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Current Views

The Internet of Things

Thoughts from our Domestic Equity Team

You will hear more and more about the Internet of Things, or “IoT,” as it is called.  Thermostats, front doors and coffee makers that can be controlled with a smartphone.  Collars for pets that can track their location.  The only limit is our imagination. Think of the movie Minority Report, where even billboards know who you are, so they can market to your needs and seemingly read your mind. 

Equipping objects with minuscule identification devices or machine-readable identifiers could transform daily life.  For instance, a business may no longer run out of stock or over-invest capital in inventory, as there will be multiple ways to track and identify which products are being consumed and which products are nearing levels that require restocking.  The expectation is that we could have billions, even trillions of objects that could be connected to the internet, exchanging information, to change how we live.  This would be a huge change, one that could dwarf the mobile and Smartphone revolution that we have seen. 

Google recently paid $3.2 billion for Nest, an internet connected device maker.  We believe this is a serious investment to expand Google's reach, and will potentially provide it with robust data about how people interact with their environment.  It may also help to ensure Google’s role in mobile advertising in the future.  Apple’s recent announcement about embedding its operating system into cars, and all too common articles about Google’s driverless car, are examples of how the world is changing right in front of us. These are multi-year shifts that can occur independently of macroeconomic cycles, and we seek to focus on changes like these to try and capitalize on the opportunities they provide. 

Submitted By: Nainesh Shah, CFA – Portfolio Manager

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