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Investing in Technology Themes - AI / Blockchain / IOT by TrendFollower

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Part 1:

Some of you will be familiar with the term 'Megatrends' when it comes to investment themes. I personally think within the Technology sector Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and IOT are going to be high up in any list if they are not already. These technology themes have the potential to be what could be classed as 'Disruptors' in their field of use.  They could also end up disrupting other trends.

AI is a form of 'Machine Learning'. IBM and other large corporations have been and are currently doing a lot of work in this area. They are beginning to invest a lot of capital in the development phase. Here 'Big Data' plays an integral part. One company I invested in a while back which made a lovely return for me was 'WANDisco'. It is listed on the AIM market. AI is basically built on algorithms that learn by analysing lots of data. I think that is the simplest way I can explain it for those who may not be too familiar with this emerging and exciting theme from an investment perspective. 

Rather than repeat myself on Blockchain, those who are interested may want to read my Blockchain threads - Blockchain Trilogy by TrendFollower

IOT is happening now. To put is as simply as I possibly can it is where connected devices talk to each other. This will produce big data. This is where in my view AI comes in. AI will be able to analyse this data, identify trends, model / predict potential outcomes from patterns that us mere humans would not be possible to do, especially in the speed required. 

So IOT would be the way to supply the data and AI would be the way to mine the data. IOT = 'Data Supplier' and AI = 'Data Miner'

Blockchain is basically a 'Distributed Ledger'. Blockchain will keep a ledger of how devices which connect with each other communicate and when. There will be an audit trail which will be tamper proof (or least likely to be tampered with). It will keep a record of how devices interact with each other. It will be like a form of glue which can bring AI and IOT together and bind it with the ability to record and date stamp important events. Blockchain will be vital where there are any interactions and transactions. It is when tokens / digital payments / cryptocurrencies may possibly be used. 'Smart Contracts' could be used where there is an exchange of goods and services. Here is will be able to improve the compliance, improve the cost efficiency and I think will be crucial in the management, tracking and auditing of supply chains across the globe. From the reading and research I have carried out, IBM, is doing a lot of work in this area. They are one of the largest technology companies in the world. They will have hired some of the finest minds in the world for this area. 

To be continued... (Part II - Coming Soon)

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Part 2:

So to recap the three main technology themes from an investment perspective I was discussing in my previous post in this thread were:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Blockchain
  • Internet of Things (IOT)

Now one of the reasons why these technology themes are really gaining traction and momentum at the moment is due to the massive increase in computing power. 5G is coming very soon which will really allow these three to collaborate and achieve great things. They all have standalone benefits but together their interactions with each other will open up new possibilities to deal with greater challenges in a digital world and a digital future as that is the direction of travel. IBM are doing some really exciting things in this area.

AI needs vast amounts of data. What the Blockchain can do is store this data securely. Data security has been in the media a lot recently and we are living in the world of 'Big Data'. This data needs to be secured and there needs to be trust. Blockchain will play a vital role in this. Data stored on the Blockchain is 'Cryptographically Secured'. This means tampering with this is extremely difficult. I am not saying it is impossible but it is far more difficult. So for example if a company had sensitive data then securing it on the Blockchain begins to make a lot of sense. 

AI and Cyber Security are also combining to make Cyber Security more robust and fit for purpose. This should lead to cost reductions too. You only have to look at job vacancies nowadays to notice that real companies are looking to recruit real Blockchain experts. There is a real demand here for individuals with Blockchain skills. 

If you now add to the mix 'Robotics, Automation and Cognitive Computing' one can begin to see how this digital universe begins to take shape. I appreciate that a lot of what I am writing will not make much sense to some of you who either do not believe or accept my writings or simply do not understand it.  I have not even mentioned 3D printing, Augmented Reality and Smart Sensors yet!

I think with more powerful computing power and machine learning the world is going to be a very different place in the future to what it is now. Investors will talk about or use the word 'Disruptive'. I personally believe these technologies are and will continue to be disruptive going forwards as significant developments and improvements are made. 

What I see in the future is individuals having 'Data Vaults' powered by Blockchain where they can securely store their digital identity.

I mentioned 5G earlier in this post. I think 5G will enable these things to happen. It will be the 'Enabler'.  

I think from a Cryptocurrency perspective the digital token, IOTA, becomes very interesting. 

To be continued...(Part III - Coming Soon)

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curious. what is the goal of this post? whats the message you wanna share?

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It is nice that you are curious.

The title of investing in technology themes kind of gives away the goal of the post.

The message I want to share is what I have posted.

Investors can make an informed decision on whether they think this is an area within the technology sector that they would consider investing in or not.

I am an investor first and trader second. I use a small part of my profits from my investments for my trading capital. Investing is the path I believe in for long term wealth creation. Investing in such opportunities as these at the earliest opportunity allows the best chance of maximising returns and profits. 

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Part 3:

It is being reported that the 4th revolution will be the 'Digital Revolution'.

So the 1st revolution used steam power whilst the 2nd revolution used electricity. The 3rd revolution used automated production with electronics and IT. I believe we are now witnessing the 4th revolution and this is where the technological themes of AI, Blockchain and IOT come into play.

Cloud Computing has been increasing rapidly.  We are reading about self driving cars, home appliances that talk to each other and even digital wearable devices. I mean I can control my home lighting (LightwaveRF) and heating (Nest) via my mobile phone. You can order milk from a smart fridge and control your washing machine via an app on your smartphone. I think we will begin to see an increase in 'Biometric' technology. 

As I have mentioned before, IBM, are doing a lot of work in this area and seem to me to be leading the way. They have adapted their business model over the years and I recall many years ago when in University that business case studies involved IBM. They currently employ some of the brightest minds and their recruitment of the best talent still stands even today. 

Investing Idea - IBM:

Speaking of IBM, it becomes an interesting long term investment proposition. It is a large cap US share. If you look at the 'Monthly', 'Weekly' and 'Daily' charts then you will see that it is currently in a downtrend. Once this is complete then it may offer a long term investment opportunity to get indirect exposure to these technology themes without taking the risk of directly investing in the start ups, nano and micro caps involved in this space. 

Others may wish to apply a 'Pound Cost Averaging' strategy and start drip feeding money into acquiring IBM shares say on a monthly basis and the more the price drops the more shares one accumulates in IBM. One would only invest any lump sum payments should the price crash or offer a very deep and sharp correction. This will assist to amplify returns on any bull run for IBM going forwards. Of course there is no guarantee that IBM shares will go up or recover from current levels so one may prefer just monitoring the price action of IBM shares and then take it from there. 

To be continued...(Part 4 - Coming Soon)

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I wanted to take this opportunity to share an article about the title of this thread from the well known and established technology company, Oracle. 

How IoT, AI, and blockchain will revolutionise business.


I will try where possible to share material from 'Credible' sources as I think this is important. I accept that at times such called credible sources will contain both 'Positive and Negative Biases' so one must be aware of this. 

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Part 4:

BlockClaim is both an interesting and very exciting company in the field of insurance and technology. I think it is exciting because it had the foresight to combine AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain into their business. 


What companies are beginning to do is to combine these technology themes as they have began to realise that it is by combining them that they are get the most 'Return on Investment' ROI out of them. 

'Data' is the new 'Natural Resource'. This is how Sandip Patel who is the global managing director for insurance across IBM described it. I think this is especially true when you look at data from an insurance companies perspective. 

What is interesting about BlockClaim is that it is a data aggregator and it enriches this data too. Now this basically allows BlockClaim to make informed decisions in an automated way. This is the future for insurance companies embracing and utilising technology going forwards. What BlockClaim wants to do is to help insurers settle claims in 24 hours. Now on average in the UK it is reported that it takes around 25 days for insurers to settle claims. If this company can successfully meet its aim then this could be a truly 'disruptive' business in the industry.

For those of you who are not familiar with BlockClaim then it started at Imperial College around two years ago out of a 'Proof of Concept' POC that was about Blockchain telematics and insurance. The company then began working with motor insurance and I believe it has moved into health claims. Insurance is a huge market not just in the UK but worldwide. 

Disclaimer: I hold an equity stake in a start up business called 'Wrisk' which operates in a similar area. 

To be continued...(Part 5 - Coming Soon) 

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If one was unsure about investing in specific funds and trusts then they could consider constructing an ETF portfolio based on these technology themes. The potential is there for higher returns on specialist funds and trusts due to stock picking and capital allocation strategies. However, an ETF, will be a lower cost option but not necessarily a better performing one.

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Part 5:

For me Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all about creating a better life, making things easy and working smarter. If anyone works in the AI field then they will appreciate that AI comprises of some seriously complex algorithms that makes trading algorithms look simple! AI can help us make better decisions using data. AI can speed operations and make it easier to interact with any end user. It can help to find patterns quicker and then use this to make decisions on specific options or even recommendations. 

Now if you combine AI with Internet of Things (IOT) then with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and data networks we have an environment that enables us to connect everyday devices in our homes and businesses to the internet and to be honest to one another. So if you think about it IOT can enable us to connect to those products that we use in our daily lives. There are already billions of connected devices and this is likely to double within the next year if the rapid speed and traction in this area continues. I have no doubt that it will continue as the momentum is staggering. 

Blockchain is going to act as the glue to bring this all together in this growing 'Digital Eco-System'. Security of the data is one of the key risks and Blockchain will help significantly in this area. 

Investing in these technological themes as early as possible presents an opportunity for long term wealth creation for those investors who have the foresight to both see this and appreciate it as potentially rewarding investment opportunities. 

@JamesIG, are you able to post this in the 'Our Picks' section?

To be continued...(Part 6 - Coming Soon) 

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Part 6:

What AI allows us to do is build 'Prediction Systems'. So what do I mean by this? Well using a computer one can obtain data. They can then model this data to recognise patterns and features. It can then compare this with historical patterns and features and then use it to predict future patterns and features. The results from the new data can be used for future modelling. I have tried to explain this in a basic manner and as simple as possible appreciate the audience from IG Community. 

Forecasting will play an important part going forwards and especially the accuracy of any forecasting using AI. Forecasting is really in essence the most simplest form of prediction.

In trading, AI is built into the software for trading systems. 

Let me give you another example. A driver is driving his car. There is bad weather and the designated route as more difficult road conditions so it re routes the driver into another route which is more safer for them. This form of intelligence automation exists now. If you look at traffic routing using a Sat. Nav. system demonstrates a form of AI that aids the driver to make an informed decision. 

I accept some people may not fully appreciate or understand AI. So on a simplistic level one could consider a grammar or spell checker. On a higher level one could consider Siri or Cortana. Now there is a lot of market hype, misunderstanding of what is current possible and incorrect information out there. There will be a lot of junk companies that jump on the bandwagon and use the technological terms I have mentioned in this tread and its posts throughout. One must be vigilante from an investment perspective to conduct the necessary due diligence to ensure that the junk companies are weeded out of any potential investment decisions. 

To be continued...(Part 7 - Coming Soon) 

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Part 7:

I think outside of the US large companies the UK most probably has the most developed digital technology sector when comparing it most of the EU Member States. London plays a key part in this and some of you will be familiar with London being described as the 'Fintech Capital'. 

I think Brexit is making it harder for the UK to really progress further in this area with speed based on all the uncertainty and it puts at risk the UK's digital economy. Why do I think Brexit makes it harder? Well it affects the UK's ability to transfer data across borders (EU Member States) or potentially limits it.  

Blockchain is very good at creating trust in information and processes where there are lots of different stakeholders. It is also very effective in created trusted audit trails of information. It has the ability to keep data both private and sharable. 

I can see Blockchain being applied to 'Identity'. Identity information could be put on the Blockchain and used to provide a secure, unique and verifiable identity. I can see Blockchain being used for asset registries. A lot of work has already been done on this. If I recall correctly then India has put the land registry of one its states on the Blockchain. So for example, land title, patient health records or educational certificates could be applied on to the Blockchain. There has been a lot of work already conducted into this and there are a lot of articles about this.  I think that Governments will create a system for 'Digital Identity' and this will be the fundamental building block and a key area which Governments will focus on. 

There has already been talk of 'Digital Currencies' or should I say digital versions of national currencies on the Blockchain. The one thing that is missing right now not just in the UK but across the globe is regulation. When this comes and it will, it will open up so many opportunities. The European Union has embraced Blockchain as an important tool in fostering innovation and support the 'Digital Single Market'.

Some of the key areas in my opinion based on the reading and research I have conducted in this area lead me to believe that Blockchain will play an important role in the following areas:

  • Identity
  • Title / Asset Registration
  • Healthcare
  • Educational Certification
  • E-Voting

I have another thread called Tokenomics / Tokenisation / Token Economy so please feel free to read that should this not make sense. I can see the potential for tokenised FIAT currencies so basically money on the Blockchain. Just imagine real time automation of payments through 'Smart Contracts'. The Bank of England have already released a report on 'Central Bank Digital Currencies' (CBDC).  So one could see the implantation of 'tokenised central bank money' to help make financial transaction processed more transparent resilient and cost efficient. If this could be achieved then central banks could issue digital cash to its citizens. This for me is the future. Whether this happens in my lifetime or not, I do not know but it is the path the world is heading towards in my opinion. 

If anyone thinks this is just all 'fluff' then I would ask them to look at the Swedish Land Registry and the works conducted by the Swedish authorities to see if the process could be improved with Blockchain. If some of you are still not convinced then have a look at how the Dutch authorities are using Blockchain to improve Value Added Tax (VAT) processes. Estonia has also done a lot of good work by deploying Blockchain to its Succession Registry (wills) back in 2012. If anyone wants to know more about this area then please see my Blockchain Trilogy - Parts I, 2 & 3 + Easter Egg - By TrendFollower thread. 

To be continued...(Part 8 - Coming Soon) 

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Now some of you may not be aware of the following ETF which is available on IG's platform. 


Global X Funds - Global X Internet of Things ETF


Now there is also another ETF which many of you may not be aware of but gives you exposure to Blockchain as shown below:

Horizons Blockchain Technology & Hardware Index ETF


Now there are several investments you can make using IG on Artificial Intelligence and one of them is shown below:


IG is allowing its clients to invest in these technology themes which I have presented so far to the IG Community. @JamesIG if there are any other investment opportunities in Blockchain and IOT via investment funds, investment trusts and ETF's then please do share in this thread. 

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I thought this was a very interest piece that some of you will appreciate. 

The Internet of Things Needs a Business Model. Here It Is.


Investing in themes can be tricky as sometimes you need pure patience which a lot of investors simply do not have. They sell when they should be buying and buy when they should be selling. Other do neither and just watch as the returns unfold and they miss out.

Equity Investing is an art, especially successfully and consistently with profits year on year. The returns from your equity investments should be better than cash deposits, fixed deposits, bonds, property, etc. Here is a theme that may have bad years along the way but over a longer timeframe can provide enormous annualised returns compared to other traditional asset classes. 

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On 12/06/2019 at 13:10, TrendFollower said:

Speaking of IBM, it becomes an interesting long term investment proposition. It is a large cap US share. If you look at the 'Monthly', 'Weekly' and 'Daily' charts then you will see that it is currently in a downtrend. Once this is complete then it may offer a long term investment opportunity to get indirect exposure to these technology themes without taking the risk of directly investing in the start ups, nano and micro caps involved in this space. 

Why has IBM been falling for 6 years do you know?

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I am looking at the future and the next 10 years. 

In terms of answering your question, my understanding is that IBM's revenue has been declining over the past six years in the tune of between $20bn to $30bn. But one needs to look under the bonnet to get more intricate details. I am not telling anyone to invest in IBM. That is a personal decision they have to make. Within IBM in the same period its revenue rose from around $15bn to around $40bn (give or take a few billion either side) in 'Cloud', 'Big Data', 'Mobile' and 'Analytics'.

I know people who work at IBM in Warwickshire and they are telling me that there is a big dynamic shift coming in IBM's future vision and where its biggest growth is going to be coming from. What IBM has recently being doing is cutting its overheads and expanding in countries like India. 

Right now it is about acquiring IBM shares with a long term vision say every month. If the price declines then you will get more shares and if the price rises then your profits on your current holdings will increase. The current IBM chart is below.


If you look at the 20, 50, 100 and 200 DMA on the 'daily' then you will see that the current price is above them. I would not invest any major lump sums in IBM as it will take a few years of pain where there could be further declines but these could be used to increase your acquisitions of shares for when it does have a stellar period in the future (based on current moves it is making and a change of strategy and emphasis on the things I have mentioned in this thread in terms of themes. I do not know for sure that there be further declines in IBM shares but if you are acquiring on a monthly basis with a long term view using (pound cost averaging) then it really does not matter. 

Edited by TrendFollower

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It sounds like sound advice Trend.  Having bought my first shares in Pinterest at launch, I'm now retiscent about the Investment.

I need a Long Term goal for sure and i think you've hit it bang on with AI, Augmented Reality Data Storage and Blockchain.



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One of the tricks of investing is investing your capital as early as possible in the next strong investment themes that are going to make you money. 

I had a great run in Biotech over a 5-10 year period. I see this investment theme potentially surpassing Biotech's returns such is the potential over the coming future.

Using 'Pound Cost Averaging' by investing smaller amounts per month and then only investing larger lump sums during recessions or great drops / corrections means that over time the odds and probability increase (as long as your investment convictions ends up being correct) of making serious profits (if you find the best investment themes). 

You may find my Robotics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence thread (it is a separate thread) of interest. 

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Once investors realise that these technology themes will all interlink in the years ahead, they will appreciate the investment potential and opportunity it brings. 

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I think the investment opportunities in these technology themes are going to be mind boggling over the next 20-30 years. So for those with wealth creation aspirations or those with capital growth ambitions, this must be an investment area that one must consider in their investment portfolios. 

Bluetooth finds a role in the industrial internet of things


The possibilities are remarkable and once the investor appreciates how these different technologies will merge, collaborate, supplement each other and be used together more effectively then one will begin to appreciate the investment potential of such a theme. 

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A report published in December by Research and Markets stated that 83% of all AI chips will be in IoT devices (like smartwatches, driverless cars, etc.) by 2023. Now the global market for IoT devices with embedded AI chips is predicted to reach $26 billion in just a mere four years from now.

I personally think 5G will be a key driver and game changer. It is rumoured that Apple's new iPhone next year in 2020 will support 5G. Even if this is not true then it is reasonable to think it certainly will be at the very latest in most new smartphones by 2021. The mobile network 3Three is already offering 5G network services in certain geographic locations around the UK. 

It is reported that 5G will bring internet connection speeds of up to 100 times faster than 4G. WOW. If that is even half true then 5G will totally change the dynamics and potential for IoT. 


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