administration warning letters often cite data integrity problems, which tend to delay the release of finished drugs and result in significant negative financial impact. We believe lab instrument software, which replaces files of paper logs and automates away potential human mistakes, such as ambiguous writing of numeric data, represents a meaningful step forward in alleviating a key industry challenge.
- New digital tools allow physicians to easily determine the most affordable medication options for patients. These tools integrate directly in the electronic medical record systems and provides a real-time, patient-specific view of medication costs based on the patient’s specific health insurance plan. These tools can also offer information on available lower-cost alternatives, as well as prior authorization information. If prior authorization is required, physicians can request approval directly through the tool, avoiding time lost to manual approvals.
- Healthcare equipment companies have been using software designed to make their equipment “smarter”. For example, software solutions that are utilized as an electronic notebook to fulfill regulation and data integrity requirements across a wide range of instruments.
|Within FINANCIALS in developed markets, a shift from bank branches to mobile banking, which has been underway for over a decade, has improved service and generated cost savings.
- Beyond mobile banking, we now see financial data companies utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to process huge data sets. Use of AI can improve their product offerings and help to generate cost savings. Banks and credit card companies have utilized AI to help reduce credit card fraud. Our research has found that consulting on fraud prevention is becoming a high-growth business.
By The Loomis Sayles Global Equity Opportunities Team
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