In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a focal point for businesses across various industries. The FTSE 100 companies, London’s blue chip index, are no exception. Many of these companies are actively exploring the use of AI or increasing their investments in this transformative technology. This article delves into the plans and perspectives of some of the major players on the London Stock Exchange regarding their AI initiatives.
BT, the telecoms giant that owns brands like EE, is poised to undergo significant changes. The company anticipates shedding up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade, with around 10,000 of those positions being eliminated due to AI and automation. BT is investing in self-healing IT systems powered by AI software, which autonomously identifies and resolves faults. Chief Executive Philip Jansen believes that AI could be a game changer not only for BT but also for the entire telecoms industry and beyond. However, he acknowledges the importance of understanding and addressing the associated risks to fully realize AI’s potential.
2. Coca-Cola HBC
Coca-Cola HBC, the bottling company, has been investing in AI for some time and intends to continue doing so. They have already implemented augmented reality smart glasses that enable warehouse employees to track and select stock more efficiently. The company is currently observing, learning, and conducting controlled experiments to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI. They prioritize building the necessary capabilities and expertise within their teams and envision immense opportunities for generative AI to enhance their business competitiveness.
Compass, the catering giant, recognized the potential of AI back in 2019 when they introduced unmanned checkouts at certain locations. They continue to invest in AI, leveraging machine learning to aggregate and analyze data in real time. This data-driven approach helps Compass predict sales volumes, optimize pricing, and streamline procurement processes. The company perceives AI as a means to free up their workforce from mundane administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on more rewarding opportunities to deliver exceptional service to clients and consumers.
Experian, a credit data firm, has plans to invest in AI in the coming years. Their culture of innovation drives their commitment to adopting the latest technology, with AI being a significant component of their offerings. With a team of data scientists and analytics experts, Experian leverages complex data sets and the power of next-generation AI tools to improve services for their clients.
GSK, the UK drugmaker, has established an in-house division dedicated to AI in biopharma. They have a team focused on AI and data work, situated in Kings Cross, and they intend to expand this team in the upcoming year. GSK’s CEO, Emma Walmsley, believes that next-generation technologies like AI can address the productivity challenges in the pharmaceutical sector. She emphasizes the potential for AI to drive innovation and accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines, ultimately benefiting both the industry and society.
6. Hargreaves Lansdown
Hargreaves Lansdown, an investment platform, recognizes the broad applicability of AI across their business. They plan to hire dedicated staff to focus on machine learning initiatives. The company considers AI to be a valuable tool that enhances productivity and improves the client and colleague experience. By incorporating the latest advances in AI, Hargreaves Lansdown aims to simplify processes, provide faster access to information, and deliver the benefits of AI to their clients efficiently.
7. IHG Hotels & Resorts
IHG Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality firm behind the Crowne Plaza and InterContinental chains, has been leveraging machine learning for several years. They have implemented a digital concierge chatbot and successfully engaged in millions of conversations with customers online. IHG recognizes the importance of using technology to enhance guest experiences while enabling their hotel colleagues to focus on delivering exceptional service. The company believes that hospitality revolves around providing personalized, human interactions, and technology, including AI, plays a crucial role in achieving that goal.
8. Imperial Brands
Imperial Brands, the tobacco group, is exploring the potential of generative AI to streamline operations and improve decision-making processes. They also acknowledge the associated risks and have provided guidelines to their employees regarding the responsible use of AI.
9. London Stock Exchange Group
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has been incorporating AI technology into its products and services for some time. LSEG will continue to explore additional use cases to enhance how customers consume and analyze data provided by the group.
10. Phoenix Group
Phoenix Group, a savings and retirement business, has a multi-year investment plan that includes a core focus on data strategy and AI. They consider the ethical and safe exploration of AI as an opportunity to deliver innovative solutions to meet customer needs and ensure long-term sustainability. Phoenix Group’s data science team regularly runs pilots to identify potential use cases, such as understanding customer behaviors and optimizing internal processes.
Relx, an analytics company, has already deployed AI technologies in its operations. Their legal business, LexisNexis Legal & Professional, recently launched a generative AI platform that enables the generation of legal documents and offers language customization through chatbot prompts. Relx’s substantial capital expenditure has been dedicated to product development, with AI technologies playing a significant role in their investment strategy.
12. Rentokil Initial
Rentokil Initial, a pest control group, has introduced AI into their operations to enhance efficiency. Mini cameras installed in customer premises automatically capture images of rodents, which are then analyzed using AI algorithms. This allows Rentokil to gain accurate insights into rodent populations and movement patterns. The company plans to further invest in AI to achieve smarter and more efficient pest control, resulting in faster results for their customers.
Rightmove, the popular property website, has been utilizing machine learning in some of its products. While it’s still early to determine the full extent of AI’s potential, Rightmove actively explores opportunities where AI can contribute to innovation. As a company constantly focused on improving their offerings, Rightmove remains open to leveraging AI technology in their services.
Rolls-Royce, the engineering giant, has been investing in advanced data analytics and AI for decades and continues to do so. The company employs cutting-edge data science to optimize processes, analyze images, and detect anomalies. They have leveraged AI-driven predictive maintenance to ensure the smooth operation of jet engines. Rolls-Royce is committed to utilizing AI to improve efficiency, deliver value, and provide innovative solutions for their customers.
Sage, a software group, is well-positioned for the next generation of AI. They anticipate significant productivity benefits for both Sage and the small to medium-sized businesses they serve. CEO Steve Hare believes that AI can elevate human work, enabling individuals to focus on higher-value tasks. While AI offers immense potential, Sage remains committed to the safe and secure development of technology, recognizing the importance of ethical AI practices for the benefit of businesses and humanity.
16. Severn Trent
Severn Trent, the water company serving the Midlands and Wales, harnesses the power of AI and machine learning to gain insights and improve decision-making. Their dedicated team of data scientists, engineers, and analysts utilizes AI to determine intelligence and generate actionable insights. The success of their AI initiatives has led to an anticipated increase in the size of the team, further enhancing their value creation capabilities.
Shell, the renowned oil company, intends to continue investing in AI to drive improvements across their various business segments. AI enables Shell to achieve operational efficiencies and optimize their processes, leading to better outcomes and enhanced business performance.
18. Smiths Group
Smiths Group, an engineering company, has already embraced AI in several divisions, such as their detection arm specializing in security screening technologies. They leverage AI-based automated target recognition in X-ray screening, enabling the detection of prohibited items. Additionally, Smiths Group is investing in AI and automation in their back-office operations, leveraging data analysis to provide valuable insights. The company recognizes that innovation, coupled with AI and digital technologies, plays a crucial role in driving their growth and improving their contributions to the world.
19. Smurfit Kappa
Smurfit Kappa, a packaging specialist, is actively exploring AI to reduce its carbon footprint and optimize its paper mills’ operations. The company is trialing AI to identify energy-efficient ways to run factories and contribute to sustainability efforts. Smurfit Kappa views machine learning as a promising technology to invest in.
Unite, a student housing developer and landlord, has already gained experience with AI-based technologies. They constantly strive for continuous improvement and actively explore the use of emerging technologies to enhance their products, services, and overall efficiency. Unite remains committed to protecting intellectual property, personal data, and navigating the ethical considerations associated with AI adoption.
Weir, an engineering firm, recognizes the critical role of combining technical engineering skills with AI to enable the mining industry to become smarter, more efficient, and sustainable. They recently acquired Motion Metrics, a developer of innovative AI and 3D machine vision technology, which enhances mining equipment condition monitoring and captures valuable data. Weir’s investment in AI reflects their commitment to driving innovation and delivering meaningful improvements to the mining sector.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, AI has emerged as a key focus area for companies on London’s blue chip index. From telecoms and catering to pharmaceuticals and finance, businesses across diverse sectors are actively investing in AI or exploring its potential. These companies recognize AI’s transformative power and the opportunities it presents for enhancing productivity, delivering better customer experiences, and driving innovation. By incorporating AI technologies, they aim to remain competitive in an ever-changing business environment.
1. What is the FTSE 100? The FTSE 100 is an index composed of the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange based on market capitalization.
2. How are these companies using AI? These companies are leveraging AI in various ways, including process automation, data analysis, predictive maintenance, personalized customer experiences, and improved decision-making.
3. How does AI benefit these companies? AI offers benefits such as increased productivity, enhanced operational efficiency, better customer service, cost savings, and the potential for innovation and competitive advantage.
4. Are there any risks associated with AI adoption? Yes, there are risks associated with AI, including ethical considerations, data privacy and security, bias in algorithms, and potential job displacement. Companies are aware of these risks and are taking measures to address them responsibly.
5. How does AI contribute to sustainability efforts? AI can contribute to sustainability by enabling more energy-efficient operations, optimizing processes to reduce waste, and facilitating data-driven decision-making for sustainable practices.