Technology investors looking for dividend stocks have plenty to choose from. But there are a handful of tech stalwarts that both pay dividends and are making huge bets on the $7 trillion Internet of Things (IoT) market.
Let's take a look at what each company is doing in the IoT market and what each pays out in quarterly dividends.
Intel's Internet of Things ambush
Intel has shifted a lot of its attention toward the IoT market over the past few years, with a series of company acquisitions and a pivot away from PCs.
- IoT focus: Intel's latest move in the IoT space came last week when it snatched up a computer vision company specializing in automotive and security technologies. Intel says the company's technology is the "key ingredient" for upcoming IoT projects, and the move should allow Intel to compete with other driverless car tech companies on the market.
Intel also has its own processors designed specifically for the IoT, like the Quark processor, and has built an IoT platform with Accenture, SAP, and Dell.
Intel's also jumped into wearable technology with its purchase of Basis Science back in 2014, and even created a high-end wearable bracelet with Opening Ceremony. The luxury bracelet includes the functions of sending and receiving text and emails and receiving social media notifications.
So far, Intel's IoT ambitions appear to be paying off. The company earned $2.3 billion from its IoT ambitions last year, a 7% increase year-over-year. And as fellow Fool Ashraf Eassa recently pointed out, Intel took about 17% to 20% of its addressable IoT market in 2015 -- which means the company is off to a great start in the IoT space.
- Dividend payout: Intel pays a $0.26 quarterly dividend right now, and has raised the payout twice over the past year. The stock currently yields roughly 3.3%. Here's what the company's payout looks like over the past four years:
Cisco's massive Internet of Things predictions
Cisco's been talking about the Internet of Things for quite a while, and has made some huge predictions along the way.
The company says revenue from IoT companies and the savings from more efficient systems could amount to a total of $19 trillion by 2025. And the company says there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet by 2020.
- IoT focus: Aside from its predictions, Cisco has been busy building its IoT offerings. The company uses it networking and switches technology to improve connected servers in manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas, transportation, and smart cities.
The company's ramped up its IoT focus under CEO Chuck Robbins. One of Robbins' biggest IoT moves came in February with the $1.4 billion purchase of Jasper Technologies. The company develops software for connected devices, and has about 3,500 IoT customers.
Investors will be disappointed that Cisco doesn't yet break out its Internet of Things division when it comes to revenue, but that may be in part because Cisco is still waiting for some sources to materialize. Cisco's in the middle of transitioning from a one-time device sales company to a recurring-revenue services company.
- Dividend payout: Cisco started paying dividends in 2011, and since then the company's raised the payout six times, with the current amount sitting at $0.26 per quarter -- that's quite the jump from its initial amount of just $0.06 in 2012 and yields about 3.6% at the stock's current price.
IBM's Internet of Things realization
IBM pivoted more toward the Internet of Things last year, when the company said it would spend $3 billion over the next three years on its IoT pursuits.
- IoT focus: The company is focusing much of its attention on its Watson cognitive computing system, which can process natural language data, video, and images, and allows companies to use machine learning to build analytics and machine learning systems for its clients.
In a Computer Weekly interview earlier this year, IBM's head of IoT, Harriet Green, said the company has more Internet of Thing patents -- 750 total -- than any other enterprise business. She also mentioned the company is working with customers including the city of Beijing and Airbus to bring cognitive computing capabilities to its clients. IBM's system tracks weather and data from sensors in Beijing to analyze the city's air quality and pollution, and Airbus uses IBM's system for predictive maintenance on its planes -- computers determine which areas need to be fixed through sensors and analytics before they actually break.
IBM's wise to focus on maintenance analytics, considering that the market is expected to be worth $24.7 billion by 2019.
- Dividend payout: IBM's stock is certainly for divided lovers. The company pays $1.40 per share per quarter -- yielding 3.66% at current prices -- and has raised the payout five times in as many years.
Waiting for IoT potential to materialize
There's nothing set in stone saying these stocks will excel in the Internet of Things, but each one is certainly making headway in the space. I think Intel has both the most to gain and lose from the IoT as the PC market slows -- the company is looking for its next core business, and its future could depend on how well it transitions to the IoT.
The same will eventually be true for Cisco and IBM, but they'll likely have more time to transition existing customer into their IoT solutions, while still bringing in significant revenue from their sales.
While Intel isn't the highest-paying dividend stock in IoT, I like how the company is doing everything it can to transition into the space. I wouldn't discount the company's ability to expand its processor revenues in the IoT either. If it can pull all of this off, then there's a good chance the company will become a successful IoT play, while making investor payouts at the same time.