There’s been a lot of buzz about the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and what it could mean for investors. While it may sound like something dramatic developing across the world’s factories, it relates to a broad scope of industries and technologies.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a melting pot of some of the biggest themes re-shaping the way we live. Its where things like artificial intelligence (AI), genetic engineering, the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, robotics, and 3D printing come together to create the products and services of the future.
Here we highlight a few of the companies that are leading the charge— specifically on the AI, robotics, and 3D printing frontiers. Each is worthy of consideration as a long-term play on what will be some of the most powerful forces in technology over the next decade and beyond.
What is a Good Artificial Intelligence (AI) Stock?
NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) is often associated with video games and data centers and while it has a strong presence in these markets, its prowess in AI may be its most exciting growth opportunity.
AI technology is all about giving companies and individuals the tools to do their work and make important decisions by leaning on algorithms and computing power rather than the human mind. It has global applications in transportation, health care, energy, supply chain management, and much more.
As demand for data-driven decision making and AI technology continues to grow, NVIDIA will be a major player. It has already been the technology behind many recent AI breakthroughs. The company offers a range of machine learning and data analytics solutions that are backed by industry-leading hardware, software, and other technology.
AI computing is expected to change the way businesses in virtually all industries operate. In an increasingly competitive world, the technology is becoming a must-have for enterprises that want to provide the best products and services for customers and stay ahead of the competition. From disease detection and smart cities to higher education and finance, NVIDIA will probably have its hands in all things AI for many years to come.
How Will Brooks Automation Support the Industrial Revolution?
As much as we may wish to deny it, robots will soon control many aspects of our lives including industrial processes—and Brooks Automation (NASDAQ:BRKS) has a lot to do with it. The company provides robotics and instruments for semiconductor manufacturers and life sciences companies. Its solutions enable customers to make superior products and get them to market faster.
In terms of the industrial revolution, Brooks Automation is expected to play a key role in robotics. Its line of wafer handling robots currently supports semiconductor manufacturers like NVIDIA allowing them to crank out the high-performance chips that empower technologies we love—and will soon be introduced to. Critical processes like sorting, loading, and contamination control are going to be in high demand as semiconductor makers drive the technological innovations of tomorrow. Brooks Automation should be a major beneficiary.
Aside from being a backdoor play on some of the biggest technology trends, Brooks Automation’s life sciences business is also attractive. It too is a high growth market that is expected to see increasing demand for instruments, consumables, and sample storage. The discovery and development of new drugs and therapeutics has accelerated during the pandemic. And with the field of genomics set to take off, Brooks Automation should have a second major growth platform from which to derive sustainable growth.
Is 3D Systems a Good 3D Printing Stock?
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) is at the forefront of revolution within the revolution in three-dimensional printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the opposite of traditional, or “subtractive”, manufacturing which removes materials to create a product. The highly disruptive technology is expected to alter the way manufacturers around the world operate.
Although the technology has been around since the 1980’s it is slowly moving into the mainstream thanks to advancements in 3D printers and materials as well as cost improvements.
Once considered the company behind some neat tools for hobbyists and small-scale manufacturers, 3D Systems is poised to play a leading role in the industrial revolution. Applications in medicine, aerospace, education, and many other industries has 3D printing on the verge of reshaping the way products are made and consumed.
With a new management team in place, 3D Systems looks ready to put its past struggles behind and take the reins of the large and expanding 3D printing market. The technology will have an increasing influence because it can deliver precision parts faster and, in many cases, reduce weight without sacrificing performance.
The most intriguing opportunity relates to 3D printing’s ability to mass produce customized goods. While 3D Systems relationship with Align Technology for the production of invisible braces may be its best-known application, there is much more where that came from. Nowadays consumers want customized everything from personally designed sneakers to cell phone cases. This is creating an emerging opportunity for companies like 3D systems to bridge the gap between customization and mass production.
The global additive manufacturing market is forecast to grow 24% annually over the next few years as businesses continue to see the value of the technology. Companies in growth areas like durable goods, automobiles, and healthcare are expected to be among the biggest users of 3D printing. The growth won’t likely slow much from there and may even accelerate making 3D Systems as long tenured supporting cast member of the industrial revolution show.