Image source: Getty Images.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to enable huge efficiency improvements by analyzing the data generated by connecting the world's devices. In fact, the trend is already having a big impact on the tech sector and related stocks. For income-oriented investors, there are some major IoT players that are worth considering as portfolio additions.

Click through the slideshow below for profiles on Cisco (CSCO -0.19%), IBM (IBM 0.40%), Qualcomm (QCOM 0.81%), Verizon (VZ 0.60%), and AT&T (T 1.39%). The presentation looks at these companies shaping the future of the IoT based on the five most important metrics that dividend investors should keep their eyes on: 

  • Dividend yield: annual payout as a percentage of share price -- shows how much income is generated per dollar invested
  • Years of dividend growth: how many years running a company has raised its payout -- helpful in estimating the likelihood of payout increases
  • Payout ratio: dividend payout as a percentage of earnings -- indicates payout sustainability and room for growth
  • Dividend growth: amount that payout has increased over a time period -- helpful in estimating the extent of future payout increases
  • Free cash flow: operating cash flow minus capital expenditures -- dividends are often paid from free cash flow and cash generation is an indicator of ability to maintain and raise payout

5 High-Yield Internet of Things Stocks to Watch from The Motley Fool.