What Is "The Internet of Things"? We Traveled 9,000 Miles to Find Out

With Apple and Google both pushing to become major players in the Internet of Things, the Fool goes on a 9,000 mile journey to explore the trend.

May 31, 2014 at 5:30PM

"Industrial Internet could add a sizable $10 [trillion]-$15 trillion to global GDP -- the size of today's U.S. economy."
-- General Electric

"We estimate the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025."
-- McKinsey & Company

The numbers surrounding the "Internet of Things" are astonishing, and with each passing week more and more companies are planting their own flags on the emerging trend. 

Earlier this week, the Financial Times broke a story: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) planned to embrace the Internet of Things by creating a new app to control smart home devices. 

Apple wasn't the first large Silicon Valley to embrace the trend. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) spent $3.2 billion to purchase Nest earlier this year in its own "smart home" play. Most of Silicon Valley is racing to reorient its marketing around the term, which is causing a buzz for everything Internet of Things-related. 

Yet while the hype around the Internet of Things is getting deafening, it's still an esoteric term for many investors. The most basic question investors want to know is, simply, "What is the Internet of Things?"

At its core, the Internet of Things is simply taking devices that previously weren't connected to our digital world and giving them connections to the Internet.

But that's an overly broad explanation for the far-reaching implications of a trend that promises everything from automating our homes to creating "smart cities." We wanted to provide a clearer look at what exactly the Internet of Things is, and even in the infancy stages of the trend, how it's already in play across the world around us. 

So, we wanted to make the Internet of Things real. We went to visit companies on the bleeding edge, inventing the future in places you might not expect. In the dead of winter, we flew to a place many would call crazy. We flew to the Arctic Circle and visited a company powering some of the devices we wear. Its Internet of Things category saw 1,425% sales growth in the past year, and the category expects another 300% growth in 2014.

We also visited a city that's being built from the ground up as a smart city. Along our journey, we'll travel 9,000 miles canvassing the Nordic region for innovation where you least expect it. 

So join us in the preceding video, as we dive into what the Internet of Things is, and how it can transform our world. 

Are you ready for this $14.4 trillion revolution?
If you're looking for a ways to invest in the Internet of Things before the trend takes off, we invite you to read about one stock our team of equity analysts has identified as an early leader in this soon-to-be trillion-dollar industry. You can't travel back in time to invest in the leaders of the Internet before the dot-com bubble, but you can set up your own future. Click here for the whole story in our eye-opening report.

Eric Bleeker, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned. Rex Moore owns shares of Google (C shares). The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google (A and C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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