Drones

Pick a beach, park or other open area, and you might get the impression that flying drones seem to have replaced flying kites. While this is partly true, the depth and breadth of the applications of drone technology go far beyond recreation to an advancing and growing market of military and commercial uses.

From agriculture and environmental monitoring, to law enforcement and delivery services, drones are improving and expanding the efficiency and accuracy of research and commercial projects around the world in a myriad of ways. 

More and more, companies are realizing this and investing in new drone technologies. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2019 Aerospace Forecast, the FAA expects the commercial drone market to triple by 2023. According to a market report published in September 2020, the global Commercial Drone market size is projected to reach $34 billion by 2026, a considerable jump from the $6 billion it racked up in 2020. 

Here’s what investors should know about drone technology and their market potential. 

What are drones?

Drones, the more common name for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are unpiloted aircraft or spacecraft. They vary in shape, size, and use. For example, some drones require a human operator, but some do not. Some drones are so small they can fit in your hand, while some are as large as traditional aircraft. 

There are three standard types of drones, including Single Rotor Helicopters, Multi-Rotor Drones, and Fixed Wing Drones. Single Rotor Helicopters look like small helicopters, and they are often used to transport heavy objects, survey land, and gather data. Multi-Rotor Drones are small and often used for photography or hobby-flying. Fixed-wing drones look like normal airplanes and run on fuel rather than electricity, allowing them to run for much longer. 

While drone applicability is expanding in the modern world in tandem with advancing drone technology, the notion of utilizing unpiloted aircraft isn’t a new one. Drones were first used in the mid-1800s when in 1849, Austria launched a balloon bomb attack on Venice. By WWII, technology had advanced to models like Austrian Jindivik, a pilotless target aircraft. 

It’s not surprising that drone technology has been advanced by militaries around the world for many years. This is in part because drones offer a range of military uses, from reconnaissance that doesn’t necessitate putting a pilot’s life at risk to offensive strikes in hard-to-reach areas. Drones also don’t require rest like their human counterparts, just enough fuel or battery power to fulfill their mission.

Drones are also playing an important role in advancing our knowledge of space. NASA’s Dragonfly mission will use a drone to sample and examine sites around Saturn’s icy moon beginning in 2026. This will be the second outer space drone mission, following the launch of a small helicopter scout as part of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, expected to land in February 2021.These advanced outer space missions are not to mention that in 2019, X-37B an astronaut-free spacecraft that has clocked as many as 719 days in continuous low-earth orbit. X-37B is a reusable spacecraft that has taken five missions since 2010. 

Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2006 that non-military, commercial  applications of drones began. Then, suddenly, their uses expanded to functions from pipeline inspections to crop evaluation to security and beyond.

Why invest in drones? 

In the modern world, the application of drones is exploding. And, it’s playing a role in not only the advancement of science and industry, but also real-world geopolitics.

In the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, for example, drones are a contentious weapon. In early October 2020, Canada boldly “suspended the sale of advanced drone optics to Turkey over allegations that the technology is being used in the conflict” to support Azerbaijan. At the end of October 2020, Armenia called for more Western nations to do the same

In Malaysia, the state of Selangor is planning drones to patrol waterways for polluters day and night, a prevalent issue that plagues the country. 

In China, the use of agricultural drones has seen a dramatic uptick, improving farming efficiency. Chinese agricultural drones can cover more than 50 to 60 times the amount of farmland that more traditional manual farm work can.

In the U.S. poultry industry, drones and robots are expected to play an increasing role in more efficient production. For example, drones can be used to spot dead birds, or even monitor the gait of birds to detect illness. Likewise, drones have the potential to administer aerosol vaccines. These applications are particularly promising considering that producers can purchase quality drones starting at only $500. 

And let’s not forget about the drone delivery of online purchases we’ve all been waiting for. 

In September 2020, Amazon.com Inc. received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to “establish a fleet of drones” and begin testing drone deliveries. It follows companies including Uber Technologies Inc., Wing (of Google’s parent company Alphabet), and UPS. This is a long-awaited step forward after Amazon’s first announcement that it would pursue drones for delivery in 2013. 

Behind all these advances (and many more) there are numerous companies developing, manufacturing, and selling this in-demand technology. So, while the hobby-drones that we see at the park are indeed a multi-billion-dollar industry, they are the tip of an iceberg of opportunity for investors with an eye towards the future.

How to invest in drones

From military and defense applications, to surveying and data collection, drones are everywhere these days. That can make it challenging for investors who want to get into the space; there are just so many options out there to consider.

However, there are a number of mutual funds and ETFs that give investors access to the drone industry without having to focus on any particular companies. A search on Magnifi suggests that investors have a number of choices in this fast-growing industry.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


Data Infrastructure

We shop online, we send emails, we subscribe to newsletters, we stream television shows, we listen to podcasts, we Instagram, we tweet, we share on Facebook, we Google, and in doing so, we create data.  We create tons of data. 

In fact, 1.7MB of data is created by every person on earth every second of the day. In the last two years alone, 90% of the world’s data has been created according to the Information Overload Research Group (IORG).

Where is all of this data coming from?

Every day, 306.4 billion emails are sent, and 5 million thoughts are Tweeted. One scroll through our inbox might make us feel like the extent of data overload isn’t that unbelievable, after all. 

The fact is that we do a lot of online sharing. Companies that want consumer dollars know this, and they aren’t standing idly by. Beyond the giants of the tech industry like Google and Amazon, small- and medium-sized enterprises increasingly want effective data analytics tools to maximize revenue, according to Advance Market Analytics. 

Interestingly, according to Forbes, jobs including Data Scientists and Big Data Engineers are in demand now more than ever before. These companies are investing in better data infrastructure to get better data. 

All of that data, and all of those needs, make the data infrastructure ecosystem increasingly complex. Here’s what investors should know about this growing industry that’s not expected to slow down anytime soon.

What is data infrastructure?

Before diving into data infrastructure, let’s discuss big data—or, the information that companies everywhere are trying to generate insights from. Big data has four “Vs” or measures of value: volume-based, velocity-based, variety-based, and veracity-based. 

Volume-based value means that “the more comprehensive your integrated view of the customer and the more historical data you have on them, the more insight you can extract.”

Velocity-based value means that the faster that “you can process information into your data and analytics platform, the more flexibility you get to find answers to your questions via queries, reports, dashboards, etc.” 

Variety-based value means that “the more varied customer data you have – from the CRM system, social media, call-center logs, etc. – the more multifaceted view you develop about your customers.”

Veracity-based value refers to the accuracy and cleanliness of customer data. 

Why do these Vs matter, again? They are the end goal of good data infrastructure, which is the way that data is used to provide useful insights. It means having the “right tools for storing, processing and analyzing data.

Let’s start with storage. It seems like almost everything is stored on the cloud these days, but where exactly is that?

The cloud is typically an off-premises data center that is accessed remotely through the internet. Cloud data centers allow clients to manage their data through third-party managed services, using hardware that’s run and serviced offsite by cloud companies in physical locations around the world. In essence, these companies are creating a virtual infrastructure for the systems that used to be housed on-site in every corporation.

With the overwhelming growth in data creation, physical data centers that service these cloud companies are multiplying, and so is investment in them. 

Storage, of course, is only one component of data infrastructure. Beyond storage, data infrastructure includes the network that transfers the data, the applications that host the analytics tools and “the backup or archive infrastructure that backs it up after analysis is complete.”

Why invest in data infrastructure? 

According to a report by the Motley Fool, “data is the oil of the digital economy.” 

Effective data infrastructure means more money and more efficiency, and not just for retailers figuring out how to get an online shopper back to their site to add something to a shopping cart. 

Bankers, for example, can use big data to help minimize risk and fraud. Moreover, manufacturers can use it to quickly troubleshoot problems, making better business decisions. 

For all sorts of businesses, benefits of using data strategically or prioritizing good data infrastructure include reduced costs, reduced time spent, optimization of product development and allocation, and more informed decision making.

According to an Advance Market Analytics report, the demand for big data as a service is driven by (1) an increasing demand for real time data analytics solutions, (2) the growing use of big data to identify fraud, and (3) a significant data influx for small and medium sized enterprises that want effective data analytics tools to maximize revenue. These are aided by market trends including the (1) the rise of cloud computing and the integration of big data with cloud-based services, (2) a huge influx of data, and (3) more modern business models. 

The power of big data is a frontier of sorts. And, beyond the companies looking to improve their own businesses by employing data services, there are a multitude of innovative companies streamlining huge amounts of data into useful information. 

For investors, this means that there is more than one way to invest in this growing industry. Fortunately, there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds available for investors interested in supporting big data and the growth of data infrastructure. For instance, a search on Magnifi suggests a number of different options.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


Adtech

Advertising in 2020 is way more than a billboard on the side of a highway these days. When it comes to catching consumer eyeballs, it’s personal. 

As consumers, we know it well. We can’t scroll to a news site, or any site for that matter, without a barrage of ads that may or may not be tailored to our interests.  And it’s true— thanks to advertising technology, advertisements are more targeted than ever.  

Adtech is a relatively new industry that has become part of the fabric of the modern world, and it’s only just begun. 

For consumers these days, the constant ads are the price of free, and so mostly, we accept it. After all, we aren’t paying for Google search, for Facebook, or to watch our favorite show on YouTube.

The internet-based services that have become so ingrained in our daily lives learn about us so that they can most successfully serve us ads and use those dollars to provide their services. This is especially true since the coronavirus pandemic shifted so many “in-person” norms to virtual experiences.

It’s a crazy world we live in, and for all of the unknowns, we can rest assured that advertising isn’t going away anytime soon. 

What is adtech?

Advertising technology (or adtech) is driven by what’s called programmatic advertising. If that sounds more like an AI algorithm than a sales team, that’s because it is. 

Programmatic advertising is “the real-time buying and selling of ad inventory through an automated bidding system. Programmatic advertising enables brands or agencies to purchase ad impressions on publisher sites or apps through a sophisticated ecosystem.”

And while we all gasp at how expensive Super Bowl commercials are every year, we don’t always consider how companies try to get in front of their target audience 365 days per year while consumers watch, click, and scroll throughout the day.

Programmatic advertising includes display ads, video ads, social ads, audio ads, native ads, and digital out-of-home ads. It’s at play whether we Google something random or tune into the season finale of our favorite show.

Consumer ad fatigue has simply led to more creative ways to grab interest. For example, native ads appear to be part of the media they appear on, rather than stand out like a pop-up or a banner ad. 

The Economist famously used programmatic advertising to tap into an entirely new audience. In one campaign, it generated 650,000 new prospects with a return on investment (ROI) of 10:1 and increased awareness by almost 65%. 

How did it achieve such success? It referenced subscriber, cookie, and content data to identify audience segments (finance, politics, economics, good deeds, careers, technology, and social justice), creating more than 60 ad versions to target potential customers effectively. 

No longer was The Economist considered a dry, intellectual journal by most. Instead, it had new relevance. What’s more, it had new readers. 

Adtech isn’t limited to the internet. For example, how many people have you heard at least consider ditching cable and just using streaming services? Meet connected TV, which is anticipated to grow to reach 204.1 million users by 2022 according to eMarketer. 

As subscribers to services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus have increased, so have over-the-top (OTT) advertising dollars to the tune of $5 billion in 2020. These ads are typically highly personalized according to a viewer’s interest and cannot be skipped, but rather must be viewed to continue consuming content. 

Ads on our computers aren’t the only adtech at play. Digital out-of-home advertising includes the high-tech billboards, on-vehicle ads, etc. Where online advertising can feel nagging, outdoor advertising is innovating in a way that appears interesting and grabs attention. According to IBIS World, in 2019 billboard advertising revenue grew by more than $8.6 billion in advertising revenue.

Why invest in advertising technology?

Lots of companies these days don’t necessarily run on our dollars, they run on our eyeballs, and our clicks. According to VentureBeat.com, “all major ad-supported tech companies are ad tech companies. They market advertising technology and use technology to support their advertising businesses.” This includes Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Reddit. 

Adtech is the way of the future, especially as technology evolves and consumers become increasingly glued to screens. In addition to enhanced targeting capabilities, programmatic advertising gives companies real-time insights, enhanced targeting capabilities, greater transparency, and better budget utilization. 

Advertising is part of the fabric of our modern culture. Because companies can use platforms to serve us advertisements, we have access to tons of information and entertainment for no cost. As a consumer, it’s hard to ignore. 

It’s not just Google searches and websites that are ideal for digital ads. “In-game brand advertising is set to see tremendous growth in the coming years,” says Ajitpal Pannu, CEO of Smaato, an adtech platform.  “We are building up a strong foundation to support this new media channel.” 

COVID, interestingly, has moved more eyeballs on screens than ever before. And while advertising spending is down across the board as companies move to save money, adtech spending is bound to rebound, making now an ideal time to invest.

How to invest in adtech?

Advertising is by nature a very broad industry. Just about every company advertises in some way, and the technologies driving those activities are all over the map. Fortunately, a search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds to help interested investors access the growing adtech sector without having to invest in many different companies.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


Real Estate

The headlines highlighting the rise of housing markets are as common as the “SOLD” signs on lawns in neighborhoods throughout the United States. 

“Despite COVID-19, Philadelphia’s real estate market is booming.”

“Pandemic pushing Cape Cod real estate sales, driving prices up.”

But, who moves in the middle of a pandemic? Apparently, lots of people. 

The world looks much different today than it did at the beginning of the year. Since the arrival of the coronavirus to the United States in January, people have adapted their lives and recalibrated their plans significantly. For many, that has included planning a move. 

So, for all of the lost jobs and unknowns about how the economy will recover, the real estate industry is holding its own. Here’s what investors should know. 

What’s happening with real estate?

NYC real estate sales fell by 54 percent in the second quarter of 2020, amounting to the largest decline in 30 years, according to a report by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. Orange County, California reported its biggest price decline since 2009, 5.2 percent. In other words, more and more people are saying goodbye to city living. 

But, things in the suburbs are booming. After an initial dip in April, May showed strong market interest, according to realtor.com.With all of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, what is it that has moved people to start considering a move? 

“Quarantine was the greatest accidental PR campaign for the value of real estate that I’ve ever witnessed. Now, people have been inspired to invest more into their homes and push their budgets just a little bit further,” according to Forbes real estate writer Ryan Serhant. 

No doubt, after just a few months, people have new housing needs. Remote work is looking like the new norm. Outdoor space feels less optional. And suddenly many families with kids need to find space to not only work remotely, but also facilitate virtual learning for their kids. Welcome to 2020.

“Housing is a basic need, and the decision to buy one is usually prompted by entering a new stage of life,” according to housing website Curbed

Add strong interest and new needs to attractively low rates, and the sales started. The average for 30-year fixed mortgages fell below 3 percent for the first time on record in June, prompting more people to consider buying. And so, the headlines and the “SOLD” signs followed.

So, if everyone is working at home, what’s happening to office space?

For corporations, office space can account for the second largest expense following payroll. Companies know that. Moreover, these same companies realize that their offices are currently sitting largely unoccupied. 

Companies are anticipated to reduce office space over the next three years, according to a report by CNBC. Similarly, a Reuters analysis of 25 large companies indicates that they plan to reduce office space over the next year.  

According to a May report by Moody’s Analytics, “As employers have been compelled to execute remote working policies, national vacancies may break the 20% mark by 2021, and effective rents in some markets like New York may fall by close to 25%.”

But, not every business is turning in their notice just yet. Most office leases run from three to five to seven or 10 years, so some businesses are just stuck with the space. 

That’s good news for investors, who aren’t feeling the pain. 

According to Reuters, “concerns about declining office space use have not hurt commercial mortgaged-backed securities, with the iShares CMBS ETF up 4.4% for the year to date.”

Why the continued success? 

Offices are useful for everything from building work relationships to expressing organizational values and aspirations, according to the Harvard Business Review. Companies, especially those with a nearly all-remote workforce at the minute, know that better than anyone. And so, commercial offices are probably not going away in their entirety. They will, however, emerge on the other side of the pandemic and are likely to look much different. 

For one, office spaces might simultaneously scale down and become more dispersed, with flexibility to locate near clients and foster high-quality connections between staff, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Moreover, space will increasingly become mixed-use, extending its hours of life beyond the 9-5. This means offices that have retail, dining, and other features that invite community members, keeping the space busy beyond the workday hustle. 

But, don’t expect a boom of new office space in the near future. 

The Detroit Free Press reported in June about ongoing office space construction that might be at risk. In addition to the unknowns about the need for new, Class A spaces in the short term, the supply chains that delivers building materials have been impacted by the virus. 

Part of the question is: will businesses decide to keep more remote work arrangements permanently, relocate their offices to less-expensive suburbs, or will they keep with the status quo?

Still, real estate investment is on the uptick. 

Despite all of the uncertainty, according to a Gallup poll, real estate remains a top investment choice for Americans. As the stock market looks more uncertain, real estate looks safer. Not to mention the historically low interest rates that have helped families move into new homes. 

Roofstock, a platform for investors to buy and sell single-family rental properties, has experienced substantially increased web traffic since the coronavirus arrived, indicating that global investors are on the lookout for less volatile investment options.

The bottom line: real estate sales and investment is on the rise. The informed investor can find ways to invest in both residential and commercial real estate in unique ways.

 

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


SaaS

Software-as-a-Service is now standard, from mobile phones and laptops to business solutions for the largest of entities. It seems that there’s an app for everything, and it’s all personalized to each user’s credentials. 

Is your gym closed during Covid-19? Subscribe to Truecoach to build an online training platform for customers. Need to set up an online store, especially with COVID-19 closures? Build one on Shopify. Too busy to make a baby book? Text Queepsake your baby milestones and they’ll make one for you. (Not kidding.)

The solutions are big, small, and endless. 

But, it wasn’t always that way. 

Cloud computing has transformed how users interact with software. Before the software-as-a-service model, users had to purchase their software, either on physical media or via direct download, and had to pay for updates or replacements as technology improved. These days, that’s not how it works. 

Rather than purchase software annually or biannually, users pay for access to the software that they need on a subscription basis. They have credentials and they pay a small fee to accomplish their needs.

This model has transformed how we operate as a society, and it offers a frontier of investment opportunities as software companies strive to create solutions for the next big thing.  

What is SaaS?

Salesforce, which pioneered the software-as-a-service model in 1998 defines software-as-a-service as “a way of delivering centrally hosted applications over the internet as a service. SaaS applications are sometimes known by other names: Web-based software, On-demand software, and Hosted software”

How is this different from previous models?

Consider that hardware is the physical computer or user device. Now consider that software is the programs and apps that help users do things on the computer. 

Before software-as-a-service, customers would buy software housed on a physical source, such as a compact disc. After purchasing, they would take it home, download it to their computer, and then use it. While this utilization of software was helpful, it was also exceptionally hard for companies to update.  

It also wasn’t the most user friendly. For example, if someone was using a tax software before SaaS, they would purchase the software, download it, and input their information. However, every year, they would need to repeat the process in full. Knowing the autofills and recalls of today’s applications, starting from scratch seems tedious and time consuming.

Not to mention that because traditional software is so difficult to update with information, such as the annually revised tax code, for example, users would need to repurchase the software every year. 

Software-as-a-service is different in that it doesn’t require customers to purchase software. Instead, users purchase access to software that’s available on the cloud. 

What exactly is the cloud? It’s a “a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem,” according to Microsoft. 

This type of infrastructure has changed the way software companies administer software, users access and use software, and multiplied the uses and ease of use of software products. For one, SaaS companies can focus on improving their product rather than dedicate energy to producing and marketing new versions. It limits distribution costs like packaging. It also does away with the hassle of administering licenses because the software can only be accessed by paying customers. 

It has also changed payments from one-time to subscription-based. While subscription fees are much smaller from month-to-month than the one-time purchase fees previously were, the fees often add up to more than the cost of the software over the course of the year. 

For companies, pivoting to SaaS has more perks. Because the functions of SaaS have become so familiar and house a user’s data, switching services is often a hassle despite the minimum software cost. This user data can also be leveraged by companies to test new features. 

Why invest in SaaS?

There have been many success stories in SaaS, from Salesforce to Shopify. 

In 2015 at its IPO, Shopify was valued at $1.27 billion. As of spring 2020, it’s valued at $127 billion. Founded by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake, Shopify started as an online store in 2004 to sell snowboards when they couldn’t find a platform that worked well for them. Now, its e-commerce platform is used by individual sellers and big companies like Google. 

And, the industry is poised to keep growing, especially in the wake of COVID-19

Consider the workforce shift to remote and the Zoom solution, connecting coworkers, families, and even loved ones in nursing homes. Another SaaS platform on the rise is Dynatrace, which provides software intelligence that streamlines user experience and improves business outcomes. 

SaaS companies are solving problems from providing e-commerce solutions for businesses, business solutions that are making remote work scenarios work, to giving users access to platforms that help them do everything from monitoring their finances to staying fit to doing their taxes. 

As the world adopts new post COVID-19 norms, these new solutions are likely to stay in one form or another. 

How to invest in SaaS

Naturally, in an industry as large and diverse as software, picking winners and losers can be challenging. However, for those investors interested in accessing the segment more broadly, there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds available to help streamline the process. A search on Magnifi suggests that there are many SaaS funds available to choose from.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


Ecommerce

In the first quarter of 2020, consumers spent $146.47 billion online with U.S. retailers according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This is up 14.5% from $127.89 billion for the same period in 2019.

Naturally, the fact that millions of Americans were sitting at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 had a lot to do with this, but those big numbers were already trending higher. From Amazon, to Ebay, to Shopify, more people than ever are buying and selling online than ever before.

Most consumers know all too well that buying in an instant is easier than ever—from essentials like paper towels to novelties like birthday gifts to splurges like home décor and clothes. And, it seems one purchase always leads to the next, especially because of the carefully curated advertisements and reminders that are automatically triggered by online retail platforms to pop up on our screens. 

Here is the short story of how the ecommerce we know on our screens today came to be in a relatively short period of time and why it’s both ever improving and here to stay.  

What is ecommerce?

Electronic commerce, typically known as ecommerce, refers to the “buying and selling of goods, products, or services over the internet.” It extends beyond the transaction of money to funds and data. Think software subscriptions, streaming services, and data storage, to name a few.

Online shopping as we know it was later thought up by Michael Aldrich in the United Kingdom in 1979.  Aldrich dreamed of buying his weekly groceries remotely (something that is all too familiar now) while on a walk with his wife. He accomplished this in a way by connecting a television to a transaction processing computer with a telephone line. He called it “teleshopping,” which referred to shopping at a distance.

Still, the first secure, official online retail transaction didn’t take place until in 1994 when a group of cyberspace entrepreneurs sold a Sting CD from one member to another. The transaction successfully utilized data encryption software to ensure data privacy, which was crucial to the adoption of online shopping.

That same year, in 1994, ecommerce giant, Amazon, launched. Since then, the “e-tailer” founded by Jeff Bezos has grown into the world’s largest online retailer; one that currently dominates B2C ecommerce. Originally selling only books, Bezos’s operation was doing $20,000 per week in sales within 30 days of launch. 

Since then, the security, ease of use, and convenience, safety, and user experience of ecommerce have all improved exponentially. These improved factors have made ecommerce a viable and profitable new frontier for businesses large and small.  

There are generally four types of ecommerce models. These include direct sellers, which operate similar to a physical store for customers but with transactions taking place online (Amazon and Wayfair); marketplaces, which offer platforms for buyers and sellers to connect (think Etsy); software providers, which sell subscriptions to cloud-based software; and logistics, which deliver goods (like UPS and FedEx). Within these four types, ecommerce generally happens one of six ways— Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B), Business-to-Administration (B2A) and Consumer-to-Administration (C2A). 

Why invest in ecommerce?

Purchasing habits are changing with more Americans making purchases online than ever before. And, companies are listening by continuing to expand their technology budgets, which are up 4.2% in 2020 over 2019, in part with the shared goal to improve ecommerce sites and boost online sales.

More than ever, consumers are comfortable using their payment information in secure online platforms. According to a study by Price Waterhouse Coopers, more than half (51%) of respondents paid bills and invoices online in 2018, demonstrating an increasing comfort level with buying and completing transactions online.

Sellers aren’t shying away from the internet either, with numerous benefits for new ecommerce-based entities and traditional brick and mortar establishments alike. From the ability to be open for business and thereby make money 24/7 in an online platform, to providing an online space to accurately describe products in detail, to using SEO to attract consumers, selling online is giving retailers the opportunity to communicate better with customers, reach more people, sell more products, and be more successful.  

In other words, the technology that facilitates the buying and selling of goods online, not to mention the companies selling more than ever online, offers extensive investment opportunities. Rest assured, online retail, and business generally, is poised to continue its pattern of growth and innovation.

How to invest in ecommerce

Naturally, in something as broad as ecommerce, investing isn’t as simple as choosing a few companies. In order to reach the full scope of this trend it’s important to invest broadly in all of the different sectors and niches that are shaping and being reshaped by this shift. Fortunately, a search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds that cover ecommerce.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


mobile technology

Mobile Technology

Mobile technology is an integral part of our lives. Picture it: you get up, check your messages/emails, check-up people you love and work with, catch up on the news and other developments, and do much more on your mobile phone. And these are just some basic things people do on their phones, laptops, and other mobile devices.

Mobile technology’s key components include general packet radio service (GPRS), short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), global positioning service (GPS), and WAP, among others.

[Invest in 5G: What every investor needs to know.]

But “mobile” is a broad term. It essentially covers all hand-held mobile devices: mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and virtually any mobile device that can communicate with other devices.

Mobile technology, as mentioned, is shaping many aspects of human life: how we communicate, work, and live! The concept was mostly theoretical about three decades ago, but we now live in an age where our lives are heavily dependent on this technology.

Why Invest in Mobile Technology?

According to Morgan Stanley there have been four major computing cycles thus far: mainframe computers in the 60s, minicomputers in the 70s, personal computers (PCs) in the 90s, and desktop internet in the 2000s.

One eye-catching finding of this study is each of the subsequent computing cycles grew by a successive, continuous rate of 10X – the minicomputer cycle grew to ten times the size of the mainframe cycle and so on. The world is past the desktop internet cycle, and all focus now is on mobile technology.

The mobile technology cycle is expected to experience a boom ten times bigger than the desktop boom experienced in the 2000s – this is immeasurable, considering how big the 2000s boom was. The desktop cycle, however, was not as versatile and entrenched as the mobile technology cycle is. As such, we will likely see exponential growth as the world becomes more and more digitized.

Internet & Smartphone Penetration: There are about 14 billion mobile devices in use around the world today, according to Statista. 5.28 billion of these devices are in people’s hands, which accounts for about 68% of the world’s population.

Over half of the world’s population (about 3.5 people) is active online. 80% of internet users (about 2.8 billion people) own at least one smartphone – a sizeable fraction of this population owns more than one smartphone, which is especially well documented across Asia.

Internet penetration by mobile phone was about 48% in 2014. It grew to 61.2% in 2018 and reached 63.4% in 2019. It is estimated that mobile phone user internet penetration will be over 80% by 2022. The average mobile internet user spends about 3 hours online per day.

Smartphones are driving mobile technology. Their small size makes them convenient and hence more preferable to laptops and other larger devices.

Smartphone manufacturers have been recording increases in the number of devices they make, and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Apple, which is one of the largest smartphone makers, sold more than 210 million iPhones in 2016 alone. It is now the first trillion-dollar company in the world, and it still plays second to Samsung.  

The world aims to achieve close to 100% internet penetration in the coming decades. The internet is also expected to grow larger and more dynamic over the coming decades. 

Currently, about 1.56 billion smartphones are sold to end-users annually. This number has been growing steadily over the past two decades, and it is expected to grow exponentially as the smartphone market expands.   

Cloud Computing: The cloud has proven invaluable in more ways than one. Most notably, it is one of the few avenues left for businesses and people to use following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global cloud computing market is currently worth about $236 billion, up from $87 billion five years ago. The market is expected to grow to about $623 by 2023, which would signify a CAGR of 18%. Its uses are also expected to expand over time, and they will overlap with the new opportunities brought about by 5G technology.  

5G Networking: The mobile technology revolution is just beginning. It promises great things, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) – IoT will also contribute to an exponential growth of mobile technology as it will connect virtually everything to the internet. 5G networking has emerged as the answer to bringing these innovative technologies to fruition.

5G technology is expected to be more than 100 times faster than the current 4G technology – to put this into perspective, 5G supports download speeds of up to 1.4GB per second. This will revolutionize technology across industries such as education and healthcare. For instance, hospitals will transmit large MRI files instantly, and surgeons can perform surgeries in virtual presence from anywhere in the world.  

Mobile technology will help shape the future of mankind. Billions of people around the world are already dependent on mobile technology for their day-to-day living, and billions more are catching up. Soon, it will become necessary to join the grid just to keep up with the human race.

How to Invest in Mobile Technology

However, like many types of new technology, investing in mobile technology does come with potential risks. mInvesting in the sector via an ETF or mutual fund, however, is a good way to counter these risks while still gaining exposure to this high-potential segment. A search on Magnifi indicates there are a number of ways for investors to access mobile tech this way.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


telecommunications 5G

5G

Although 5G appears to be a relatively new trend, it has been in the works for much of the last decade. This new type of internet access, which is anticipated to potentially replace in-home WiFi in the near future, is beginning to emerge among a few select carriers. Verizon, T-Mobile, and other popular carriers are making it easy for their current customers to transition from 4G LTE to 5G mobile internet, which is a stepping stone for applying the technology to other Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the future. 

[5G is Just Part of it. Invest in Mobile Technology as a Whole.]

But investing in 5G while the concept is still relatively new, you can gain an edge over the competition by being one of the first to support an up-and-coming service that is likely to have a strong impact on the future of mobile internet.

What is 5G?

Although some people may simply think of 5G as a replacement for WiFi, the overall potential of the technology is much more complex. First and foremost, 5G is beginning to replace the 4G LTE connection that most cell phone carriers currently use to provide internet access when a reliable WiFi connection is not available. 4G, which came out approximately a decade ago, was a modern replacement for the primitive 3G and 2G mobile internet of early cell phones. Each version made new features possible, increased the speed and capability of cellular data, and boosted the range at which cell phones could get a reliable signal. Like previous upgrades, the widespread release of 5G technology is expected to increase our ability to immediately access the information we need from anywhere in the world. 

[What will 5G mean for the future of video streaming?]

5G coverage is divided into three groups: low-band spectrum, mid-band spectrum, and high-band spectrum. High-band spectrum, which is the classification that most major carriers are currently focusing on, generally provides the strongest and fastest signals. However, this type of spectrum has a much more difficult time reaching through buildings than low-band and mid-band spectrum. For this reason, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of spectrum to get an idea of which is likely to be the most successful in your area before choosing one to purchase or invest in. 

Why invest in 5G

Although the 2020 5G market is expected to be in the range of $5 billion, 5G technology is anticipated to grow exponentially over the next five years, reaching over $650 billion by 2026

The reason for this is the fact that widespread 5G coverage has not yet replaced 4G LTE and WiFi, in part because of regulatory hurdles and delays. Once those issues are resolved, it is expected that 5G adoption will take off nationwide, but it’s still not clear what that timeline will look like and how soon all of this will happen. Still, that explosive potential is why this up-and-coming form of mobile internet is an important area for investors that are interested in the latest technology to keep their eyes on.

After all, like many emerging industries, 5G technology is being pioneered by a handful of standout companies, both large incumbents and fast-growing startups. And it’s still early in this cycle. Investors who get in on 5G now will have far more upside to ride up than those that wait until the technology is fully rolled out and in broad use.

How to invest in 5G 

However, like many types of new technology, investing in 5G does come with potential risks. Although 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and other older signals have been studied in-depth as far as both immediate and long-term safety, not as much is currently known about the impact of long-term exposure to 5G’s electromagnetic fields. What’s more, it’s not yet clear how soon the national 5G roll-out will actually happen nor which companies will take the lead. 

Investing in the sector via an ETF or mutual fund, however, is a good way to counter these risks while still gaining exposure to this high-potential segment. A search on Magnifi indicates there are a number of ways for investors to access 5G this way.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]


internet of things iot

Internet of Things

If you were among the lucky attendees to the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, you likely would have noticed that “connectivity” was one of the show’s most prominently featured trends

CES bills itself as the “world’s largest and most influential tech event,” and many companies at the show chose to display “smart” products that feature internet connectivity as a means by which the product becomes more useful to the consumer. For instance, Weber, the company famous for its round, charcoal kettle grills, featured its new “Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub,” which promises to serve as a kind of “step-by-step grilling assistant that sends notifications directly to your smart phone on everything from a food readiness countdown, to when it’s time to flip and serve.” 

Kohler, the company primarily known for its plumbing fixtures, featured its new voice-controlled “Moxie” showerhead/wireless speaker, which “lets you stream your favorite music, news or talk radio right in the shower with you.” 

Smart devices like these are becoming increasingly popular as daily life becomes more connected to and shaped by the internet. The interconnection of our devices via the internet is often referred to as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT for short.

An entrepreneur named Kevin Aston first coined the term “Internet of Things” back in 1999 in an attempt to describe the connection between physical objects and the internet. At the time, Aston was working on linking Procter & Gamble’s supply chain to the internet through RFID tags. 

These days, IoT encompasses the vast, interconnected ecosystem of devices, sensors, computers, and networks that communicate with each other and with us. There are more than 20 billion devices with internet connectivity in use today, and there is enormous value in the data that these devices generate. 

This value extends well beyond the realm of consumer electronics. For instance, IoT is considered the driving force behind Industry 4.0, a term described by Deloitte as the “new industrial revolution—one that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but communicate, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.”

For those interested in the investment potential of this innovative technology, there are a few important points to understand.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? 

According to research and advisory firm, Gartner, IoT is the “network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.” The overarching purpose of IoT is for physical objects to sense and report information in real-time so that a process can be made more efficient, convenient, or safe.

The practical applications of IoT are vast, and faster, more affordable technology is driving innovation across very different industries. 

Let’s start with the problem of traffic safety. The City of San Jose, California, is currently integrating IoT solutions in order to make intersections safer for pedestrians. For instance, IoT sensors communicate with traffic signals when someone crossing an intersection may require a bit more time before the signal turns green. 

Another problem IoT is helping to address is that of food waste. According to the UN, roughly one-third of the world’s food production is lost or wasted every year. The Danish supply company, Globe Tracker, is working to fix that by offering IoT solutions that keep a close eye on food as it moves around the world in shipping containers. Globe Tracker’s sensors continuously record and transmit data on the container’s location, temperature, humidity, etc. 

This kind of data is highly valuable in all supply chains, but it is especially valuable in perishable food supply chains. Innovators in business and government are going to increasingly adopt IoT solutions to address the complex problems of the 21st century, and providers of such solutions will increasingly innovate and drive IoT technology forward.

Why Invest in the Internet of Things (IoT)?

By all accounts, the IoT market is thriving, and there is good reason to think that even greater growth may be on the horizon.

According to a 2019 report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), global IoT spending in 2019 was forecast to reach $745 billion, a 15.4% increase over the $646 billion spent in 2018. IDC also projected that global IoT spending would surpass $1 trillion in 2022, with manufacturing, consumer, transportation, and utility industries accounting for a significant portion of the spending increase. 

Adoption of IoT is happening worldwide and across industries at a rapid pace. Mordor Intelligence projects that the compound annual growth rate of the IoT market is 21% between 2020 and 2025. Internet-connected devices are also getting cheaper to produce and are becoming more widely available. McKinsey & Company projects that the number of internet-connected devices will increase to 43 billion by 2023, a nearly 300% increase from 2018 numbers. 

Underlying all these positive numbers is an enormous potential boost that is somewhat difficult to quantify: 5G. Mobile carriers are currently in the process of deploying 5G (the fifth-generation wireless network) across the U.S. and around the globe. 5G provides considerably faster mobile connections and will, according to Qualcomm, “seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power and mobility to provide extremely lean/low-cost solutions.” 

The 5G rollout will take time, and as with current data coverage, not every location will get lightning-fast speed. Those locations that do benefit, however, are in for a potentially transformative period of IoT innovation.

How to Invest in the Internet of Things (IoT)

Despite all of this growth and potential, the Internet of Things remains a developing, high-volatility sector, meaning that it can make for a risky investment when bought directly. Rather, a search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of other ways to profit from IoT innovation via mutual funds and ETFs that cover this fast-growing sector.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today. 

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]  


blockchain

Blockchain

It seems as though every time we turn on the news there are new stories about enormous data breaches. 

There was the massive 2013 Yahoo breach in which all 3 billion user accounts were compromised, and then there was the 2017 Equifax breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. 

Data breaches are becoming more widespread and impactful, with 2019 set to be the worst year on record. It is perhaps not surprising that, according to the Pew Research Center, 70% of Americans feel that their personal information is less secure than it was just five years ago. Businesses and governments are tasked with securely storing mountains of complex and highly-personal data, and they are beginning to turn to a novel technology known as “blockchain” to help.

[With new technology comes new risks. Here’s what you need to know about cybersecurity]

Blockchain is a technology solution that solves some of the problems associated with data storage and security. When an organization is solely responsible for maintaining its database, valuable information may be lost in the event of a breach or disaster. A freak hurricane could damage vital data centers (as happened in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy), or an adept hacker could detect a vulnerability in a government’s website and hold critical data hostage (as happened in 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland). With blockchain, data is securely shared across a distributed network in which all parties have access. The nature of the technology is such that damage to one part of the network does not compromise the rest. For this reason, among many others, businesses and governments are turning their attention – and investments – to blockchain.

For those interested in the investment potential of this innovative technology, there are a few important points to understand.

What is Blockchain?

According to the software company SAP, blockchain is most simply defined as a “reliable, difficult-to-hack record of transactions – and of who owns what. Blockchain is based on distributed ledger technology, which securely records information across a peer-to-peer network.” 

The “block” in blockchain describes the data that is entered into the network, while the “chain” in blockchain refers to the chronological sequence in which blocks are entered. Data is approved for entry via consensus of other network participants, and once entered it cannot be changed. In this way, there is a complete, sequential, and verifiable recordkeeping of the network’s data that is available to all participants.

At first glance, this may not seem like a revolutionary concept, but it is important to note that the decentralized nature of blockchain is highly novel and has far-reaching applications. 

An unknown person (or persons) going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto invented the blockchain concept and shared it with the public in a groundbreaking 2008 paper about a proposed digital currency system. That currency system became known as Bitcoin, and the spread of blockchain technology gave rise to a vast ecosystem of other cryptocurrencies. 

While most people only associate blockchain with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, the technology has much broader applications across a variety of industries. For instance, logistics firms are turning to blockchain technology to modernize their supply chains. Danish shipping company Maersk recently launched a blockchain-powered logistics platform called TradeLens, which it says will provide improved visibility into the movement of shipments around the world. 

Healthcare is another sector that stands to benefit tremendously from the adoption of blockchain technology. As any adult in the U.S. can attest, healthcare records are notoriously scattered from provider to provider. Implementing blockchain technology has the potential to make critical health data more accessible and secure while eliminating barriers that currently stifle communication between doctors, patients, and insurers. 

Data is at the core of any modern organization, and it seems likely that blockchain will be an increasingly important tool in the modernization of data management practices.

Why Invest in Blockchain?

Blockchain is an extremely valuable technology with significant investment potential. 

As noted by James Wester, Research Director at International Data Corporation (IDC): “Blockchain is maturing rapidly, and we have reached an inflection point where implementations are moving quickly beyond the pilot and proof of concept phase.” 

IDC estimates that global spending on blockchain solutions will reach nearly $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of nearly 88% from 2018. IDC expects annual spending to climb to $12.4 billion by 2022, with a 76% annual growth rate between 2018 and 2022.

Investment in private blockchain companies is also quite robust. In the U.S., for instance, investments reached about $1.1 billion in 2019 – a healthy figure considering recent corrections in cryptocurrency markets.

Big technology companies understand blockchain’s potential and are adjusting their services accordingly. Companies such as IBM, SAP, and Oracle offer blockchain-as-a-service to help businesses create their own blockchain networks. Companies that are prepared to offer innovative blockchain solutions are well-positioned for the coming changes to the data management landscape, and startups researching blockchain solutions are likely to garner significant interest from established companies. These market dynamics are likely to create a rich environment for outside investment.

Governments around the world are also taking notice of blockchain’s enormous potential. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investing heavily in blockchain startups because of the technology’s cybersecurity advantages in making digital systems more resilient. The Republic of Georgia recently partnered with Bitfury, a Netherlands-based blockchain technology company, to digitize and migrate the country’s land registry onto a blockchain-based network. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced that China will make blockchain a top priority in the country’s new innovation push, a move that may galvanize more investment and research in the West.

In this space where both business and government recognize blockchain’s potential, savvy investors are well-positioned to capitalize on novel applications of this innovative technology.

How to Invest in Blockchain

But, despite all of this potential and recent growth, blockchain remains a very early-stage technology. It has only existed in its current form since 2008, and the industry that has sprung up around it is even younger than that. With that youth comes volatility, which investors are seeing in the prices of pure-play blockchain stocks. However, investing in a mutual fund or ETF that offers exposure to blockchain can be a way to temper some of this volatility. A search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of funds available today for those investors interested in investing in blockchain technology without buying shares in the associated companies themselves.

Magnifi is changing the way we shop for investments, with the world’s first semantic search engine for finance that helps users discover, compare and buy investment products such as ETFs, mutual funds and stocks. Try it for yourself today.

This blog is sponsored by Magnifi. The information and data are as of the publish date unless otherwise noted and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individualized investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities tailored to your needs. This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and should not be construed as investment research or advice. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content may not be reproduced or distributed to any person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Magnifi. [As a technology company, Magnifi provides access to tools and will be compensated for providing such access. Magnifi does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.]