How you can profit from the “Information Age”

We are living in what is known as the “Information Age” where people and corporations, particularly in Western societies, are becoming increasingly reliant on technology.

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We are living in what is known as the “Information Age” where people and corporations, particularly in Western societies, are becoming increasingly reliant on technology.

Indeed, we rely on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to find out about an important piece of news (or what the Kardashians are up to) from the other side of the world instantaneously, while vital information is often only a Google search away.

Before I go on, here’s a question for you to consider:

How many times have you checked your Facebook today? Or how many times have you used an app on your phone, or logged onto your stockbroking account to check out today’s share price movements?

We have become so reliant on information being readily accessible that we usually just take it for granted, not even stopping for one moment to consider the underlying forces that make it all possible.

Recognising this, business management platform Domo has created an incredibly enlightening infographic showing just how much content is created every sixty seconds from some of the world’s most popular websites and apps with 2.4 billion people making up the global internet population as of 2013 (up 14.3% from 2011).

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Source: Domo (Click to enlarge)

It goes without saying that some of these numbers are truly astounding.

Google, for instance, receives over 4 million search queries per minute (5.76 billion per day) while Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content. Meanwhile, 347,222 photos are shared by users via WhatsApp together with 416,667 Tinder swipes.

Closer to home, the Fairfax press has recently quoted iiNet Limited’s (ASX: IIN) boss David Buckingham who said that:

“The whole (telecommunications) industry is running around trying to deal with [Netflix]… We got 6-to-12 months’ worth of [data] growth in six weeks. Nobody can forecast that. This is an unprecedented shift in the market that no one anticipated.”

Netflix, which is a US-based online streaming giant, hit Australian and New Zealand shores earlier this year in what has proven to be a major hit. In fact, iiNet’s customers experienced a significant slow-down with their internet connections shortly after Netflix’s local unveiling due to the enormous amounts of data required at any given time.

Indeed, Netflix will consume more data as time goes on as its customer base grows, and as viewers demand higher quality content (notably, Full-High Definition and Ultra-High Definition). Netflix has ambitious plans to grow its global footprint to a whopping 200 countries within the next two years, so you can only imagine the data requirements for when it succeeds.

In the Year 2000, Scott Cook, the US billionaire founder of Intuit said: “We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.

Although 15 years has passed since then, I believe the same still holds true. The global community will continue to find new ways to utilise the internet (for example, the “Internet of Things”), while it will become increasingly available to parts of the world that are currently unable to access it (Internet Live Stats shows that only 40% of the world’s population currently has an internet connection).

Although we often take it for granted, there are a number of companies that are making the “Information Age” possible.

Every day, we rely on the services provided by companies such as Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS), M2 Group Ltd (ASX: MTU) and iiNet, not to mention TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM), Vocus Communications Limited (ASX: VOC) and Amcom Telecommunications Limited (ASX: AMM) (notably, Vocus and Amcom are in the process of merging together while TPG Telecom hopes to acquire iiNet in the near future).

Although the industry has already recorded enormous growth in recent years, investors shouldn’t discount the increasingly vital role that each company plays within our society, nor the potential growth that is yet to be realised.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Facebook and Twitter. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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