Highlights of the year 2018 – Brexit, trade talks and green finance

The year 2018 was a year of Brexit, electric cars and trade talks. It included special moments in the financial markets and in the company side. Green Bonds and Green Finance were getting more attention in the markets and trade talks and Brexit were the topics during the year 2018 along. Climate Change and low carbon landed also in the agenda of central banks.

Investors were also asking what is the role of the City as a global financial hub. Should it have its own rules in spite of the Brexit? In the financial hub competition, Frankfurt and Paris were the European cities to get more new financial offices as financial companies were moving some operations to the EU side.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote of the Brexit during Janury 2019 after very intensive debate about the deal during the year.

Climate Change has become part of the everyday life in the financial markets and for example one of the biggest insurance companies in the US, Berskhire Hathaway informed in February 2018, that it has got 3 billion dollars losses of the natural catastrophies, the hurricances in the US. Several central banks, including the European Central Bank and some Asian ones, have also agreed about the co-operation in the climate issues and how to monitor the impact on the markets.

In the tech-side augmented reality and ioT were the themes for the year. Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Intel  and Samsung  were one of the tech-companies to deliver new services related to the new technology. On the other side of the topic, Facebook was dealing with the privacy issues globally. New tech- companies listed in the markets were for example Spotify and Xiaomi.

Year 2018 was a year of electric cars in many countries. The e-cars breakthrough with charging issues was one of the tech topics as well. Telsa founder Elon Musk was the leading industry sector figure as he estimated that Tesla would make one million cars by 2020 in February 2018.

Also the German automakers announced new investments and concept cars. For example the BMW Group launched an autonomous driving campus in Munich in March 2018.

Year 2018 was also a year for luxury goods and services. The Basel World 2018 -fair announced its good selling and for example the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe,  told ComteamPUB+ that the company expects double digit growth for the year and that the Chinese customers will be the leading segment.

In the debt markets the US Uber and Netflix issued their junk bonds to investors. Uber, the ride-sharing company, is said to plan an IPO for the year 2019 according to the secret filings to the SEC.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects ever, the China Silk Road, is getting more attention from the green investors side, while the organization made its first announcement of the green principles for the project co-operation and operators. The ancient Silk Road is expected to rise the GDP growth by 4 % or 240 billion dollars in the countries invlolved according to Credit Suisse analysis.

The aim of the Roman time Silk Road is to connect the western Europe with the eastern coast of China and to renew the infrasturcture in between. This means also that the 10 world largest container ports are located along the route.

Trade talks between different countries have continued lively during the year. US and China have been in the headlines, but also the EU with its agreement with Japan.  The political situation and rising volatility in the financial markets tell the direction for the next year. Geopolitical easing is needed.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, ComteamPUB+

 

 

Business Finance Lifestyle

US tech sales to new record this year – 351 billion dollars

The US tech sales will make a new record this year. According to CTA, the Consumer Technology Association, the revenue will grow to 351 billion dollars. This is 3,9 % increase from year earlier.

According to the study, the growth will come from Smart Home, Smart Speakers and Virtual Reality products & services. Although the growth is strongest in the emerging technologies,  the volume sales come from the “old products” like smartphones, + 3% increase to 62,9 billion dollars or automotive electronics +5,1 % to 15,9 billion dollars.

Amazon Echo and Google Home -type smart speakers will get 3,8 billion dollars revenue, increase with 93 %. Smart Home sales will increase by 34 % to 4,5 billion dollars and virtual reality services + 18 % to 1,2 billion dollars.

Wearables, like smartwatches and health & fitness & sports products, will get 1 % increase to 6,4 billion dollars.

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Business

Samsung outlined its connected IoT strategy – CES2018

Samsung Electronics (SMSN:LI) outlined its vision and strategy for intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) experiences at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

During the press conference, Samsung demonstrated its  ability to make seamlessly connected consumer experiences across Samsung devices at home, at the office and on-the-go. Samsung has been working to make all Samsung products IoT ready by 2020. In addition, the company announced today its plan to advance IoT adoption via an open, consistent and intelligent platform.

– At Samsung, we believe IoT should be as easy as flipping a switch. With the new products and services announced today, we’re making IoT easier and more seamless,” said Hyunsuk Kim, President, Head of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division and Samsung Research.

– We’re committed to accelerating IoT adoption for everyone and making all Samsung connected devices intelligent by 2020, he said in the press release.

 

Hyunsuk (HS) Kim, President, Head of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division and Samsung Research

 

Samsung is working with partners such as the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). OCF is the largest IoT standardization body in the world.

According to Samsung, in spring 2018 the company will unite its IoT applications, including Samsung Connect, Smart Home, Smart View and more into the SmartThings app to connect and control any SmartThings-enabled device directly from their phone, TV, or car from a single application.

Additionally, Samsung announced plans to connect HARMAN Ignite to the SmartThings Cloud, moving the IoT experience beyond the smart home to the car. As a result, consumers will be able to manage their connected home from the car and vice versa.

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Lifestyle Tech

Is fat algae a new sustainable biodiesel?

Green and renewable energy using algae is not so new, but according to scientists from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) and ExxonMobil (XOM:US)  they have found the way how to produce energy-rich fat in the algae in order to use that to produce biodiesel at an industrian scale.

According to companies success in developing algae-based biodiesel at commercial levels will provide a number of tangible benefits.  “The fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than most conventional energy sources, and that will help strengthen our ongoing transition to low-emission energy resources. Also, unlike other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, algae production at an industrial scale would not stress food production”, the companies say.

Exxon says that to boost fat production, SGI scientists worked with their counterparts at ExxonMobil as nutritionists of sorts, tweaking the part of the algae genome responsible for the assimilation of nitrogen, an essential nutrient. The change is an algae with about 40 percent of its biomass as fat. “That’s more than double the fat content of conventional algae”, the company states.

Exxon published this finding in their second quarter earnings call in July this year. The companys is expected to publish the third quarter earnings on the 27th October. The company market value is 349 billion dollars and stock performance has been -1, 19 percent during this year.

Business Lifestyle

Is your company ready for the digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the key for growing business in the future. Lately we have seen many business cases with new, distruptive strategies, which will transform the whole business sector. Tesla was one the innovative companies last week to announce a new battery for homes and companies to store for example solar energy to be used in peak hours. This was a big step for electric cars manufacturer. This kind of trend will change the profitability of traditional utility companies and the whole energy ecosystem we are used to. Why have we not seen the traditional utility companies or car manufacturers  to innovate new business areas like this before? Maybe we hear more this kind of questions in the future. Traditional business sectors are facing new competition from areas they do not expect.

Digital transformation is about making the products and services with new information, more engaged, faster, reducing cost and delivering more value to customers than before. It is about using the new technology to deliver more outcome and fun to stakeholders.  Different sectors and business areas are more advanced than others, but new services like cloud will change the business totally and internet of things will fasten the development even more. And the next big question is if the company has embedded the corporate responsbility into its strategy and innovation. Climate change, scare natural resources and urbanization are affecting every business globally.

In the future we will see for example personlized medizine, predictive maintenance and analytics and more engagement. Consumer user experience will be the new black. Companies will be categorized to leaders and laggards dependent on the level of digital transformation and sustainability embedded. This is an opportunity for every company, but it depends on the management and boards to make it happen.

Digital transformation itself is a good example of sustainable living and process. It solves business problems, shorten product cycles, deliver more value with less energy & natural resources. Insights will follow insights and time will be saved in innovation process.  Big data is helping to make analysis and predictions. Is your company part of this big change what is happening RIGHT NOW?

In circular economy we have seen innovations, but with the new set up of technologies we can speed up the transformation to greener businesses and processes. Technology is the key for the Earth to mitigate climate change and to reduce the emissions in smart cities.

 

Päivi Härkönen (MSc. Econ) is management consultant of ESG (environmental, social, governance) and digital issues, communications, marketing and branding.

 

Business Research and Insights

Sustainable strategy as an asset

Consumers and investors are nowadays looking at more information about the sustainable footprint of a company/product. When the Council of the European Union adopted the new Directive regarding non-financial information and reporting in late September this year, it was clear, that this was the start of new information flow.

According to this Directive large public and listed companies are required to report on environmental and social issues in their reporting period 2017-2018.

Why this is important also to your company?
Corporate Responsibility is about your future business and new growth opportunities. It is also risk management and reducing costs. But it is also brand management and employer branding. It is a question of your company´s competitive advantage and new business opportunities.For listed companies this means also that ESG-investors target your company better.

Altough the EU Directive is about company reporting, corporate responsibility is not. It is about changing your business strategy towards integrated business strategy. This is the only way to find the business opportunites what for example the climate change, urbanization and natural resources mean to your business.

ESG-investors interested of your strategy
Environmental, social and governance related investors are interested of your sustainable integrated business strategy. In the world they represent 45 trillion US dollars assets under management. And the trend is growing.

Investors are interested of different kind of sustainable themes; for example from climate change, energy efficiency, forest to water. So it makes sense to start rebuilding your business strategy, implement it, share & communicate it and finally report it. Sustainable business strategy is an asset for your company!

Päivi Härkönen

Business