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Sierra Wireless Inc. vs. BlackBerry Ltd. in the War of the Internet of Things

Things are about to get very interesting in a nascent technology that the CEO of Cisco said has the potential to be a US$19 trillion market. Unless you are a technophile, you may not have seen much about it, but it’s coming. The technology is called the Internet of Things (IoT). As its name implies, all sorts of “things” will be connecting to the Internet.

But what is a “thing?”

A thing is anything that doesn’t currently connect to the Internet. Your refrigerator is a thing that could connect. A blood pressure, pulse, and temperature machine is a thing that could connect, transmitting that data back to your doctor. Your car could connect to the Internet so that you could communicate to other connected devices in your house. Whereas in the past, your things were isolated, the IoT would connect everything together so it could all communicate.

The two companies that I have my eyes on in this sector are Sierra Wireless Inc. (TSX:SW)(NASDAQ:SWIR) and BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY). But if you had to choose, which would you buy?

Sierra Wireless

Some analysts have called Sierra the King of IoT. What the company is attempting to do is create the nervous system of the IoT. In essence, how do two different devices talk to each other? If we look at the acquisitions that the company has made over the previous years, it is clear that the only focus that Sierra has is on the IoT.

Some of the products that Sierra Wireless has includes wireless modules, modems, gateways, and cloud services. This portfolio of products and services will enable many different items to connect to the Internet with relative ease.

What’s best for potential investors is that the stock has plummeted from its year high. Buying shares of the stock at this price would definitely be a smart move, especially if IoT does take off.


BlackBerry has been through an inferno and is attempting to come back. I have proposed that the company stop making hardware and it appears to be focusing more on software. The one market that BlackBerry thinks it can dominate is security. We have already seen companies like Ford ditching other companies for BlackBerry’s QNX operating system.

In essence, BlackBerry doesn’t want to control the entire market. Instead, it wants to be the brains of the operation. So long as BlackBerry keeps its reputation for security, I see this company having a very bright future in the market.

Which should you buy?

I am a proponent of owning both stocks. If you want to add a few tech stocks to your portfolio, they are both interesting investments. The reality, though, is that they are risky. If the IoT fails, these stocks could also fail miserably. Fortunately, the price of both companies is attractive and I don’t see the IoT disappearing. Therefore, buying both stocks would definitely be a smart move. The risk is there, but the reward is also there.

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Fool contributor Jacob Donnelly has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Sierra Wireless.

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