Category Archives: Thematic Signals

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Thematic Signals highlights confirming data points and items to watch for our list of investing themes. Whether it’s a news item, video clip, or company commentary, we’ve included this full list of items literally “ripped from the headlines.”

Old Problems, New Technology: Cybersecurity Today and the Companies Leading the Way

Old Problems, New Technology: Cybersecurity Today and the Companies Leading the Way

The term “cybersecurity” often brings to mind images of either a nefarious looking hooded computer nerd superimposed over floating dollar signs or a picture of a shiny lock superimposed over a background of floating binary numbers – imposing and futuristic stuff! 

While we are all enamored with the newest and shiniest things, let’s not forget that current cybersecurity technology is just another step in the evolution of protecting communications and data storage. Securing information and verifying identity are millennia-old processes that started with trusted couriers and clay seals. Today’s trusted couriers come in the form of digital identity verification, with clay seals in the form of 256 bit (and higher) encryption. In addition to this framework are the secure message pathways in the form of what is known as “end-to-end” encryption, which not only wraps each message in encryption but provides a fortified route in between any and all participants. 

At a high level, the basic approach to message security hasn’t changed over thousands of years. Long ago, anyone looking to disrupt secure communication could do so by either corrupting the messenger or capturing the message en route and modifying or replacing the message contents altogether. When we look at how this can happen today, the basic approach is the same but the methods have once again evolved. 

Let’s take a look at how hackers can compromise your communications and data – the “attack vectors.”

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What the 5G Rollout Really Means for Consumers…And Investors

What the 5G Rollout Really Means for Consumers…And Investors

e recently discussed the market opportunity and some of the technical aspects associated with 5G, shorthand for the fifth generation of mobile network technology that is widely expected to expand the scope of mobile data and connectivity. The simple truth is that for carriers to recoup their hefty investments in any new mobile network, consumers and businesses need to be able to connect to that new network as well as the existing ones. That means devices not only need to access the latest and greatest network, they also need to be backward compatible with prior ones to ensure usage as the new network’s capacity is built out.

While there have been several devices that have connected to mobile networks, including PCs, tablets, and wearables, the original big seller was the mobile phone. While such a rudimentary device can still be found if one searches high and low, it has been replaced by the ubiquitous, wondrous and highly addictive smartphone. Smartphones don’t just make calls — they are used increasingly to access the internet, shop, chat, stream videos, interact on social media, and access other services. In 2019, smartphone shipments totaled 1.38 billion, down modestly from 1.41 billion according to data published by IHS Markit, but as we’ve seen in the past, the deployment of next-generation networks that bring greater data speeds tend to foster a smartphone upgrade cycle. For context, exiting 2019 GSMA found there were 5.175 billion unique mobile subscribers across the globe.

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What is 5G, And How Can Investors Jump On This Emergent Technology?

What is 5G, And How Can Investors Jump On This Emergent Technology?

We’ve been hearing about this new 5G technology for years and how it is going to revolutionize our lives, make autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things possible, and reduce cholesterol levels. Ok, maybe not that last one, but it has been touted as being a Very Big Deal. So just what is 5G?

  • 5G refers to the 5th generation mobile network. It is a set of technology standards that drive very low latency with a very large number of simultaneous connections allowing for data transmission at very high speed. Say that five times fast.
  • It also tends to be used as a shorthand method for referring to a series of spectrum bands.
  • It is also referred to in use cases, such as with the aforementioned driverless cars.
  • It is also used to distinguish a certain class of devices from others. For example, while Apple’s next-generation iPhone will be the iPhone 12, its being commonly referenced as Apple’s 5G iPhone.

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A Blockchain Primer: What Is It, Who’s Using It, When It’ll Go Mainstream, And How To Invest In It

A Blockchain Primer: What Is It, Who’s Using It, When It’ll Go Mainstream, And How To Invest In It

In 2008, a whitepaper was written by Satoshi Nakamoto (whoever he, she, or they may be), which ultimately introduced Bitcoin to the world. But as much as Bitcoin is truly revolutionary, it stands on the shoulders of a number of papers authored by Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber in the early 1990s that outlined ways to digitally serialize, timestamp and protect transactions through a distributed, or decentralized, database. These papers effectively outline the framework for what has become known as blockchain technology. We’ve seen several ETFs come to market looking to capitalize on the explosive growth and disruption associated with blockchain and more than a few companies pivot their business models to capitalize on it as well.

But first, we’ll give you a quick primer on blockchain, as well as some real-life examples, before getting into mainstream adoption and ways to invest in it.

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Has The Moment Arrived For The Online Learning Marketplace?

Has The Moment Arrived For The Online Learning Marketplace?

And here you already thought you knew what “reality” was.

The online learning marketplace is estimated to be approximately $42 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35-40% through 2024. The widespread adoption of this innovative approach to education has been borne by the traditional mother of invention: necessity.

While the coronavirus pandemic has not single-handedly ushered in the age of remote learning, it has greatly accelerated a trend that has been in place since services like the YouTube launched Khan Academy in 2008. The Harvard and MIT collaboration EdX began in 2012 by offering a single MIT sponsored course “circuits and electrics.” The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider currently offers, through 140 institutions ranging from corporations to academic institutions, Professional Certificate courses as well as “MicroBachelors” and complete graduate degree programs.

As the non-profit space began to proliferate in the early 2010s, so did the for-profit space with companies like Canvas (2008), Udemy (2010), and Coursera (2012). As students and parents brace for what looks to be a very different back to school event in the coming months, investors will be evaluating opportunities across the digital education landscape as well as supporting infrastructure. 

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An Investor’s Primer on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

An Investor’s Primer on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Just as the internet has changed how we can communicate, transact, consume, and produce, so will Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) improve, and in some respects, utterly transform our lives.

Source: An Investor’s Primer on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) | Nasdaq

How Apple’s (AAPL) WWDC 2020 Showcases Its Role in Our Digital Lives

How Apple’s (AAPL) WWDC 2020 Showcases Its Role in Our Digital Lives


It featured the news that Apple will begin transitioning to its own processors later this year from those supplied by Intel for its Macs, with that transition expected to span the next two years. For some time now, Apple has been expanding its internal chip design capabilities leveraging it into proprietary A-series chipsets for the iPhone, iPad and other devices, and in many ways this is a natural extension for a company that hangs its hat on not only its walled garden, but also on the tight integration of hardware and software and along with that a high level of device interoperability. 

Right off the bat, the company didn’t drop any hints about its widely expected 5G iPhone upgrade super cycle that many suspect will commence later this year. Not really a surprise given the event is geared towards the ecosystem that develops apps to run on Apple’s existing and soon-to-be-announced devices.

While we wait for the company’s annual fall hardware event for the next must-have device…

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Are Technology Earnings Poised To Outperform?

Are Technology Earnings Poised To Outperform?

  • The global pandemic created enormous headwinds to growth for a global economy that was already struggling.
  • Despite the recent bounce-back in equities and improvements in the economic data, COVID related headwinds will remain in place, negatively impacting EPS growth and share buybacks for years to come.
  • The COVID pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology solutions, a trend we expect to see continue as additional thematic tailwinds support future growth opportunities and new disruptive technologies take hold. 

Coming into 2020, growth had already been elusive for years in much of the global economy. For investors, this meant that stock price appreciation was increasingly reliant on multiple expansion and the financial engineering of share buybacks, while those areas that generated genuine growth enjoyed even greater share price tailwinds. As is often the case, in 2020 the global economy got exactly what it was least prepared to handle in the form of a health crisis which led to a record-breaking economic crisis. Demand in some sectors fell by nearly 100% almost overnight while some, particularly those in technology-related areas, were relatively unharmed or even benefited from the lockdowns as consumers and businesses embraced technology-led solutions at an accelerated pace.

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