The Internet of Everything will be a major growth market going forward. More specialized areas of this market are emerging, from Internet-connected cars to sensors on turbines that share data over the cloud. As one of the largest Internet providers, AT&T (NYSE: T ) has immense exposure to many of these markets, and will see a good amount of growth from them going forward.
A new-aged industrial revolution
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) is pioneering an Industrial Internet, which, according to analysts, could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of this decade. GE is developing the "convergence of machine and intelligent data," and will run its platform across its entire conglomerate, which consists of everything from energy to health care. As Bill Ruh of GE explained, "It is only in the ability to quickly analyze, understand, and put machine-based data to work in real-time that points us to a society that benefits from the promise of big data."
Besides an anticipated boost to the overall economy, GE also expects the Industrial Internet's efficiency to save it big money. Aviation alone, for instance, would be saved an estimated 205 million hours, which translates to $10 billion. GE thinks that over $20 billion a year could be saved overall, and less cost often means more profits for GE shareholders.
Big data in industry means big data use
The Industrial Internet will inject growth into many companies. GE will be utilizing AT&T's network to connect its equipment to cloud-based computing services. The massive amount of data gathering required, as well as the remote monitoring of GE's numerous industrial products, will also be enabled by AT&T's wireless network.
More data use will be good for AT&T's growth prospects, but industrial data alone is expected to grow twice as fast as any other big data segment over the next 10 years, according to research firm Wikibon. GE is the undisputed industrial king, and is also leading the charge forward into the Industrial Internet. That's why AT&T scoring a deal with GE gives it a big edge over competitors.
Hotspots on wheels
Another lucrative IoE deal for AT&T involves a partnership with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) . The connected-car is coming, and cars will soon be utilizing, sharing, and collecting data. Your car will be connected to the Internet just like your smartphone, and Tesla is helping to pioneer this concept by utilizing 3G/HSPA+ connectivity provided by AT&T's networks.
A modem and an embedded SIM in Tesla automobiles will enable AT&T's machine-to-machine solutions, which will allow for "remote engine diagnostics that communicate service and diagnostic information to both drivers and Tesla engineers." It will also, "for safety and security, help to determine if there are any performance issues which require attention prior to further degradation."
This could be a game-changer for the auto industry, and Tesla is advancing early. While many automakers are integrating "infotainment" systems into their cars, Tesla is changing the entire driving experience by implementing real-time diagnostics and maintenance monitoring into cars. Tesla's infotainment system will also be ahead of competitors. Besides a 17-inch touch screen, mobile Internet access for Internet radio, search, live traffic status, weather, and navigation will be top-notch with the assistance of AT&T's wireless network.
Trading at over 95 times forward earnings, Tesla's valuation is extremely rich, as investors anticipate significant innovation and growth from the company. Taking an early, innovative leadership position in the connected car is essential because cloud-connected automobiles is where the industry is headed.
The bottom line
More Internet and data use is good news for AT&T. Not only will the company benefit from rapidly increasing Internet and data use from the IoE, but it is also striking key strategic deals with leaders and innovators in various sectors. Shares look attractive, trading at just 13.5 times forward earnings and yielding over 5%. AT&T is a great buy-and-hold stock with a solid history of increasing its dividend, and now looks like a good time to establish a position before the upcoming IoE boom kicks in.
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