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Technology types that firms may need to invest in to stay relevant


The new economy/Internet of things (IoT) will bring forth a tsunami of changes that will be felt in the core of many businesses and consumers.

UOB Kay Hian’s inaugural New Economy Conference 2017 offered deep insights from keynote speakers covering disruptive trends, especially in finance, retail, e-commerce and healthcare, and the types of technologies (data analytics, cognitive computing, robotics) that companies may need to invest in to stay relevant in the future.

Logistics and financial technology are among the beneficiaries of IoT.

UOB Kay Hian’s conference, entitled “The Edge for Tomorrow”, was very well attended and featured eight corporate meetings, eight keynote speaker sessions and five exhibitors. It covered various topics such as Malaysia’s digital economy, big data analytics, the rise of cognitive computing, robotics in manufacturing, and disruptions in medical technology, e-commerce and payments.

The digital economy is targeted to contribute 20% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, versus 17.8% in 2015. The government’s 2016 e-commerce road map also targets to double e-commerce growth to RM211 billion of GDP by 2020.

Major government initiatives are in place to cultivate a sustainable digital ecosystem, including digital hubs, digital free trade zones, and education to train local tech champions.

Speakers from iPay88, Pos Malaysia Bhd and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia discussed disruptive technologies and trends that affect the traditional way of doing business across many industries including finance, medical and retail.

Fusionex International plc benefits from the high demand growth of big data analytics, while IBM shared that demand for analytic services covering descriptive to cognitive computing abilities — a new competitive edge that is able to learn and interact with humans — has been seeing strong growth.

ABB presented on robotics technology that is set to replace traditional processes, by being able to save costs and boost production rates. With evolution in industry and consumer behaviours, many companies may have to employ these cutting-edge solutions in order to stay relevant and ahead, or else risk being disrupted and falling behind.

Aside from exciting videos (that included cashier-less convenience stores, driverless cars) and a robot responding to jokes, the conference also featured five exhibitors showcasing a variety of innovative products.

These were: CarPut (an app for car breakdown assistance), engineering computer services (3D printers), MIG Mobile Tech Bhd (WeConnect shopping and payment platform), Three Logic Concepts Sdn Bhd (enterprise mobile solution for tourism and gaming industry), and ECS ICT Bhd (Phantom flying drones for video/photography and DJI Goggles).

We have an “overweight” call on the technology sector. Among the featured companies, we maintain our “buy” call on ECS ICT with a target price of RM1.68, pegged to nine times 2018 price-earnings ratio.

ECS is a proxy to the rising spending on information and communications technology in Malaysia on the back of the country’s focus towards a digital economy.

We also like non-rated Salutica Bhd on its potential catalyst pickup in bluetooth headset sales in financial year ending June 30, 2018 on clients’ introduction of new models, capacity expansion for Neonode’s AirBar module solutions in end-second quarter of financial year 2018, and expanding its sales channels of tyre pressure monitoring products through collaboration with car manufacturers. — UOB Kay Hian, July 13

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