Intelligence Everywhere

If anything captures my vision for what the near-future holds for us, it is the Motorola slogan 'Intelligence Everywhere'. In my post 'Reverse Engineering the Future' I talked about the powerful, inexorable trends that are driving us towards the mass proliferation of Microvision devices. But while Microvision will play a fundamental role in the information technology industry of the mid-to-late 00s, there are lots of technologies that will emerge from the post-bubble downturn as critical to what will become the 'intelligence infrastructure'. I'd like to take some time to acknowledge a few other promising companies that I think will have substantial opportunities for growth over the next five years. I'll leave the heavy lifting of in-depth research on these companies to y'all.

Echelon Corp. (ELON)

Echelon designs software and hardware to enable networking of everyday devices like light switches, coffee machines and anything that runs on electricity. Connecting your appliances to the Internet may not seem like a big deal right now, but with a LonWorks network in your home, you'll never have to worry about leaving the iron on after you've left for work. You can just bring up your home's home page and turn it off from your web-enabled cell phone or PDA.

RF Micro Devices (RFMD)

It's hard to believe that the number one provider of chips for cell phones would be valued at only $1.3B given that over 700 million cell phones were sold last year and there's no end in sight for the growth of mobile communications. 4 years after the bubble and people still can't figure out what's going to grow or how to value growth companies.

InterDigital (IDCC)

A company that exists almost solely as intellectual property, InterDigital owns patents that cover most all of the existing wireless data transmission standards. The company believes that most devices operating in the TDMA and CDMA standards require licensing of their patent portfolio, and they have licensed their technology to every major wireless provider and handset maker.

Universal Display (PANL)

Some people will always just like to actually have a physical screen to display information. All the better if it's transparent and can be rolled up into a ball. Universal Display's Organic Light Emmiting Device (OLED) technology still has some work to do to be commercially viable -- lifetimes for these organic materials are too short for most applications. But, these types of challenges are sure to be overcome. Look for PANL to make some noise in the general lighting market, with solid state white OLEDs as a potential replacement for that old die-hard, the light bulb.


Totally convincing virtual reality is going to require some serious graphics chips. NVIDIA's graphics boards offer extremely high quality texturing, shading and 3D rendering capabilities. These capabilities will get dramatically stronger over the next 5 years, allowing computer graphics to compete with everyday life in realism and nuance.