This post focuses on a particularly important technology market, the Internet of Things. IoT is at a strategic inflection point, due to explosive projected market growth and unresolved problems of wireless data throughput and energy-efficiency needs. The IoT market is projected to grow to 75 Billion devices by 2025. This growth is predicated on very high throughput wireless networks combined with high energy-efficiency which are not yet available.  Existing wireless technologies, including 5G, will not meet this market need. Also, the extreme diversity of IoT applications will require both small sensors that operate using minimal energy and bandwidth and virtual reality applications with very high Gigabit per second data rates and substantial power requirements.

Five years ago, I wrote a post on this blog disparaging the state of the Internet of Things/home automation market as a “Tower of Proprietary Babble.” Vendors of many different home and industrial product offerings were literally speaking different languages, making their products inoperable with other complementary products from other vendors.  The market was being constrained by its immaturity and a failure to grasp the importance of open standards. A 2017 Verizon report concluded that “an absence of industry-wide standards…represented greater than 50% of executives concerns about IoT. Today I can report that finally, the solutions and technologies are beginning to come together, albeit still slowly. 

IEEE Talk: Integrated Big Data, The Cloud, & Smart Mobile: Actually One Big Thing by David Mayes This IEEE […]

The term “Internet of Things”  (IoT) is being loosely tossed around in the media.  But what does it […]

While there have been hints of advanced battery technology development reported in various journals, there was nothing even hinted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. This would suggest that we are still a very long way off from any commercial solution to our dead and dying batteries. Ironically my wife last night announced that the battery in her iPhone 5S was not holding a charge like it formerly did. Anyone with this problem also knows that mobile phone stores do not generally even carry replacement batteries. These retailers prefer to use the situation to try to sell you a new phone.

In October of 2013, I first met Energy Aware’s management team, led by UBC alumni founders Janice Cheam and VP of Software, Ali Kashani in their modest East Vancouver offices. I had encountered Ali commenting on the Internet of Things (IoT) on LinkedIn, and I challenged his arguments, as the skeptic that I am. Ali very graciously invited me to meet with him to discuss it further. Home automation and its new iteration, IoT, has been around for at least twenty years and had been going absolutely nowhere. Added to that was what I termed “the Tower of Babble,” a term now also used by Qualcomm to describe the data communication hairball in the IoT space. Indeed, Energy Aware had struggled for quite awhile in this immature market. What I learned in that first meeting with Ali and Janice turned this skeptic into a believer, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Al and Janice since that time providing them with tidbits of advice here and there. My gut told me that Energy Aware was on to something with significant potential, as IoT was finally achieving technological “convergence,” and the Big Dogs in Silicon Valley were now gearing up their own IoT efforts. There is a Tsunami coming, and Energy Aware is well-positioned to ride it.

Students of Industry Analysis may be interested in this. For my January 2012 Industry Analysis course focused on the semiconductor industry, I set up an imaginary portfolio, using only industry analysis macro information. My Wall Street Journal portfolio of 13 semiconductor companies, covered a wide range of application markets. I would NOT recommend this as a serious portfolio strategy due to the highly cyclical and volatile nature of this industry. However, my overall gain over 2 years has been 32.87%. The top gainer, Micron Technologies (296.73%), lost its CEO in a plane crash after I invested but obviously recovered. The other two top gainers, ARM (112.70%), and Texas Instruments (56.71%) are both heavily involved in wireless communication chips.