The Best Thing for the ‘Internet of Things’ is for it to Fail

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This week I ‘got my conference on’. I hit two conferences back to back on consecutive days. While this would put many people to sleep, I loved it.

I enjoy getting to relevant conferences. You always meet fascinating people. See fascinating companies. Play with fascinating tech. Of course my purpose for these conferences isn’t just to have fun — though it helps. My aim is to find the next batch of pioneering, innovative and extraordinary companies.

If I can find just one or two companies that the Aussie market hasn’t picked up on yet, then you stand to profit. By unearthing companies that are flying under the radar, I can bring them to you. If I do that before anyone else gets wind of it then you stand to profit.

The kinds of companies I look for fall into two categories. First I’m looking for the best Aussie small-cap companies I can find. Second I’m looking for the most revolutionary technology companies in the world.

I look for the best Aussie small-cap companies for my investment service, Australian Small-Cap Investigator. Here I seek out and recommend great Aussie small-cap companies that can make huge returns. My recent ‘shockproof stocks’ report explains this in far more detail than I’ll go into today.

I look for the most revolutionary technology companies for my other investment service. This service, Revolutionary Tech Investor is all about the companies that will change our world with technology. Now, these aren’t your average tech companies. I’m seeking truly revolutionary ones. Ones that are doing something that no other company in the world is doing. It’s incredibly exciting to discover these companies. That’s why I try to get out and about to as many conferences, trade shows, business demonstrations and meetups as I can.

Sitting behind the computer 365 days a year isn’t going to find you the best companies. Meeting and talking with pioneers will. Trying the latest in new technology firsthand will. Speaking to the CEO of a company that’s just raised $10 million in VC funding and is looking to go public in 12 months will.

That’s why I go to these conferences. And that’s why I love them so much.

What we need to do is fail 50% of the time

On Tuesday I was at the IoTExpo conference at London’s Kensington Olympia. This was a conference all about the ‘internet of things’. You should be pretty familiar with the IoT by now. If not, it’s really just a world where everything connects to the cloud.

Of course it’s waaaaaaaaaay more complicated than that. There are far more complex parts to it. There’s the data aspect for instance. The IoT is set to produce more data than the world has ever seen.

In fact one speaker from Ubuntu was explaining that per hour an IoT connected webcam with 4K resolution will send approximately 19Gb of data to the cloud. He remarked that he had some interesting conversations with the likes of companies such as Vodafone and T-Mobile. He asked if they were prepared for this kind of data flow from millions of devices. Their answer…well let’s just say it’s fair to assume they’re not ready.

The IoT is going to bring some fairly abrupt changes to the Telco industry, that’s for sure.

Another aspect which I found fascinating was the overall preparedness for the IoT. I guess the fact Telco’s aren’t ready is a good place to start. But there was also a discussion about the ‘Industrial IoT’, which got me thinking.

I was in a session with speakers from John Deere and Volvo Construction. A question was put to them from a guy in the crowd from Intel. He asked what the success rate of pilot programs with their connected technologies was. He was trying to figure out what was working, what wasn’t working and why.

Interestingly, no one was keen to offer a response. But the speaker from Volvo Construction made a valid point. He explained that pilot programs fail all the time. Failing is necessary to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

It’s a simple theory when you think about it. If you pilot 100 IoT programs and 50% fail, then you’ve still got a 50% pool of successful programs to move on to from there.

These companies, worth billions, are still in a trial and error phase. They’re not ready for a company wide roll out. They’re definitely not ready for a world full of IoT. The world isn’t ready for it. No one is really ready for or capable of handling the IoT.

It made me realise the IoT is purely theoretical until we can actually do something with it.

Think about a city running legacy systems that are 50, 60, 100 years old. Heck London used to deliver milk by horse and cart as recently as the 60s. You really think one of the world’s big cities is ready for all this change? Most systems will need to be built or rebuilt from scratch. Overlaying tech from today onto tech from the mid 20th century won’t work. The IoT has plenty of promise, but it will be one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the history of man.

Now don’t mistake me for being anti-IoT. We have the tech here, ready to go now. We just need to find the right companies to get it active in a way that works. Fortunately there are some, and they’re working hard to make it all happen.

200,000 machines now with 20% more

Much of it will start with analysis. Companies are only just starting to understand the power of data from their connected devices. It’s no good to just have raw data streaming in from a device — that’s useless. If all you have is raw data and no way to understand it, process it and take positive action from it, then the IoT will remail theoretical.

The next crucial step in having the IoT go beyond hype and into practice is analysis. Take all this data and find a way to make sense of it. Then use it to fail.

The more IoT devices that fail sooner, the faster we can deploy the ones that work.

From there we can actually start to make tangible change. Change for the better. Improvements to the world. The IoT can be world changing, if we apply it in the right way.

It’s probably best summed up from an example of the John Deere combine harvester. The typical ‘driver controlled’ combine harvester actually only works to around 60% capacity.

That’s because the driver doesn’t want to push the machinery to what he perceives as breaking point. But that machine is capable of so much more. With the IoT you could have real-time useful feedback. That 60% figure can change. John Deere found that with IoT capability the driver could take that combine harvester to 80% capacity. Now that’s still not the 100% it’s capable of. But I can’t think of any industry that wouldn’t take a 33.3% gain in capacity overnight.

Now imagine if 200,000 combine harvesters’ added 33.3% capacity…

That’s where the IoT can be so powerful for the future. We’ve just got to get the world to figure out how to do it properly.

Regards,

Sam

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Sam Volkering

Sam is Editor for Money Morning and it’s small-cap and technology analyst. He spends his time hunting down the most exciting stocks on the planets, whether they’re potential-packed volatile small-caps or tech firms transforming our future through cutting-edge technologies. You can find more of Sam’s work over at Australian Small-Cap Investigator, where he shares the best small-cap stocks he finds on the ASX, or at Revolutionary Tech Investor where he reveals the latest breakthrough tech investment he’s discovered. If you’d like to more about Sam’s financial world view and investing philosophy then join him on Google+. It’s where he shares investment insight, commentary and ideas that he can’t always fit into his regular Money Morning essays.

Sam Volkering is Editor for Money Morning and its small-cap and technology analyst.

He’s not interested in boring blue-chip stocks. He’s after Australia’s rising stars — companies whose shares trade for cents on the dollar — and are often shunned by those in the financial services industry. His mission is to make you big money, from small stocks.

If you’d like to learn about the specific companies Sam is recommending you buy for turbo-charged stock returns, take a 30-day trial of his small-cap investment advisory Australian Small-Cap Investigator here.But that’s not where Sam’s talents end. From discovering the Apple 2e and Macintosh in the mid-80s, to the rise and fall of the Mini Disc in the 90s…to building internet apps in the 00s…Sam is an amazing talent at finding new, cutting edge technologies and translating that research into how the future will look — and where the opportunities lie.It’s his job to trawl the world to find, analyse, research and — in the right situation — recommend investments in the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced companies.He recommends the best ones he finds in his breakthrough technology investment service Revolutionary Tech Investor.This revolutionary investment advisory is dedicated to finding the best ways to profit from technological developments across the globe. If the best action is in Australia, Sam will find it. If it’s in Silicon Valley, Frankfurt or Tokyo, Sam will find it there too.To find out more about how Revolutionary Tech Investor can help you profit from breaking developments in the tech world click here to take a 30-day no-obligation trial today.

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Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@moneymorning.com.au