Automation

If automation makes you think about robots, you aren’t alone. But, while smart robotics is a major part of the industry, that’s not all there is to automation anymore.

For example, how was your company’s most recent email campaign sent? It is unlikely that each email was sent one by one. Instead, the send was probably automated using an email service that leveraged a database of information to deliver specifically crafted emails to a designated target audience.

What about your most recent hire? Did you review resumes by searching for keywords on paper from file folders, marking each with a highlighter? The likelihood is that your company used an automated hiring and recruitment tool that allowed them to search keywords in a convenient toolbar.

When you scheduled your last meeting with a handful of coworkers, did you review each of their calendars individually and log their availability in a notebook? Or, did you send a Doodle?

This even extends to operations. Is your customer service team still the front line for all of your customers’ questions. Likely, no. It’s highly probable that your customer service team utilizes a chatbot that has some intelligence capabilities. This function allows them to be more agile, responding promptly and completely to customers with concerns that need to be directly addressed at all hours of the day and night.

These functions weren’t performed by humans or robots. Instead, they were executed by a business application of automation technology.

What is automation?

The traditional definition of automation is “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.” According to the International Society of Automation, however, automation is “the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.” 

In short, it’s using mechanized systems to perform tasks that would otherwise be done by people. By cutting out the human operator, automation can help cut down on errors, add new efficiencies to processes, increase productivity, reduce labor, improve safety and lead to higher profits.

Today, automation is becoming increasingly intelligent and effective. This is helping it turn up in businesses in ways that are less than obvious.

Like in the example above, a chatbot answering a customer question rather than a person is one business application of automation technology. But it can be much more than that. Automation is also the intelligence that results in linking the right information to the right person or product. This is particularly important in manufacturing.

Emerson, an electrical multinational company based in Missouri, for example, offers a product called the PlantWeb digital ecosystem. The system improves performance by collecting and synthesizing data from equipment and processes, and then delivering it to the most appropriate human for intervention.

Similarly, consider Zebra Technologies Corp, which offers software and tracking services. It’s technology has applications that improve services across industries including retail, warehouse and distribution, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, hospitality, energy and utilities, and the public sector. Recently, it introduced SmartSight, an intelligent automation solution that can spot errors on retail and warehouse shelves and prescribe solutions.

In the retail space, Amazon’s analysis of prior customer purchases and its suggestions of additional products that each customer might consider as they complete their online order. Certainly, a person isn’t behind the scenes drafting a “might like” list. Instead, it’s all automated, and it’s usually fairly accurate.

But that’s just the beginning. Automation technology is also enabling augmented intelligence, where artificial intelligence and machine learning are combined to deliver new cognitive systems that go beyond what humans could accomplish working on their own. According to PwC, these systems can be used to “augment human-driven processes such as data manipulation, exception management and continuous straight-through processing improvement unlocking the value across all areas of the business.” 

By layering together automation with these intelligent technologies, organizations are able to transform how they work, how they deliver services, and how they scale their businesses.

Why invest in automation?

Automation is making things work better all around us. It reduces costs, increases productivity, increases reliability, reduces bottlenecks, and increases overall performance. Most importantly, automation is becoming increasingly accessible to small businesses thanks to the flexibility and lower cost of cloud-based platforms and services.

As of 2018, the automation market was estimated to be worth as much as $160 billion, on track to grow nearly 12% per year through at least 2025. Much of this growth is happening in Asia, the world’s manufacturing center, which owned 32% of the total automation market as of 2018. According to the International Monetary Fund, there are roughly 1 million robots currently at work in Asia, accounting for 67% of global industrial robot usage.

Much of the growth in the automation market is expected to happen in 3D printing, where automated printers are already being used to produce machine parts, and nanomanufacturing, where automation is helping produce solar cells, batteries and other tiny manufactured parts.

Manufacturers of all sizes, for example, are increasingly using automation to evaluate the efficiency of their processes. Automation gathers data from designated equipment, compares the gathered information to a set of ideals, and then suggests actions to be taken to achieve desired results.

In HR settings, even the simple ability to autofill data rather than manually enter it both improves efficiency and reduces the opportunity for human error. When harnessed, it should be a “driver of growth and job creation, including in new occupations and industries never before imagined,” according to the Aspen Institute

How to invest in automation

Investing in automation technology doesn’t have to mean picking the next big company with the most advanced robotics. Automation-related ETFs exist and include the Robo Global Robotics & Automation ETF, which has over $2 billion in assets. These allow investors to have diverse holdings in automation advances.

After all, given the rapid growth of the automation sector, investing in one particular company can be risky. Finding ETFs and mutual funds that offer exposure to this fast-growing sector as a whole is a better gain to gain exposure to the technology as a whole as it continues to develop and evolve. A search on Magnifi suggests there are a number of different ways for investors to do this.

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.]


Biotech

If you are the sort of person who enjoys a cold beer after a long day, it may surprise you to learn that the beverage in your hand is a product of biotechnology.

Really.

That’s because, in the case of beer, brewers harness the biological power of yeast to produce alcohol through fermentation. Brewing is among the oldest known examples of humans harnessing natural biological processes to create something new, and modern biotech is simply a more advanced version of this ancient practice.

Modern biotech really took off in the 1970s following scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetic engineering. By combining DNA from two different organisms and inserting the new hybrid DNA into a host cell, scientists harnessed the natural process of DNA replication to produce large quantities of hybrid molecules. This technology, known as recombinant DNA technology, revolutionized biology and ushered in a new era of possibilities in which complex new substances could be synthesized in quantities sufficient to benefit mankind. 

For example, Genentech, an early pioneer in biotech, used recombinant DNA technology to develop a process for creating synthetic human insulin in the early 1980s. Prior to Genentech’s breakthrough, diabetics had to take insulin derived from the pancreas’ of pigs and cattle. 

Another major biotech breakthrough happened when Monsanto, an agrochemical company, introduced “Roundup Ready” crops in 1996. Monsanto genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops to be resistant to the highly-effective herbicide Roundup, which Monsanto had been selling since the 1970s. Farmers could buy Roundup Ready seeds from Monsanto and apply Roundup herbicide to their fields and the Roundup would kill all plants except the Roundup Ready crops, making the task of weed control significantly easier. 

Big advances in biotech have been met with a combination of excitement and concern over the years, but the transformative potential of new discoveries is undeniable.

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

What is biotech?

At the highest level, biotechnology (or “biotech”) is defined as the use of biology to solve problems and make useful products. This involves the use of biology to solve problems and make useful products. Modern biotech encompasses a wide range of products and technologies.

As an industry, biotech can generally be divided into three sub-industries: biopharmaceuticals, agricultural biotech, and industrial biotech. 

The biopharmaceutical (aka biopharma) industry focuses on developing new drugs through genetic engineering, such as with Genentech’s development of synthetic insulin. Biopharma drugs are composed of molecules that are larger and more complex than traditional pharmaceuticals. These complex drugs have enormous potential for disease treatment because they are highly-effective and cause few side effects. 

The agricultural biotech industry focuses on developing new agricultural products through genetic engineering, such as with Monsanto’s development of herbicide-resistant crops. Agricultural biotech aims to make agriculture more efficient by improving crop yields, making crops less susceptible to pests and disease, and improving the nutritional value in food. 

Lastly, the industrial biotech industry focuses on harnessing the power of biological processes such as fermentation to produce energy and make industrial processes more efficient. For example, ethanol is a biofuel that is produced by fermenting corn, and it is added to gasoline to reduce air pollution. Many scientists are hopeful that further development of biofuel technology will play an important role in combating climate change. 

While people tend to associate biotech primarily with the healthcare sector, it is important to note that biotech has a wide variety of innovative applications across numerous industries.

Why invest in biotech

As an industry, biotech offers a rare opportunity in this turbulent market because it outperforms the market in recessions and the evolution of healthcare points to long-term growth. 

In the recessions of 2001 and 2008-2009, biotech outperformed the S&P by an average of 18%. Even with the S&P’s recovery in recent months, the index is still down about 5% for the year as of mid-June, while the largest and oldest biotech ETF, iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB), is up about 12%. 

Stepping away from short-term volatility, Polaris Market Research projects that the industry will see a compound annual growth rate of about 7% over the next several years. The need to develop innovative treatments to challenging diseases is seen as the primary force driving this long-term growth. 

Hanging over this entire discussion of performance is, of course, the impact of COVID-19. Biotech companies are in a race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and some companies, such as Moderna, are seeing massive gains after reporting positive results. 

How to invest in biotech

The key point to keep in mind when looking at biotech investing is accurately gauging risk tolerance. Biotech is a volatile place to invest in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Companies spend years and billions of dollars developing treatments, and the reality is that not every treatment works or is approved. 

Investors interested in the massive potential of biotech would do well to do their homework and honestly assess their appetite for wild price swings. Biotech looks to have a bright future, and the industry does have a history of beating the market, but it is important to understand that it comes at the cost of high volatility.

That’s why investing in a biotech-focused ETF or mutual fund is a good way to gain exposure to this growing but volatile sector. A search on Magnifi suggests there are a number of different ways for investors to do this.

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.]


medical devices

Medical Devices

When we think “medical device,” we might automatically think of the beeping equipment in a hospital room. But, in today’s world, medical devices are much more— perhaps even closer to science fiction than traditional science. 

The medical device market is anticipated to reach $432.6 billion by 2025, according to a recent report published by Lucintel.  

In part, this growth is driven by the increasing sophistication of technology. Medical devices are becoming smaller and smarter than ever, performing increasingly complex and constantly improving functions. 

[What else is happening in healthcare? Here’s Magnifi’s take.]

Moreover, escalating healthcare costs, a rise in chronic diseases, and a growing aging population are compelling health care providers to seek out new, more efficient care models. From 3D printing human tissues to monitoring patients according to their specific clinical needs after they leave the hospital, innovative medical devices are meeting that need. 

New medical devices are offering a myriad of useful answers to complex health challenges, changing the reality of care in new and exciting ways. 

What are Medical Devices?

According to the World Health Organization, ‘medical device’ means any instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, appliance, implant, reagent for in vitro use, software, material or other similar or related article, intended by the manufacturer to be used, alone or in combination, for human beings, for one or more of the specific medical purpose(s) of:

  • diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease,
  • diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of or compensation for an injury,
  • investigation, replacement, modification, or support of the anatomy or of a physiological process,
  • supporting or sustaining life,
  • control of conception,
  • disinfection of medical devices
  • providing information by means of in vitro examination of specimens derived from the human body;

and does not achieve its primary intended action by pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means, in or on the human body, but which may be assisted in its intended function by such means.

So, health monitors, check. Brain sensors, check. 3D printed prosthetics (and ears!), check again. 

Why Invest in Medical Devices?

The landscape of medical devices is growing rapidly, with technology making the impossible possible. 

Wearables

The rise in wearables isn’t limited to FitBits. And when it comes to medical devices, wearables do much more than measure your steps. For one, wearables can offer real-time patient data to health care providers. And, when they connect with Artificial Intelligence-based programs, they not only collect information, but also analyze it against big data. 

Up-to-minute information about vitals limits the need for in-person appointments and can lead to better patient outcomes. For example, Current Health’s Remote Patient Monitoring Platform is AI powered and customizable according to a patient’s risk level. 

Some emerging wearables can also perform health interventions. In early 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),approved the first wearable, portable peritoneal dialysis. Developed by Singapore-based AWAK Technologies, the device has the potential to change the lives of dialysis patients around the world. 

Perhaps even more exciting, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a wrist-worn prototype that screens the wearer’s blood over the course of a few hours, analyzing it for circulating tumor cells (CTCs).

Wearables can be used for everything from pre-surgical planning to gene sequencing and medical imaging, making their health and investment opportunities plentiful. 

Brain Sensors 

These days, brain sensors come in many shapes and sizes. Some are placed in the brain itself, measuring temperature and pressure before dissolving. This information can be crucial for patients with traumatic brain injuries, for example. Their dissolvable nature not only negates the need for surgery to remove them, but also limits the risk of infection and complications associated with long-term implants. 

Alternatively, the company Advanced Brain Monitoring offers products designed to track function as it relates to chronic diseases and early stage neurodegeneration.  

Still others are more consumer oriented, like the company Muse, which sells headsets that act as a brain fitness tool, measuring and tracking brain activity.

Artificial Organs 

Certainly many things — like the heart — can’t be replicated. Right? Actually, that’s not entirely true anymore.

iSynCardia Systems recently received FDA approval for its most recent iteration of a total artificial heart, the 50cc temporary Total Artificial Heart System (50cc TAH-t).The company’s artificial heart, first approved in 2004, is meant to be a bridge until a biological donor becomes available. Artificial organs, whether printed or made otherwise, offer a lot of promise, providing millions waiting on donor organs an alternative. 

3D Printing 

According to the FDA, “3D printing is a process that creates a three-dimensional object by building successive layers of raw material.” 

Not only does 3D printing allow for the creation of more patient-specific devices, it allows for more specific variation in medical tools. Rather than buying large quantities of a tool, providers can print them on demand. Similarly, customized prosthetics and orthopedic implants are more possible than ever, improving the likelihood of patient success.

Bioprinting

Now, for the real science fiction stuff. 

Bioprinting uses carefully designed bio inks made of biomaterials and cells to 3D print living obstacles, such as tissue or organ. Pioneered a decade ago, bioprinting in its early days was developed to improve wound reconstruction related to burns, one of the most common types of traumas worldwide. Since then, scientists have gone as far as to develop a prototype of a handheld bioprinter designed specifically to help skin regenerate in areas affected by large wounds.  

Beyond skin, scientists have succeeded in bioprinting an artificial pancreas, a synthetic ear, a meniscus made in space, and even bone tissue. Researchers are even working on bio-printed ovaries for women suffering from infertility. 

How to Invest in Medical Devices

As an emerging industry, particularly one in the feast or famine sector of biotech, investing in medical devices directly can be risky. Although medical devices on the whole have been around for decades, the innovative new solutions at the forefront of the industry remain largely untested. This can make investing in individual medical device companies a risky proposition.

However, a search on Magnifi indicates that there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds available to give investors broad exposure to this industry without concentrating their bets on any one company. 

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.]


Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

The term nanotechnology might seem like something reserved for a science lab, but it is as close as the latest pregnancy announcement that you may have heard.

That’s right, the second pink line on a pregnancy test only appears if the hCG hormone is present. If the tester is pregnant, gold nanoparticles tagged with a specific antibody attach to the hCG on the second strip.

And nanotechnology is doing more than telling women they are pregnant. Advances are improving bulletproof vests, making plastic beer bottles possible, and coating products to make them better— from flame resistant furniture to fortified glass surfaces to antimicrobial bandages.

The global nanotechnology market is projected to reach $2.23 million by 2025 according to a study by Allied Market Research. This growth is credited to increasing applications across industries, including communication, medicine, transportation, agriculture, energy, materials and manufacturing, and consumer products.

What is Nanotechnology? 

A nanometer is the microscopic measurement of one billionth of a meter. For perspective, consider that one sheet of paper is roughly 100,000 nanometers thick. 

According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, nanotechnology is, “the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.” In other words, it’s the ability to manipulate and create matter, enhancing it for the purpose it will serve, at the molecular level. 

Why Invest in Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is an exciting investment opportunity because of its growing, impactful applications across industries. 

Nanotech innovations and its applications have a range of biomedical potential. In medicine, specifically, nanotechnology is solving real-world health challenges by innovating from prevention to diagnostics to treatment. 

For example, antibiotics have long been a standard treatment for infection. However, the overuse of antibiotics has resulted in increasingly drug-resistant bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were an estimated 119,247 cases of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections and 19,832 associated deaths nationwide in 2017.

As an alternative to antibiotics, novel nanomaterials can combat pathogens, not only offering a more targeted delivery of medicine and therapeutics, but also a more targeted treatment. 

The potential for nano-driven solutions to public health issues is not lost on big investors. 

Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund, recently invested EUR 7 million in Mutabilis, a company developing novel antibacterials for drug-resistent bacteria. 

And nanovaccines against both bacteria and cancerous tumors are also in the works, according to a recent report from the Advanced Materials “Biomimetic Nanotechnology toward Personalized Vaccines.” Not only can nanotechnology “increase the potency of vaccines,” it can personalize applications of both vaccines and treatments with the potential for tremendous social and economic impact. 

Nanotechnology is also helping patients suffering from endometriosis, a condition that affects 10% of childbearing-age women will experience endometriosis.

The traditional treatment for the condition was to surgically remove lesions, which often recur after surgery and require multiple invasive surgeries. Using nanotechnology, scientists instead employ tiny polymeric materials packed with a specialized dye. Not only do the tiny materials fluoresce to show where the lesions are, essentially providing imaging. They also kill the lesion cells by flaring to 115 degrees Fahrenheit upon exposure to near-infrared light, helping to remove the lesions.

Nanotechnology is also improving cardiovascular care by reducing the size and improving the effectiveness of instruments used for cardiac surgery. 

There’s even the potential for nanorobots, which have the potential to operate in the human body, analyzing and reporting on given tissues. 

Because nanotech also has broad potential beyond the healthcare field.

For example, nanotechnology is constantly improving electronics, which, as they become smaller and smaller, also become increasingly harder to manufacture. Nanotec can shrink these technology tools so that they fit in our pockets while also making them better at processing data, increasing memory space, lighter and more portable, and improving functionality overall.  

Nanotechnology is responsible for the lithium-ion battery, for example. Offering a minimum power draw and high-energy-density, these now commonplace batteries weren’t on the market until the 1990s. Since then, they’ve become increasingly more powerful and less expensive. 

And yet, the innovation hasn’t stopped. The world is now taking stock of graphene, a single, thin layer of graphite. Although graphene shares the same atoms as graphene, its properties are extremely different because the atoms are arranged differently. 

Nanotech Energy, a battery and graphene technology startup, recently secured $27.5 million in funding, according to the company. Founded in 2014, the company plans to release a non-flammable, environmentally friendly lithium battery that charges much quicker than those currently on the market in the coming year. 

How to Invest in Nanotechnology

Yes, the growth potential for nanotechnology is impressive, but the sector doesn’t come without risk. Although nanotech has been around for years, it is still considered an emerging field and the industry is still sorting out where the best, more profitable applications lie. This can make investing in individual nanotechnology companies a risky proposition.

However, a search on Magnifi indicates that there are a number of ETFs and mutual funds available to give investors broad exposure to this industry without concentrating their bets on any one company.

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.]


gaming

Video Games

If the image that comes to mind when someone mentions video games is a teenage boy sitting in their parent’s darkened basement playing Mario Kart, surrounded by discarded Mountain Dew cans and Doritos bags, then it is time to discard this outdated stereotype.

Whether or not you yourself enjoy playing video games in your leisure time, gaming has evolved considerably and expanded well beyond its niche origins to sit squarely in the entertainment and cultural mainstream. Fortnite, you may recall, became a global cultural phenomenon following its 2017 release, with everyone from World Cup soccer players to Michelle Obama getting in on the dances popularized by the game.

The demographics of gaming are rapidly evolving with this expansion into the cultural mainstream. In a recent study by AARP, the percentage of adults age 50-59 who play video games at least once a month increased from 38% in 2016 to 44% in 2019, with women more likely than men to regularly play.

Gaming’s explosion in popularity is due, at least in part, to transformative changes in the video game industry over the past decade.

Ten years ago, if you wanted to play the latest game, you would go to a local store (GameStop, for instance), buy the game for around $60, and take the discs home to install/play. These days, mobile gaming (primarily on smartphones) accounts for the largest share of total gaming revenue worldwide, and popular games are often free to download and play. Developers monetize these free games by offering players in-game purchases.

Another relatively recent development is the rise of subscription gaming, which offers players access to a multitude of games for a monthly subscription fee. Similar to the “streaming wars” between Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc., developers are scrambling to build competitive subscription services as they work to attract larger shares of the growing market.

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

What are video games circa 2020?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a video game as “a game in which the player controls moving pictures on a television screen by pressing buttons or moving a short handle.”

Video games have been around in one form or another for decades, beginning with arcade gaming in the 1970s and transitioning to home gaming in the late 70s and early 80s with popular titles such as Space Invaders, Frogger, and PacMan.

Gaming today largely falls into three distinct categories: console gaming, personal computer (PC) gaming, and mobile gaming. Console gaming happens on devices that are built exclusively to play video games (think PlayStation, Xbox, etc.), while PC gaming happens on high-performance personal computers, and mobile gaming, as the name implies, happens on your mobile device (such as your smartphone or tablet).

Until relatively recently, console and PC gaming were the dominant forces in the video game industry, but the recent explosion of smartphone use and internet connectivity globally has dramatically reshaped the industry.

According to market research firm Newzoo, mobile gaming is currently the fastest-growing segment in the video game industry, and revenues from mobile gaming account for 46% of the total gaming market in 2019. This isn’t to say that dedicated gamers are ditching their consoles and PCs in favor of games on their smartphones; rather, the market is expanding as more people gain access to free or inexpensive games through their mobile devices.

This expansion and diversification of the gaming ecosystem have given rise to novel revenue streams; most notably, live streaming and esports.

Live streaming involves gamers broadcasting themselves playing video games live on the internet. The practice has become wildly popular, as evidenced by Amazon’s 2014 acquisition of the streaming startup Twitch for $1 billion.

Esports, meanwhile, refers to competitive, organized video gaming. You may recall the story about the 16-year-old who went home with $3 million after winning the 2019 Fortnite World Cup.

Global revenues from the burgeoning esports market exceeded $1 billion in 2019, an increase of 26.7% over 2018 revenues. The emergence of live streaming and esports has fueled greater interest in gaming while offering outside investors a new way to reach this diverse group of consumers.

Why invest in video games?

According to Newzoo’s 2019 Global Games Market Report, there are more than 2.5 billion people globally who play video games, and global revenue from gaming reached $148.8 billion in 2019. The U.S. market alone generated about $35.5 billion in 2019.

As a point of comparison, the 2019 global box office for films reached a record $42.5 billion, and the U.S. box office finished with $11.4 billion. This means that in 2019, people spent more than three times as much on video games as they did on seeing movies.

This remarkable performance comes amid a changing revenue landscape in which console and PC gaming account for less and less consumer spending.

Mobile gaming comprised about 46% ($68.2 billion) of overall market revenue in 2019 – an increase of 9.7% over 2018 revenues. Though smaller than mobile, console gaming continues to see healthy growth, occupying 30% of the market ($45.3 billion) with an increase of 7.3% from 2018.

Newzoo forecasts that video game revenues will grow to $196 billion by 2022 at an annual growth rate of 9%. Mobile gaming will continue to grow over the next several years, increasing from 46% of the total market in 2019 to a forecasted 49% by 2020 ($68.2 billion to $95.4 billion).

Mobile gaming’s expansion in the market may even be accelerated by outside factors, including the rollout of 5G networks (faster connectivity means better gameplay in more places) and further advancement of augmented/virtual reality (think Pokémon GO).

The video game market offers a unique investment opportunity because the industry is projected to continue its extraordinary performance in the coming years, and the various segments offer a wide variety of options when it comes to risk vs. return.

How to invest in video games

However, despite their popularity and long-standing growth, investing directly in the video gaming sector can be challenging. There are hundreds of different companies working on individual gaming properties, and the rise of mobile gaming has introduced new players to the sector, such as mobile providers and hardware manufacturers. However, a search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of other ways to profit from the growth of video games as a whole.

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.]


climate change

Climate Change

Once a year, the CEO and Chairman of BlockRock, Larry Fink, sends a letter to the CEOs of the world’s largest and most influential companies. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with over $7 trillion in assets, so the annual letter always attracts a great deal of attention.

In the letter, sent on January 14, 2020, Mr. Fink argued that climate change is driving a “fundamental reshaping of finance,” and that “In the discussions BlackRock has with clients around the world, more and more of them are looking to reallocate their capital into sustainable strategies. If ten percent of global investors do so – or even five percent – we will witness massive capital shifts. And this dynamic will accelerate as the next generation takes the helm of government and business.” 

For BlackRock to announce that it is placing sustainability at the center of its investment approach, and to argue that investors and businesses would be wise to follow suit, it is nothing less than a seismic shift with enormous potential implications. This isn’t some small company announcing that it’s placing a renewed focus on sustainability; BlackRock is a financial colossus, and when they say that they are rethinking their investment strategies because of climate change, investors around the world should sit up and pay attention.

[The world needs to double food production by 2050. Here’s how investing in Precision Agriculture can make that happen.]

It should go without saying at this point that climate change poses a singular threat to mankind and the Earth’s biodiversity. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report, which annually identifies the most pressing global challenges, ranked “climate action failure” as the top global risk in terms of overall impact, and, for the first time in the report’s existence, the top five risks in terms of likelihood are all climate-related. 

There is growing public pressure on governments and businesses to do more to address the threats, and an increasing number of Americans rank it as a top policy priority for the Federal Government.

Climate change is a problem that is so large and complex that it simply cannot be tackled by one group acting alone; as such, governments and businesses need to work together on the transition to renewable energy. As the BlackRock letter makes perfectly clear, the private sector can no longer afford to ignore climate change. 

There are promising signs that this message is finally sinking in, as evidenced by recent announcements from several powerful companies detailing bold new climate action plans. Amazon, for instance, recently launched a new initiative called The Climate Pledge, which promises that the company will transition completely to renewable energy by 2030, order 100,000 electric delivery trucks, and invest $100 million in reforestation projects around the world. 

In addition to this initiative, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently announced that he was committing $10 billion of his own money combat climate change. 

Not to be outdone, Microsoft made headlines recently with its own bold pledge, announcing that it would work to become carbon negative by 2050, in that it would “remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.” Microsoft simultaneously announced that it was investing $1 billion in a “Climate Innovation Fund.”

These recent announcements, coupled with the ground-shaking BlackRock letter, make it clear that the risks posed by climate change are beginning to disrupt traditional investment practices. For the savvy investor who understands the magnitude of the changes that are beginning to occur, there is tremendous opportunity in combating climate change.

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

What is climate change?

The United Nations explains the problem of climate change thus: “Greenhouse gases occur naturally and are essential to the survival of humans and millions of other living things, by keeping some of the sun’s warmth from reflecting back into space and making Earth livable. But after more than a century and a half of industrialization, deforestation, and large scale agriculture, quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to record levels not seen in three million years.”

As greenhouse gasses concentrate in the atmosphere, more of the sun’s heat is prevented from radiating out into space, which slowly drives global temperatures up and creates a whole host of serious problems. According to the NOAA 2019 Global Climate Summary, “the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and over twice that rate (+0.18°C / +0.32°F) since 1981.” 2019, the year that saw the devastating Australian wildfires and destructive Atlantic hurricanes, was the second-hottest year on record since record keeping began in 1880.

Efforts to bring together a solid, international coalition committed to tackling climate change have proved difficult thus far, with meetings such as the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit concluding without making much in the way of significant progress. 

However, millions of young people in cities around the globe walked out of school on Friday, September 20, 2019, to express their anger at climate inaction and demand substantive, swift change. These young people are energized, politically active, and highly motivated – they represent the groundswell that will richly reward those who turn away from fossil fuels and toward innovative, renewables. 

Why invest in climate change?

Technological innovation is key to fighting climate change. 

No matter how much we legislate, protest, and conserve, we need technology to help get us out of this mess. Thankfully, humans are nothing if not resourceful, and our desire to keep the planet safe and healthy for future generations means that the market for innovative, clean technology is going to continue to expand. 

One challenge currently facing startups focusing on climate change is a lack of venture capital (VC) interest. For VCs, why put your money in a risky startup with moderate short-term returns when a software startup’s short-term return could be enormous? The answer to this question is rather simple: because the world is in trouble and the power of the almighty dollar can help. 

Matt Rogers, co-founder of Incite Ventures, a fund that supports mission-driven enterprises, puts it another way: “Sitting on your pile of money while the oceans are rising may not help you stay dry.” 

How to invest in climate change

However, supporting a topic as broad and all-encompassing as climate change isn’t as simple as buying a few stocks. The issue crosses industry lines, investment segments and even international borders. That’s why it can be more impactful to invest in fund that are involved in a number of different businesses working on solutions related to climate change.

A search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of different ETFs and mutual funds available to investors who want to get involved in climate change technology without having to invest in dozens of different companies directly.

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.] 


cybersecurity

Cybersecurity

Upon arriving for work on March 19, 2019, employees of Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro found alarming signs posted throughout the office notifying staff that the company had been hacked and to not use any network devices. Locked out of all company computers, and unable to even use the office printers, desperate employees drove to local print shops to make the signs.

What happened at Norsk Hydro in early 2019 was a significant, and increasingly-common, type of cyberattack in which hackers gain entry to a company’s secure network, encrypt important data, and hold it hostage until the company agrees to pay a ransom. Norsk Hydro decided early-on that it would not pay the ransom and would instead endeavor to retrieve the data from back-up servers. While Norsk Hydro scrambled to address the attack, no company computers or devices could be used, which meant that the 35,000 employees across 40 countries were, temporarily, reliant on pen and paper to conduct business. 

Ultimately, the attack cost Norsk Hydro an estimated $71 million.

The threat of cyberattack is becoming more sinister as life moves increasingly online. Hackers continuously probe systems for vulnerability, and individuals, businesses, and even governments are learning (sometimes the hard way) that cybersecurity needs to be taken extremely seriously. 

[Cybersecurity matters more than ever in today’s Blockchain-enabled economy. Here’s how.]

The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risks Report, which annually identifies the most pressing global challenges, ranked cyberattacks among the top 10 risks globally in terms of overall impact. Facing this looming threat, organizations around the world are investing heavily in cybersecurity solutions. 

For instance, federal funding for the newly-created Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency increased by $334 million between 2019 and 2020. In addition to building internal cybersecurity capability, businesses are under increasing pressure to comply with new data privacy laws, such as the recently implemented General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union. Implementing strong cybersecurity practices is increasingly seen as essential for organizations of all sizes, and businesses offering cybersecurity solutions are in high demand. 

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

What is cybersecurity?

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (often referred to as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework), cybersecurity is defined as “the process of protecting information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks.” 

[It’s not all virtual. Here’s how to invest in… Military & Defense]

A successful cybersecurity strategy involves multiple layers of protection integrated across an organization’s technology and workforce. This involves securing devices, the network, and cloud with advanced protection technologies that prevent outside intrusion and bolster internal security. Educating people on basic cybersecurity principles is equally as important as implementing advanced security tools; even the best security systems can fail if people are careless or unaware of potential threats. 

Organizations that implement a successful cybersecurity strategy often do so with the help of a cybersecurity framework, which helps inform decision-making when it comes to thinking critically about cybersecurity risks within an organization. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is one such framework, and it is increasingly implemented by private companies in the U.S. as cybersecurity concerns increase.

Still, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated as technology becomes increasingly interconnected, and organizations of all shapes and sizes are scrambling to update their cybersecurity strategies. Unfortunately, hackers adapt, and the threats evolve just as fast as the defenses. There is a growing gap between the need for cybersecurity solutions and the ability for organizations to produce those solutions in-house. 

Increasingly, organizations are looking to third-party security providers to help cope with complex, evolving threats. Even a robust, well-trained staff of IT professionals may not be sufficient to protect an organization from these threats. As such, there is growing interest in companies like Splunk, which specializes in analytics-driven security solutions. Splunk is valued at more than $25 billion, and the company’s total revenues increased 36% over the past year. 

The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced that it is buying Splunk software as part of a 10-year, $820 million purchase agreement.

Why invest in cybersecurity? 

The global cybersecurity market is growing rapidly. According to market research by Mordor Intelligence, the global cybersecurity market was worth about $161 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow to about $363 billion by 2025 at an annual growth rate of 14.5%. 

However, market research by International Data Corporation (IDC) paints a more conservative picture, valuing the 2019 cybersecurity market at $106 billion and growing at an annual rate of 9.4% to $151 billion by 2023. 

Regardless, the trend is undeniable: cybersecurity is a healthy and growing market. 

All the fundamentals are solid, and powerful global trends are pushing cybersecurity toward the forefront of all conversations surrounding technology for years to come (data privacy issues, the internet of things and increased connectivity, grid vulnerabilities, etc.). 

Mordor’s research notes that the cybersecurity market is somewhat fragmented, meaning that it is highly competitive and not completely dominated by a few powerful companies. For potential investors, this diverse market offers real opportunities for sustained and potentially rapid growth. 

Venture capital (VC) funding in cybersecurity companies has been increasing rapidly over the past several years. According to KPMG, VC funding of cybersecurity companies in 2018 reached a record $6.4 billion, and 2019 funding numbers are expected to exceed that figure. Given that technological innovation and adoption are accelerating globally, and that cyberattacks are occurring more frequently and with greater impact, investment in cybersecurity solutions will likely continue to grow for the foreseeable future. 

For the savvy investor with an eye on the future of technology, the cybersecurity market offers excellent growth potential. 

How to invest in cybersecurity

However, as an emerging and highly-technical industry, jumping right into cybersecurity by investing directly in one of the field’s leading firms can bring with it undo risk for investors. As with any tech investment, it’s important to understand the products and services that these companies are offering their customers, and how those offerings truly set them apart from the competition, in order to accurately gauge the potential growth as well as the potential risk in any cybersecurity investment.

A search on Magnifi suggests that there are a number of mutual funds and ETFs available that offer exposure to the growing field of cybersecurity requiring investors to get a PhD in technology first. 

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.]