Some of the most incredible opportunities for investors in recent times have been in the technology segment, and incredibly, many of those opportunities have gone largely unnoticed.
That’s part of the beauty of investing in technology companies — they have a product or vision they bring to fruition that not only provides something new to the market, but they often expand into a whole new segment of the economy that most consider science fiction.
One such investment worth considering is Sierra Wireless, Inc. (TSX:SW)(NASDAQ:SWIR). Sierra is predominately known as an Internet of Things (IoT) pure-play company that develops the embedded modules that allow devices to connect to each other and the internet.
IoT is the concept of taking everyday devices and then making them smart. These devices could be communicating with each other to complete a single task made up of several smaller ones, or they could be simple notifications about some condition being met. In both cases, connectivity of the devices is key.
The connectivity aspect often referred to as making devices “smart” is what IoT pundits peg as expanding to over 50 billion connected devices over the next few years.
Needless to say, there are massive growth opportunities in the market for IoT-focused companies
Due to Sierra’s product offering and preferable market position, there is immense potential for Sierra in this segment, which is part of the reason why the stock has been repeatedly mentioned as a great tech stock for long-term investors to consider.
That being said, there are still two other areas that hold even greater promise for investors to benefit from that are evolving very quickly and are often neglected.
Your new smartphone is slow: here’s why
Smartphones have become a staple of our modern society, and we’ve grown incredibly reliant, if not addicted, to the instant access to having the world’s information at our fingertips. And while with each passing year, telecoms are doubling data capacities to quench our growing data appetites, we are reaching a bottleneck in what 4G LTE carriers can provide to us.
This is where the advent of 5G comes in; it is expected to be released on devices sometime within the next year and is set to revolutionize everything.
5G is based on the concept that just about everything is connected, in real time, with massive data potential. To put that into context, consider a smart highway that appropriately updates speed limits based on weather patterns and congestion, or cars that will automatically re-route themselves to a more efficient trajectory due to communications reports from other vehicles, including ones that have been in an accident.
All that technology is possible today, but bandwidth restrictions over 4G LTE connections prohibit real-time quick decisions from being made, particularly if systems are reliant on fetching data from another location to make those choices.
5G will push the limit in terms of speed, making it possible to connect everything, everywhere, at once.
Your car is getting smarter and you don’t realize it
One of the most highly anticipated technological developments is autonomous driving. While there are a dozen or more companies working on different aspects of bringing a driverless vehicle to the masses, all of that work is in vain unless the vehicle itself has connectivity options.
More vehicles are coming off the assembly line each year with added connectivity support, with everything from diagnostics and safety controls to entertainment and mobile hotspot options now being offered.
These features, along with growing barrage of independent safety features such as lane departure warning, auto-breaking, active cruise control and self-parking are nothing more than a checklist of requirements necessary for autonomous driving to become a reality.
Sierra is at the centre of this initiative, providing automotive manufacturers with the required hardware necessary for that connectivity.
Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Sierra Wireless. The Motley Fool owns shares of Sierra Wireless.