No one wants to be left behind in the Internet of Things revolution. IoT thought leader Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) created a big buzz earlier this year when it put a $19 trillion figure on the size of IoT. Since then, a number of companies have come forward boasting their IoT credentials, with chipmakers leading the charge. Already, the likes of Avago, Broadcom, and Skyworks have showcased their IoT portfolios, and now Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL ) is joining the fray.
Last month, Marvell unveiled its "full range of Internet of Things solutions with the industry's most complete line of wireless microcontroller platform." The company made a big statement with this launch, as it is targeting a comprehensive range of applications with its IoT portfolio. According to Marvell, its silicon platform solutions for the IoT will address the following areas: wearables, home automation, home security, personal health care, smart appliances, accessories and remote controls, automotive, lighting, industrial Internet, and more.
Evidently, the company is trying to touch each corner of the IoT opportunity, and if it succeeds in any one, then its financial performance can take off like never before. Marvell is delivering a mix of hardware and software to tap the IoT opportunity. It has released microcontroller products that work on three different connectivity standards: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee. These microcontrollers are powered using Marvell's EZ-ConnectTM software platform, which provides a ready-to-go solution that satisfies industry-standard communication protocols.
How Marvell will benefit
With a mix of hardware and software expertise, Marvell is trying to accelerate the deployment times of original equipment manufacturers for bringing new IoT applications. Microcontrollers will be key to the adoption of the Internet of Things, as independent devices such as smart clocks and thermostats will need to communicate with each other and process the information exchanged. So far, microcontrollers have found uses in TVs, car ECUs, microwave ovens -- basically anything that needs an input and has to process information.
Now, with the Internet of Things, it is estimated that there will be 50 billion connected objects by 2020. Each of these will require microcontrollers for reasons stated above, indicating that Marvell is sitting on a big addressable market.
Marvell also sells storage chips, which is another way it might profit from the Internet of Things. Seagate and Western Digital contribute approximately 36% to Marvell's top line, and both of these storage companies should see a bump in demand due to the growing requirement for storage. The IoT will result in huge streams of data (imagine 50 billion devices communicating with one another), which will be stored in data centers.
Data center capacity will have to be upgraded to address the huge influx of data. Already, both Western Digital and Seagate are seeing strong demand from enterprise customers, despite a slowdown in the PC market. This isn't surprising, as the amount of data stored is expected to shoot to 6,000 exabytes in 2020, up from less than 1,000 exabytes in 2014, according to Fool analyst Jim Mueller. Since Marvell supplies chips to the two biggest storage device manufacturers, it can attack the IoT opportunity from another angle as well.
The Cisco advantage
Being in the good books of Cisco should help Marvell's IoT endeavors. The chipmaker was Cisco's supplier of the year in 2011, and it followed up with another award for excellence in delivery and flexibility in 2012.
Cisco will need to build and deploy more equipment to address the spike in data transmission that is expected as a result of devices connecting with each other. So, it will need microcontrollers for its own equipment, and Marvell can supply the same.
Cisco is moving fast in the Internet of Things and recently announced that it will build Asia's first IoT innovation hub in India. The networking giant is providing the infrastructure and technology to test and deploy prototypes for a connected smart city, according to The Times of India.
Additionally, Cisco's access points, routers, switches, and other hardware will be embedded into the smart city's fiber-optic network. Going forward, Cisco will use this smart city model in other Indian cities and other emerging markets, opening opportunities for Marvell to sell more of its products.
The bottom line
Marvell's microcontrollers and storage clients place it in a solid position to attack the IoT opportunity. The company has relationships with the right companies, and it is focusing on a smart strategy of delivering a combined hardware-software solution to customers. Additionally, Marvell has a lot of other catalysts, as mentioned in a previous article, and coupled with the IoT opportunity, it looks like a solid prospect.
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