Sometimes the hype is real
The tech world loves hyperbole.
It’s like oxygen to them. Nothing can just be good or useful. No, everything must be game changing and revolutionary. No new development comes down the pipe without a breathless press release that talks about all the amazing things that the new tech will bring.
Your world will be changed! The future is now! Life will never be the same!
It’s usually bunk, of course. Most of these “exciting new developments” are forgotten before the ink dries on the press release.
But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some legitimately game changing things coming out of the tech world all the time. You just need to know what to look for and how to separate the sizzle from the steak.
And, often, you need to look past the product being hyped to look at the tech behind it that is driving the innovation.
Take Apple’s Air Tag release from earlier this year.
On its own, the Air Tag is kind of just a glorified key chain that doesn’t appear to even advance the market for location tractors that much. As I wrote at the time, there are other devices out there that are doing similar things.
So it didn’t really move the needle on the consumer side of things. It’s a useful gadget, but something you might throw into dad’s Christmas stocking next year, not what you’d flash around to show how cool you are.
Although it had more to do with an underwhelming product launch, the stock (NASDAQ: APPL) didn’t exactly take off either. It was trading at $134.84 USD on the eve of the launch and is now at $125.45 at the time of writing.
As stated, that’s only half the story though. The real news to the Air Tags release was the technology behind it. Called ultrawideband (UWB), it is one of those advancements that you have to look at a little closely to fully grasp what it can do.
In simple terms, it’s just tracking technology. However, it’s highly advanced from what we’ve seen in the past. But, unlike other Bluetooth or wi-fi trackers, UWB operates at an exceptionally high frequency that allows for very precise reading.
In traditionally tracking you can be pointed to the general area something is. With UWB, you can find it within centimeters and through walls and other objects. It’s like a personal radar.
Not only will that let you find your keys, but more importantly it will have significant uses in manufacturing and supply chain management. You can track movements precisely to increase logical efficiency, and it will allow for automation conversion to happen faster and safer.
Think self-driven forklifts that can be controlled to the centimeter.
The consumer front is literally the tip of the iceberg on this tech. There are already several companies actively working on real world applications. One of the leaders in the space is NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ: NXPI), which is working with Samsung to bring the android phones to market fully UWB-enabled.
When that Samsung partnership was announced, NXP was trading at $121.39 USD. It went as high as $216.43 and is trading at $201.32 at the time of writing. Samsung is also up during that same time, from $52.32 to $70.95. That rise is likely to do with a strong performance by the new phone, but that’s partly because of tech like UWB driving the performance.