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2012.04.12 cenkos news technology

Cenkos News
13th April 2012
The Technology Theme: An Introduction
What do we mean by technology and why is it a long
term theme?
Technology is often defined as: “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes”. While information technology largely dominates this field in our (President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s
time, we think of the true long-term theme as innovation in lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co 1903)
general. Since the dawn of our species we have encountered great challenges and have, continually, used the intelligence that separates humans from other animals As in any sector, IT products move through a lifecycle; in to navigate and transform our way around them. While we sum, they move from the research and development can’t forecast tomorrow’s problems with any accuracy stage, then into early commercial stages – where growth (vide Malthus), we know that amazing things will be rates are high but the business models are generally cash- consumptive. As the products gain market share, growth slows but profitability, especially in cash terms, rises and products become cash cows. Eventually, the products How does this theme manifest itself at an investor’s
mature, become outdated and then margins are squeezed as the overall market for the product shrinks. Products can Going forward we will look to dedicate a series of these take a long time to move through their lifecycle and a lot of notes to our technology theme. While there are many media attention can be devoted to innovations in the “blue areas of innovation – and we will look at other examples of sky” zone, quite often before they have reached the point this in a series of notes on healthcare – our technology of true commercial profitability. The recent announcement theme will focus on innovation within information by Facebook of its purchase of “Instagram”, a picture-technology (IT). As economies become increasingly sharing utility that has no visible means of making money, knowledge-based, our ability to distribute, analyze and access information is becoming vitally important to the way Another example that has been very much in the public eye (and illustrates the point well) is the “Cloud”. While this IT, much like many technical subjects, contains a myriad of technology has been gathering media attention over the topics and even more jargon. In these notes we would like last five years, it has taken a long time to get past the to bust as much jargon as possible in an attempt to conceptual stage and into the more profitable sunlit demystify. With that in mind I would like to start with an excellent chart from our friends at Polar Capital; which puts a number of these buzzwords into a product lifecycle: So what is a “Cloud” anyway?
Computing in the late 80s was central-ized and based around mainframes and “thin” terminals. The mainframe stored information and did the processing while the terminal was primarily an acc- ess point. As processing power and storage became smaller and cheaper, the world moved to a distributed computing model with powerful desktops that did the computing locally and that were connected to central services like email by a network (or over the internet). This “client-server” model is the model we know today Figure 1: Polar Capital Chart of Technology Product Lifecycle. and is what most people use at home and at work. As our lives have become increasingly digitized, having for hardware. The corollary is that some smaller our data and applications associated with a single physical companies like VMware, which has cornered the niche system has increasingly become a handicap. Users are market in server virtualisation2, are benefitting handsomely increasingly looking to access their resources from from this re-trend towards centralization. multiple locations or even on the move. Improvements in internet connections – both in terms of speed and Conclusion
coverage, if not always price – are making this possible, and the warehouse-sized server “farms” that are making Our aim at Cenkos is to invest in businesses that benefit this possible are Clouds. Services such as Google Docs, from long-term themes that are as close to inevitable as Spotify, or Apple’s iCloud are all examples of services that makes no difference. We consider Technology, in our post use centralized processing and storage. This marks a -industrial wireless existence, as a clear candidate given structural change towards a return to the centralized its vital contribution to the productivity that drives the computing model and, intriguingly, all-powerful providers world’s bottom line. Interestingly, we are also seeing long- like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. and-deeply-held sceptical attitudes towards technology starting to change. The Wall Street Journal recently To give this some scale, while Google will not officially reported that company CEOs are increasingly seeing confirm how many servers it runs, industry estimates put it modern technology as an essential part of keeping up with in the region of 1 million servers worldwide. The Wall their competitors, rather than something to pare in a Street Journal image below is of one of Google’s latest slowdown. This has helped IT budget growth hold up Clouds in Hamina, Finland. The site was chosen due to its through one of the worst recessions in living memory. existing underground tunnels used for drawing cooling However, it is when you break down these budgets into water in from the Gulf of Finland. This gives some idea of their components that the truly compelling story arises. the enormous energy use of such facilities and their And, of course, we are obliged to reiterate that while environmental impact will no doubt be the subject of future technology is generally faring well across the board in the current difficult environment, the true opportunity still demands extremely careful analysis to pick the winners from the losers. But here’s the news on the latest changing of the technological guard: victims of the structural shifts brought on by technologies such as the Cloud are reporting difficult operating conditions, while the winners are reporting very different experiences. Red Hat is a software company that produces virtualization software to rival the now-dominant VMware. This notoriously conservative company recently reported over 30% year-on-year sales growth. The implications, dare we way it, are obvious The point is that this type of innovation and disruptive 2 Virtualisation separates the software running on your computer from the change is typical of high-tech industries and has a major physical machine creating “virtual machines”. This allows you to run impact upon investors’ choices. Companies that have multiple computers on one piece of hardware – a good domestic example significant operations in any redundant technologies will of this is a desktop Apple Mac running its own Apple operating system while simultaneously running Microsoft Windows in a separate virtual struggle as their market gets smaller and competition for machine. This is a major cost benefit if you are in the business of running remaining customers becomes increasingly fierce. On the hundreds or even thousands of servers. You could have (for argument’s other hand, good quality companies that are on the right sake) 500 servers running at 80% capacity, rather than 1000 running at side of the change process can only benefit from the 40%, thereby significantly reducing hardware costs.
For example, the Cloud is bad news for hardware companies without strong barriers to entry (ie those who are not in-demand specialists) as one of the central Robert Tannahill
advantages of centralized computing is more efficient use Cenkos Channel Islands Investment Management Ltd. of computing power, which in turn means lower demand Cenkos Channel Islands is a trading name of Cenkos Channel Islands Limited (“CCIL”), Cenkos Channel Islands Investment Management Limited (“CCIIML”) and the registered business name of Cenkos Jersey Limited (“CJL”). Cenkos Investment Management is a trading name of CCIIML. CCIL is licensed and regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and is a member of both the London Stock Exchange and the Channel Islands Stock Exchange. Registered Office: PO Box 222, Level 5, The Market Buildings, Fountain Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 4JG. Registration No. 42906. CCIIML is licensed and regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Registered Office: PO Box 222, Level 5, The Market Buildings, Fountain Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 4JG. Registration No. 49397. CJL is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission in the conduct of Investment Business Registered office: PO Box 419, 13 Broad Street, St Helier, Jersey, JE4 5QH. Registration No. 99050 This material is for your information only and is not intended to be used by anyone other than you. This is not an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. This presentation is intended only to facilitate your discussions with Cenkos Channel Islands as to the opportunities available to our clients. The given material is subject to change and, although based upon information which we consider reliable, it is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness and it should not be relied upon as such. The material is not intended to be used as a general guide to investing, or as a source of any specific investment recommendations, and makes no implied or express recommendations concerning the manner in which any client’s account should or would be handled, as appropriate investment strategies depend upon client’s investment objectives. This material does not constitute an offer or solicitation to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorised or to any person to whom it would be unlawful to make such offer or solicitation. It is the responsibility of any person or persons in possession of this material to inform themselves of and to observe all applicable laws and regulations of any relevant jurisdiction. Prospective investors should inform themselves and take appropriate advice as to any applicable legal requirements and any applicable taxation and exchange control regulations in the countries of their citizenship, residence or domicile which might be relevant to the subscription, purchase, holding, exchange, redemption or disposal of any investments. Cenkos Channel Islands does not provide tax advice to its clients and all investors are strongly advised to consult with their tax advisors regarding any potential investment. Opinions expressed are our current opinions as of the date appearing on this material only. Any historical price(s) or value(s) are also only as of the date indicated. While we endeavour to update on a reasonable basis the information discussed in this material, there may be regulatory, compliance, or other reasons that prevent us from doing so. Certain transactions, including those involving futures, options and high yield securities and investments in emerging markets may give rise to substantial risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Foreign currency denominated investments are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates that could have an adverse effect on the value or price of, or income derived from, the investment; such investments are also subject to the possible imposition of exchange control regulations or other laws or restrictions applicable to such investments. Investments referred to in this material are not necessarily available in all jurisdictions, may be illiquid and may not be suitable for all investors. Investors should consider whether an investment is suitable for their particular circumstances and seek advice from Cenkos Channel Islands. The price and value of the investments referred to in this material and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may realise losses on any investments. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Future returns are not guaranteed and a loss of principal may occur. References to market or composite indices, benchmarks or other measures of relative market performance over a specified period of time (“benchmarks”) are provided by Cenkos Channel Islands for your information purposes only. Cenkos Channel Islands does not give any commitment or undertaking that the performance of your account(s) will equal, exceed or track any benchmark.

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