The 2020s – A decade of transformation for the world economy

The 2020s – A decade of transformation for the world economy

January 27, 2020

Dominic Keen, CEO Britbots

Welcome to the 2020s, a decade that looks set to be shaped, in part, by the increasingly sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence technologies that are set to proliferate in many areas of our economic lives.  As we start this new decade, it is a good moment for investors in robotics to take stock of where we are and to look ahead at the some of the themes which are likely to shape industry in the period ahead. 

The last few years have seen the initial signs of diversification from robots solely being used in high volume manufacturing processes, such as car-making, towards a broader set of application areas.  Robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn-movers, whilst not yet widespread, have become more commonplace in households; and people are increasingly likely to be speaking to their electronic devices, in particular smart-speakers such as Alexa or Google Home.

It also appears that the era (since the mid-eighties) of largely unchecked flows of goods, people and capital may be coming to an end.  Globalisation, whilst having delivered lower consumer prices, is increasingly being perceived to have also resulted in slower growth, precarious employment and social disruption. If this is indeed the case, it is likely that the UK will continue developing explicit national industrial policies to boost spending on R&D and sharpen its focus on raising domestic productivity.  This could to lead to a more benign climate for the growth of embryonic domestic robotics businesses in the near-term but might limit their scope for the export-led opportunities in the long-run as well.

We anticipate many more robotics use-cases developing over the forthcoming years as the price of robots continue to fall whilst the cost-of-labour increases.  (The minimum wage in the UK is rising 6.2% this year to £8.72 per hour.) Increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities are allowing robotic platforms to act with greater autonomy and precision, addressing ever more nuanced and unpredictable tasks.   Further to this, continued advancements in computing-power and communication networks will support the increasing adoption of ‘plug-and-play’ robots by small and medium-sized businesses and open-up sectors that are currently untouched by widespread robotics adoption.

Trends which we believe drive growing levels of robotic adoption, namely falling global productivity, shrinking labour pools and increasing personal workloads, show few signs abating. We see some of biggest opportunities for robotics in markets where it is difficult to hire and retain labour.   Sectors such as construction, agriculture and elderly care seem particularly ripe for robotic disruption of this sort. We also expect that some categories of products and services which are currently scarce or uneconomic will become more abundant in the forthcoming decade because of their roboticisation.  Potential candidate areas for this type of transformation may include: chauffeuring and other types of domestic service; localised environmental interventions; and highly individualised product customisations.

Whilst stereotypes of a roboticised future tend often to be dystopian, it is our view that the forthcoming changes are likely to be gradual yet widespread and in many ways unremarkable.  Nonetheless, given the breadth of robotics invention currently underway, it’s safe to assume that capable autonomous devices will be playing a much greater role in everyone’s lives by the time the New Year chimes usher in the 2030s.  

Dominic Keen, CEO Britbots
Having successfully floated his mobile software business on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, Dominic founded Britbots in 2016 to support best in class UK robotics, ai and automation start-ups and capitalise from the UK’s technology prowess in these areas. Since then, Britbots has invested in 15 exciting, high-growth companies and helped support an exciting new generation of intelligent autonomous machines that promise to transform our world. 

Britbots are currently actively looking to fund pre-seed start-ups (pre-money valuations usually below £1.5m) in the UK robotics, ai and automation space. If you are looking for funding, please get in touch with [email protected] with your pitch deck.

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Preparing for Chinese New Year: Everything you need to Know about CNY

Preparing for Chinese New Year:
Everything you need to Know about CNY

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year (CNY), or “Spring Festival” is considered the Thanksgiving or Diwali of China only on a much larger scale. To give you an idea of the scale: the largest migration in the world occurs during CNY month, an estimated 2.98 Billion trips taken in 2017. The time of the year when gifts & “Red Envelopes” containing money are exchanged within families. Especially important among factory workers, this is the only time of the year factory workers can see their families.

Source: Baidu 2017 - Migration of Urman workers during CNY period.

Chinese New Year Dates & Length

Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar Calendar, the exact date changes every year, but normally falls between January 22nd and February 19th. This inconsistency ads to confusion and planning complexities.

CNY 2020: January 25th - 30th

Chinese New Year 2020 starts on Saturday 25th, however many factories will cease operation before that date. Chinese offices and factories typically close for about three working weeks, allowing workers time to travel back home to spend the holiday with their families.  

Since China is an economic giant in global exporting industry, effects of CNY can ripple around the world, especially industries involved in manufacturing.

Below is a list of future CNY dates for the coming 5 years.

2021: February 12 

2022: February 1 

2023: January 22

2024: February 10

2025: January 29

Why does Chinese New Year affect global manufacturing so much?

  1. Length of Factory Closure
  2. Payment Request before CNY 
  3. Production Length & Quality issues after CNY

How to minimise your impact of Chinese new year on your business?

1. Work with Trusted Manufacturing Partners

If you just started doing business with your supplier during this time of year, it would be difficult to get any attention especially for low-volume production. If you’re the newest account in the factory, chances are, you are not going to get priority when it comes to completing production. If you’re working with a manufacturing partner, ensure that they have experience in handling the CNY rush. One of the advantages of working with a manufacturing partner is that they have years of experience building a trustworthy network of manufacturing suppliers that can help you navigate during this stressful time of year. Ask your manufacturing partner what processes they have in place to help their customers plan for CNY. 

2. Plan Inventory

Planning for CNY starts between September – October. Well organised factories will send their largest customers a note asking to place large orders that need to be shipped before CNY. It is important to accurately forecast high-volume parts you require before CNY.

3. Stay on top of production

Stay on top of production so that you are aware of the status of your parts and at what stage they are. Highlight and work aggressively to keep them on schedule, in our experience, often the customers who insist get their parts delivered on time.

4. Have a Quality Control Plan

We have many times heard of nightmares like receiving orders of goods essentially defective or of poor quality right before CNY and they needed to wait until after CNY to have anything done about it. This is when working with a trusted supplier or manufacturer will avoid this terrible situation. We strongly urge clients to thoroughly inspect their parts and inform our production team in a timely manner as to reduce the risk of delays caused by quality problems.

5. Plan ahead of shipment

We would like to remind you that Chinese New Year (CNY) is from Jan 25th – 30th! In order for us to deliver your parts manufactured and delivered on time without having to worry about delays, login and place your orders by Jan 15 to avoid any delays.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

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Manchester tops list of the most innovative cities in the UK

Manchester tops list of the most innovative cities in the UK

December 4, 2019

Posted in

At Geomiq our business revolves around helping inventors and designers create prototypes of their products, and since launching we’ve had the pleasure of working with thousands of inventors from every corner of the globe. So, as we begin to move into 2020, we decided to look at which areas of the UK are the most innovative, based on how many requests we’ve had from each city – here’s what we found.

Based on our request data we’ve curated a list of the ten most innovative cities in the UK, with Manchester coming out on top followed by London and Bristol.

To form this list we interrogated more than 48,000 data points from the last two years, relating to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland they’ve received.

Manchester topped the list, with 13,695 requests for prototypes in the last two years. London and Bristol complete the top three, with 9,301 and 7,712 requests in each city since 2017, respectively.

The ten most innovative cities in the UK, and the number of requests for prototypes received from each, are as follows:

  1. Manchester – 13,695
  2. London – 9,301
  3. Bristol – 7,712
  4. Birmingham – 6,207
  5. Edinburgh – 3,337
  6. Brighton – 2,100
  7. Liverpool – 1,769
  8. Leeds – 1,731
  9. York – 1,486
  10. Southampton -1,342

The industries that have seen the most innovation in the last year, as well as the number of requests within each sector are as follows:

  1. Health – 8,836
  2. Eco-tech – 6,340
  3. Beauty – 4,002
  4. Education – 3,873
  5. Cooking – 3,201
  6. Energy – 2,997
  7. Robotics – 2,989
  8. Home Appliances – 2,871
  9. Baby-tech – 1,519
  10. Mechanic Appliances – 1,372

Outside of these sectors, the platform also serviced more than 13,000 additional requests.

Another interesting take away from our findings is that since the Brexit extension was announced on October 28th, we’ve actually seen seen a 31% increase in the number of requests coming in when compared with the month prior to that announcement, despite the widespread uncertainty and doubt gripping the UK.

Sam Al-Mukhtar, founder of Geomiq, said,

“Since launching a few years ago we’ve worked with thousands of inventors and businesses, almost all of whom were looking for a prototype of their new products, so with the year coming to a close we decided to look at which areas of the UK was the most innovative. As expected, eco-tech continues to be an area with huge potential for innovative solutions, and as ever health is one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of innovation.”

“There were thousands of data points to look at, but Manchester came in at the top by a surprisingly large margin – my assumption, prior to looking at the data would have been London given the number of amazing startups the city attracts! We’re excited to continue helping inventors realise their dreams going into 2020, and to see how this list changes over the next twelve months.”

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