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About the Authors:
David Gearhart, CFA
Senior Vice President
David Gearhart has worked in finance and investment for nearly two decades and joined First Analysis in 2011. He works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading Internet of Things and e-commerce software businesses. He has played a key role in building First Analysis’s Internet of Things and e-commerce franchises and is a thought leader in his sectors, having authored several widely read white papers. He serves on the boards of Freeosk, SmartCommerce and Smartwitness. Prior to joining First Analysis, he was an accountant with The Northern Trust Co. and an options broker with American Option Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University with a concentration in economics and finance and his MBA at DePaul University with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. He is a CFA charterholder.
Howard Smith
Managing Director
Howard Smith has nearly three decades of experience at First Analysis, working with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading technology businesses. He leads the firm’s work in the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and internet infrastructure sectors. He also built the firm's historical franchises in call centers and computer telephony. His thought-leading research in these areas has been cited for excellence by the Wall Street Journal and other publications. He serves on the boards of AppDetex, Fortress Information Security, SmartWitness, VisiQuate and ObervIQ. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1994, he was a senior tax consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co. He earned an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in accounting with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a certified public accountant.
First Analysis Internet of Things Team
Howard Smith
Managing Director
David Gearhart
Senior Vice President
Matthew Nicklin
Managing Director
First Analysis Quarterly Insights
Internet of Things
Sound monitoring: Overlooked capability offers significant utility
June 22, 2021
  • Despite the IoT market's intense focus on video capabilities, we think sound monitoring will garner notable traction driven in part by factors common to all areas of IoT, including declining hardware component and connectivity costs, more flexible and customer-friendly business models and improving technology.
  • But sound monitoring solutions also have some unique attributes that make them especially compelling in many situations. These attributes can include greater spatial coverage with fewer sensors relative to other sensor technologies, such as video, which depends on line-of-sight, and a perception that sound monitoring can be less intrusive than video.
  • We highlight some markets where we think sound monitoring solutions, either standalone or in combination with other sensor technologies, will see strong growth. These include security and surveillance, smart city applications, correctional facilities, smart home and building applications. We also profile players in each of these areas.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Includes discussion of SSTI and four private companies

Sound monitoring has advanced meaningfully alongside more visible tech

Wide range of use cases

Compelling advantages, benefits to drive adoption

Overcoming privacy concerns

IoT Index remains ahead of Nasdaq

M&A continues to grow from 2020 lows

Private placement activity continues to expand

Sound monitoring has advanced meaningfully alongside more visible tech

Video is arguably the hottest capability in the Internet of Things (IoT). Video-based IoT systems such as interactive home security and vehicle telematics are currently seeing the strongest demand, and companies in various verticals are rushing to add video to their portfolios to meet customer expectations. We think this strong interest is a positive as it has raised the profile of IoT and driven capital investment. However, we think it has created an environment where non-video technology with significant utility may be overlooked - at least for a time - presenting attractive opportunities for investors and even solutions providers. We think sound monitoring is one of these technologies. Like video, sound monitoring is a decades-old technology that has advanced dramatically over the past several years by incorporating more sophisticated software and wireless technologies.

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