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    Top 12 Internet of Things Companies / Stocks to invest in

    Top 12 Internet of Things Companies / Stocks to invest in

    There’s a revolution happening right before our eyes, a revolution of connected devices that will soon become so prevalent in our everyday lives that you will have to live in the woods in order to avoid it.  Once called “ubiquitous computing”, today it is known as the internet of things.  CEOs from all over the world are betting Billions of dollars that this tsunami of technological wonders will change everything from the workforce, to education, and even transportation.

    Already on the market are several iterations of smart home products like smart thermostats, smart locks, smart lighting, and even smart outlets and plugs.  But the internet of things will soon spill over into the business and public sector, becoming so common that it will be indistinguishable from magic.

    According to leading global research institute for business and economics, McKinsey & Company claims Internet of Things could add up to 11 trillion dollars in value to the global economy.

    Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, predicts that in the future “every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson”.

    Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, claims we will soon have “over 1 Trillion connected devices”, leading to what he calls a “super-intelligence” network of smart devices powered by artificial intelligence.  He put his money where his mouth with the acquisition of ARM for $31 billion dollars.

    Networking behemoth Cisco Systems, one of the biggest authorities in the future of IoT, predicts the number connected devices will double from 25 billion to 50 billion by 2020.

    There’s no doubt that this field is going to produce countless innovations in the near and distant future, but which companies are best positioned to take advantage of this technological transformation?

    Below are 12 companies that are well positioned in this space, and that will see significant upside in the coming years in their internet of things division.  It’s important to note that some of these companies already have well established products and services that provide the bulk of their revenue, as well as having a very large market cap to begin with, so a doubling or tripling of their stock price in the short or medium term is unlikely. 

    Also worth noting is the larger than average P/E Ratio for a some of these companies, adding further evidence that the market is expecting significant revenue growth for these companies in the coming years.

     

    12) Sierra Wireless

    Ticker Symbol:  SWIR

    Market Cap:  818 M

    P/E Ratio:  53.19 

    Industries:  Wireless Technologies

    The stock with the smallest market cap on this list may also be the one with the biggest growth potential.  During its existence, Sierra Wireless has shipped over 130 million devices that enable the internet of things connectivity.  Offering end to end solutions for IoT applications, Sierra is shaping the future by connecting proprietary software and hardware to the cloud.  Sierra is the world leader in making the smallest cellular modules that enable Bluetooth, GNSS, and Wi-Fi technologies.  If you want to connect a device wirelessly to the internet, chances are you will seek out Sierra Wireless for one or more solutions.

     

    11) Microsoft

    Ticker Symbol:  MSFT

    Market Cap:  501 B

    P/E Ratio:  30.64

    Industries:  Software, Hardware, Cloud, Gaming

    Microsoft is a staple in the technology sector.  With such huge brand recognition and foothold in the software space, there is no way Microsoft does not benefit from the IoT revolution.  Their prime value in this space may be in creating operating systems and artificial intelligence that powers robots.  Cortana (Microsoft’s version of Alexa / Google Home) is slated to get her own hardware, and Microsoft will soon get into the voice-control space which may end up being the standard for user interfaces as Google and Amazon have not yet perfected it.

      

    10) SkyWorks

    Ticker Symbol:  SWKS

    Market Cap:  18 B

    P/E Ratio:  20.56

    Industries:  Semiconductors

    With over 40% of its revenue coming from Apple, Skyworks boasts an impressive foothold in the technology sector, and riding Apple’s coattail it has gathered more clients in China’s smartphone industry.  A manufacturer of many components that make up a smartphone, Skyworks is poised to not only continue its revenue growth for many years to come, but also expand into other gadgets and mobile technologies that are connected.

      

    9) Apple

    Ticker Symbol:  AAPL

    Market Cap:  740 B

    P/E Ratio:  16.89

    Industries:  Software, Hardware, Cloud, AI

    The vision of Steve Jobs is still alive and well.  Apple is probably the most recognized brand in the world, certainly in the tech industry.  It’s virtually impossible to imagine a connected world without Apple playing a major part, and with innovation being central in their DNA, it will be exciting to see what kind of new technologies they develop in the coming years, as well as which acquisitions they may make. 

    Their latest gadget, the AirPods, were so popular they sold out right away, and the customer loyalty Apple holds is unrivaled by any other smartphone maker.  Apple boasts the title of being the biggest company in America with a staggering 740B market cap, and there’s an unspoken race to be the first company to ever reach the 1 Trillion market cap, which could be easily done by using some of their free cash to make a major purchase.

      

    8) Cisco

    Ticker Symbol:  CSCO

    Market Cap:  162 B

    P/E Ratio:  16.63

    Industries:  Software, Cloud, Cybersecurity

    A giant in networking infrastructure, Cisco Systems powers the connectivity of all things and will continue to do so for many years to come.   At one point the biggest company in the NASDAQ, Cisco has continued to drive the interconnectedness of society.  With so many Wi-Fi gadgets in the future, there will be a huge vulnerability for these items to be hacked, and Cisco will be at the forefront of providing the security and networking capacity to tie them all together.

      

    7) iRobot

    Ticker Symbol:  IRBT

    Market Cap:  1.79 B

    P/E Ratio:  43.71

    Industries:  Hardware, AI

    Being one of the smallest companies on this list, iRobot has some of the best potential to be able to give investors over 100% return in the next few years.  iRobot has the ‘first mover’ advantage in the connected home appliance industry, with their extremely popular Roomba model seeing only around 10% household adoption, they are just now starting to tap the market and gladly admitted in their last conference call that they are on the cusp of explosive growth. 

    Also slated to be soon released is a robot that mows the lawn, which will be another big revenue driver for them if not the biggest.  Think of how much time you spend cutting the grass in your yard, even at a hefty price tag of close to $1,000 this could be an option for many families.  At a market cap of fewer than 2 billion, iRobot may also be a very attractive acquisition target for one of the larger companies on this list, like an Alphabet, Samsung, or even Apple.

      

    6) Verizon

    Ticker Symbol:  VZ

    Market Cap:  198 B

    P/E Ratio:  15.1

    Industries:  Wireless Telecommunication

    The internet of things will be connected wirelessly to the internet, so what better vessel to invest in than the company that provides the best wireless network in the country?  Widely known for having the most reliable wireless service, Verizon is in a great position to host the future of connected things, not just smartphones and tablets, but also smartwatches, laptops, and literally anything that has a Wi-Fi connection that will need a backbone to operate in.  The much anticipated 5G network standard that promises to provide speeds many times faster than today’s broadband will be coming online in a few years and you can be sure that Verizon will be spearheading this movement.  * Notable mention to Comcast for being similarly positioned in this industry *

      

    5) Intel

    Ticker Symbol:  INTC

    Market Cap:  173 B

    P/E Ratio:  16

    Industries:  Software, Hardware, AI

    Making a major move recently in the artificial intelligence space, IBM acquired autonomous driving company mobile eye for a cool 15.3 billion dollars.  This gave investors a look into the direction Intel is taking. There is no doubt that autonomous driving will be coming soon, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when, and chances are the first mover will have a massive advantage in grasping the industry by the neck.

     

    4) Samsung

    Ticker Symbol:  SSNLF

    Market Cap:  251 B

    P/E Ratio:  11.05

    Industries:  Software, Hardware

    The number one smartphone maker in the world, Samsung might be the best positioned hardware IoT company in the world.  Their SmartThings hub and other Wi-Fi gadgets such as the SmartThings plug, smoke detector, smart camera, and many more, Samsung is making major moves to make sure they become involved in every home that desires to be connected.  Using the most popular operating system in the world (Android), Samsung also has a great relationship with the other company that will be driving the IoT Universe, Alphabet. 

    With a combination of brand recognition, a very healthy balance sheet, an obvious direction toward improving the internet of things, Samsung is an obvious play on the connected revolution, and even though they had a major incident in 2016 with their Note 7 models, their stock barely noticed and the company continues to drives sales with their new Galaxy 8 models and beyond.

      

    3) Nvidia

    Ticker Symbol:  NVDA

    Market Cap:  56 B 

    P/E Ratio:  37.45

    Industries:  Semiconductors, Microchips, Gaming, AI

    Often cited as being the best stock on the NASDAQ in the year 2016, climbing over 400% after being rather stagnant for many years, Nvidia is finally cashing in on what was once thought of as just a graphic processing company.  They are the crème de la crème when it comes to microchips and every company on the NASDAQ wants a piece. 

    Gamers have known for a long time that Nvidia brings the quality, their GPUs are standard issue for gamers wanting to have the best possible graphics, but their GPUs and other technologies are no longer being used for just gaming, Nvidia is about to hit every industry like an avalanche.  Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Driving, Gaming, Data Centers, Deep Learning, Augmented Reality and many other facets of technological innovation will be reaching out to this company in the coming years, a 400% rise is not illogical or the market getting ahead of itself, it’s just the beginning.  Investors should only hope Nvidia can scale up fast enough to meet the demand the IoT industry will bring in the coming decades.

      

    2) Alphabet

    Ticker Symbol:  GOOGL

    Market Cap:  574 B

    P/E Ratio:  30.19

    Industries:  Software, Hardware, Advertising, Cloud, AI

    Long known for their search bar on google.com, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) was aptly renamed in order to assure investors they are not just a search and advertising company anymore, but rather their dominance in search will be the cash cow that finances all the other industries they will be getting into; the internet of things being one of the main ones.  Recently purchasing Nest Labs and their famous Nest thermostat, Google is making obvious moves into the space, as well as having what is often cited as the best smart speaker, the Google Home device. 

    Google has one of the best balance sheets on wall street, with close to 100 of billion of free cash and very little debt, they are well positioned to acquire just about any company they want, and may end up becoming the first ever Trillion dollar company, Amazon being the only other competitor to that title.  Google is also the second biggest cloud company in the world behind Amazon, and will only continue to grow with that sector. 

    Alphabet also boasts a large portfolio of companies that could in their own right be considered multi-billion dollar companies:  YouTube being the biggest, followed by Google Maps, Google Cloud, Gmail, Waymo, Android, DoubleClick, and many more.  Google is the soul of the internet and will be a major driving force in the internet of things, and trading at only 18x their IPO price, they are not as expensive as the number 1 company on this list, Amazon.

      

    1) Amazon

    Ticker Symbol:  AMZN

    Market Cap:  422 B

    P/E Ratio:  180.18

    Industries:  Hardware, Retail, Cloud, Gaming, Home Services, Aerospace, Logistics, AI

    The rise of Amazon over the past 20 years has been nothing short of astounding.  The vision of Jeff Bezos is now coming to fruition and he has his hands in more industries than just about any other company in the world.  The darling of Wall Street, the explosive rise of Amazon stock has been due to the company's continued growth in the Ecommerce space, which is almost single handedly responsible for destroying the brick and mortar retail sector, taking a whopping 39% share of holiday sales and continuing to rise.  

    Having the first mover advantage in cloud services, AWS has the biggest cloud market share.  Jeff Bezos has been quoted as saying AWS alone could be worth “trillions”.  Amazon’s Echo Dot was one of the most popular holiday gifts which not only shows Amazon’s desire to get into the voice-control and IoT space, but also shows the public’s interest in the internet of things, having a connected home, and making their lives more convenient through technology.  A combination Cloud, logistics, retail, and Mr. Bezos' intrigue in connected technologies will catapult Amazon into what may be the main growth driver for the IoT universe; especially since there is a great likelihood his website will be selling most of these devices direct to consumer.

    Honorable mentions:  Comcast, Sony, Huawei, AT&T, Bosch, Honeywell, GE

     

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    Smart Plugs and Outlets in the home

    Smart Plugs and Outlets in the home

    You’ve made the decision to start improving your home with some smart technology, but how should you begin?  One of the first steps you will probably take is to purchase a Smart Plug.  With this device you will be able to turn 'on' or 'off' any electronic plugged into it via smartphone app or though voice control with a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot

    I have my coffee machine plugged into the TP link model and it has been working great for many months, the convenience of being able to turn on my coffee machine while I am still half asleep in bed is allows me to catch an extra snooze, and now that I have that option, I couldn’t imagine living without it.

    TVs and lights are some of the other devices that could benefit from this function.  Being able to say “Alexa turn off TV” instead of searching for the remote or walking across the living room would be great considering how much time you would save in the long run. 

    Think about how much money in tips you give your waitress at a restaurant for simply walking back a forth a few times, which is about $10 or more per meal, and over a year’s time if you go out to eat every week, that figure could increase to over $1,000.  Why wouldn’t you invest $30 in a device that alleviates running back and forth in your home for years to come?

    Top 5 Best-Rated Smart Plugs on Amazon:

    1) WeMo Mini Smart Plug

    2) Samsung SmartThings Outlet

    3) TP Link Smart Plug Mini

    4) TP Link Smart Plug w/energy monitoring

    5) TP Link Smart Plug – no hub required

    The new generation of smart plugs is now smaller than ever, and allows you to have two per outlet.  But if a truly seamless smart home integration is desired, what you need is a smart outlet such as this one.  The problem with this option is that it requires installation beyond a few click of your smartphone, it requires using a screwdriver and a little research into wiring the device. 

    My guess is that homes in the future will be built from the ground up with this in mind, some of kind of partnership between builders and smart home manufacturers will begin and will people who build their home will have the option to have these devices already installed and ready to go.

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    What Do People Want in a Smart Home?

    What Do People Want in a Smart Home?

    This is the golden question.  We can surmise that technology will eventually be good enough to accomplish just about anything with the push of a button or with voice control, the exponential growth of computing power and the ever shrinking size of hardware will soon make it possible for everything to be connected, but what do we want to be connected?

    Connected home systems and hubs are gaining traction but are still somewhat niche, and there will always be a group of people who would rather not be connected completely, either for the fear of surveillance, or for the sake of wanting to do things on their own, not to mention the fear of devices being hacked.  So this begs the question of which devices make sense for a smart home and which devices will find a harder time gaining acceptance, even from early adopters and techies.

    Some of the devices that make the most sense are smart speakers and some type of intercom, a quick way to control other devices through touch or voice, just about everyone agrees that saving the time of walking across the home to use a device makes sense, even if it’s just 10 seconds, not to mention staying in a cozy bed and changing your temperature with your smartphone is a great convenience, but what sort of devices would probably never gain traction as far as being connected to the internet? Here’s a small list:

    • Gas powered stoves and grills
    • Bedroom door locks
    • Window locks

    The reason for this is security.  If a gas stove were to be left on of due to a glitch, or hacking, it could lead to a disaster, same goes for the windows and door locks, people will always want a mechanical system rather than a digital one when it comes to protecting their loved ones in the bedroom.  Just about everything else in the home could be made more convenient by having it connected, some of the items which don’t yet exist but one day may be standard issue in connected homes:

    • Toilets
    • Bathtubs
    • Counter tops and tables
    • Walls
    • Windows

    Let’s quickly run through this list and speculate on how these home fixtures could benefit by being connected. 

    Toilets that could analyze your waste in real time and either send the results to your doctor, or the more likely scenario, analyze the results against an online database of chemicals that signal the early onset of disease or some kind of ailment. 

    Connected bathtubs could start filling themselves on your drive home from work so it’s ready when you get home. 

    Counter tops and tables with designated charging stations where one could simply lay their phone down to start charging (these types of charging devices already exist for android phones), this technology could be integrated not just in the home but all public places as well, at least until wireless charging becomes a reality. 

    Walls that turn into a television by tapping them, the user could then pinch zoom/expand to achieve the desired size and location of the viewing screen. 

    Finally, windows that shade or lighten themselves according to one’s own sunlight and/or heating preferences, this would of course be the succession to smart blinds that are already on the market. 

    What other sort of devices would you like to see come to the market?  Leave a comment or share this article!

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    Smart Cameras and Artificial Intelligence

    Smart Cameras and Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence is a growing field of computer science that deals with making computers act like humans, it is important in any task that requires intellectual ability, image recognition in photographs is an example of artificial intelligence.

    When we take a close look at smart cameras, these are cameras that can carry out advanced tasks way above taking photographs and recording videos. They have built in intelligent image processing and pattern recognition algorithms that give them the ability to detect faces and bio-metric data. They can also detect motion, take object measurement, read vehicle number plates and even recognize human behavior.

    A smart camera is smart because it has capabilities associated with intelligence, in other words, it has artificial intelligence. A typical smart camera performs application specific information processing (ASIP), the essence is to not only provide quality images for viewing but to understand and describe what is happening in the images to make better decisions based on those images. A smart camera has a special image-processing unit, which contains one or more high performance microprocessors.

    Smart cameras in the home are now very prevalent.  With less than $200 you can purchase a very good quality camera that will sync to your phone so you can watch anywhere at any time, and even have the ability to record whenever there is motion detected. 

    These cameras have been getting smaller and better with time, and soon we may even see pin-sized cameras that can be essentially invisible to both intruders and welcomed guests.  If these cameras can be integrated with smart speakers and some kind of AI program, we may end up living in a world where computer intelligence is watching and listening at all times, both at home and in public.

    The integration with AI

    One of the key features of a typical smart camera is facial recognition, which is an aspect of artificial intelligence that deals with the capability of the system to identify or verify from a digital image. It does this by comparing selected facial features from the image and database.

    Smart cameras can be powered over the Ethernet network, which saves money, and increases reliability of the network. They offer alarm management, image enhancement, licence plate detection. These are all artificial intelligence features. A smart camera gets more details when in use for security purpose like a network camera.

    Smart cameras have a technology that helps detect the appropriate scene between several possible types and gets the best result. The demand for smart cameras will be on the increase especially for use in surveillance, even in education, entertainment and healthcare.

    Smart cameras will offer more functionality going forward with further research. Its application in the areas of medical imaging, robotics, games and toys has enhanced its diversity. It also performs gesture recognition.

    Smart cameras are used in transport systems as well, for vehicle tracking system and real-time behavior recognition system for traffic. This will be useful in ensuring traffic rule compliance. They are used in intelligent video surveillance systems for image segmentation by motion detection.  We can say a camera is an extension of the human eye; smart cameras are going across the boundary lines of possibilities to become extensions of the human brain.

    The intelligent and application-specific information-processing algorithm is what makes a camera “smart”. This algorithm is built into the software architecture of the smart camera, which is basically what artificial intelligence is about.

    One of the latest applications of smart cameras that will be coming to the market as soon this year will be facial recognition and image detection by body-worn cameras of police officers; this application could then be stationary in cameras all over the city, watching as everyone walks by, enhanced by deep learning algorithms which get better with time.  This software application could be used in many devices both public and private, and the notion that AI is constantly watching and listening will be commonplace, and not even thought of. 

    Whether this is a good thing or bad is up to us to decide, we would have increased safety being traded in for less control and more government surveillance, but is this really a choice or inevitable? If a crime is committed in front of a smart camera and smart speaker, is it justified to retrieve that information for the sake of solving the crime or is that invasion of privacy? These are questions we will soon have to answer as the internet of things revolution crawls its way into every aspect of our lives and smart cameras become more prevalent than humans.

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    Smartwatches and the Internet of Things

    Smartwatches and the Internet of Things

    Smartwatches and the Internet of Things

    Technology is evolving at a very fast pace with the evolution of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things – wearable technology is gradually changing the way we do things as well.

    More devices are now connected to the Internet more than ever before; with such technologies as the Internet of Things, you can easily have smart devices that are internet-enabled. This means the devices can “talk” to other devices that are also connected to the Internet to share information, send or receive instructions to carry out a specific task.

    Wearable technologies are gaining more popularity by the day; more people are beginning to appreciate the value that can be derived from using wearable technologies such as a smart watch.

    The smartwatch technology

    Wearable technology is one of the hottest trends of the “Information age”. You need to keep in mind that the brightest item that raises discussions nowadays is the watch, or more precisely, the smartwatch.

    This technology has evolved so much now that there are various concepts and ready gadgets on the market, smartwatches are now designed to fit virtually all fashion styles today – they are made so good that people would choose to replace their beautiful wristwatches with them.

    Tech giants such as Samsung, Google and Apple are at the forefront of the wearable technology trend in the 21st century. There are a couple of things you need to put into consideration when getting a smartwatch from any manufacturer out there.

    You need to consider things like the Operating System running on the watch, as this is important for synchronization, since you would want to connect your smartwatch to your personal computer and to the Internet as well.

    The battery life of the device is something you should also put into consideration, since most times you are going to be mobile; you need to pick a smartwatch that has a reasonable guaranty of good battery life.

    The design and finishing of the watch should also be considered. Most people are replacing their old wristwatches with modern smartwatches, which is the more reason why the design of the smartwatch matters.

    The compatibility of the watch is another thing that needs to be considered; you should get a smartwatch that is compatible with popular devices and Operating Systems out there.

    Why use smartwatches?

    There are several reasons why you should consider using a smartwatch. The top reason is the increase in productivity that comes with using a smartwatch.

    Internet searches are made even easier using the smartwatch technology. Users can simply use voice prompts to send instructions to their watch or to search for information on the Internet.

    Using a smartwatch also comes in handy in terms of sporting activities. Most manufacturers embed fitness applications that give you "real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk."

    These watches can also provide you with useful information such as heat beat rate. It’s also easier to plan your day using the calendar and alarm on your smartwatch. 

    Last but not least, with mobile payments becoming more and more prevalent, combined with the increase in identity theft occurring with plastic credit cards, means one day we may all be using smartwatches to pay for things in the store.  One simple swipe of the wrist and Android Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple pay will take care of the purchase in seconds.

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