Today our world is being shaped by inventions such as; quantum computers, 3D printing, nanotechnology, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.
If we look at these advancements from the 21st century there is always a common denominator. I am talking about information.
The way in which we manage, store, access, utilise and interpret information is changing at an exponential rate. Without exponential advancements in computational power, storage capacity, and increased interconnectivity, none of these recent inventions would have been remotely plausible.
We only have to look as far as the blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to see an entire industry being reshaped by the information age. Whilst most would consider this still to be in its early stages of adoption, there is no shortage of already established ASX-listed businesses that are at the forefront of the information age.
Data Storage / Hosting
One of the greatest challenges posed by the masses of information we are producing everyday is where and how do we store it? The two companies below provide a solution to this question which will likely see an insatiable demand for their services into the foreseeable future.
Nextdc Ltd (ASX: NXT)
Nextdc Ltd is one of Australia’s leading data centre providers and has data centres in almost all capital cities across Australia. In addition, the company intends to open three additional state-of-the-art data centres this year. This will boost overall capacity to meet the rising demand for its services.
Dicker Data Ltd (ASX: DDR)
Dicker Data is a proudly Australian and founder-led business with 35 years’ experience in Enterprise Data Solutions. With its primary revenue coming from the wholesale of computer and server hardware it offers another type of exposure to the ongoing demand for data housing.
Cloud Computing & Software Development
Software-as-a-Service companies are providing services that relieve companies from the burden of managing and interpreting masses of their own information and customer data. Here are two that are currently shaking up their respective industries.
XERO FPO NZX (ASX: XRO)
Xero is currently one of the fastest growing software as a service companies globally. Based in New Zealand the cloud based accounting software provider has over 1 million subscribers and is the market leader in Australia and New Zealand.
Aconex Ltd (ASX: ACX)
Aconex Ltd realised every construction project inevitably produces a colossal amount of correspondence and documentation often needing to be dispersed to many parties and often relying on hardcopies. In response Aconex developed a tailored software-as-a-service collaboration platform for the construction and engineering industry.
Data & Analytics
As we produce more information over time it becomes increasingly difficult to analyse and interpret these giant sets of data. I believe these two companies provide some of the most interesting applications for data analysis.
Catapult Group International Ltd (ASX: CAT)
Formed in 2006 the Catapult Group has taken what was previously a laboratory study of elite athletes and turned the company’s sports analytics technology into a multi-million dollar multinational business. This technology enables elite athletes and sporting groups to gain insights into performance or injury risk and allows for automated statistical reporting.
Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA)
Nearmap in an Australian founded company and a global leader in geospatial map technology and software. The company services a wide variety of business, enterprise and government customers globally. The company’s aerial imaging software is allowing businesses globally to interpret data and information from aerial and satellite imagery in entirely new ways.
It is important to note that as with almost all companies that have high growth prospects many that I have mentioned are currently unprofitable or carry inflated P/E ratios as result of their growth trajectories. For long-term investors with some appetite for risk I believe any of these could be a great addition within a diversified portfolio at the right price.
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Motley Fool contributor Tim Wilks owns shares in XRO and NEA. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of ACONEX FPO, Dicker Data Limited, Nearmap Ltd., and Xero. 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.