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About the Authors:
David Gearhart, CFA
Senior Vice President
David Gearhart has worked in finance and investment for 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’ Internet of Things and e-commerce franchises and is a thought leader in his sectors, having authored several widely read white papers. He supports First Analysis’ investments in CoolR Group, EdgeIQ, Freeosk and SmartCommerce. 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 supports First Analysis’ investments in EdgeIQ, Fortress Information Security, ObservIQ, Stamus Networks, Tracer and VisiQuate. 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.
Charles Morgan
Analyst
Charles Morgan is an analyst with First Analysis. He joined the firm in 2022 after completing two internships. Charles graduated from Denison University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
First Analysis Internet of Things Team
Howard Smith
Managing Director
David Gearhart
Senior Vice President
Matthew Nicklin
Managing Director
Charles Morgan
Analyst
First Analysis Quarterly Insights
Internet of Things
CES now a key B2B IoT forum: Six themes from the 2024 show
February 1, 2024
  • CES 2024 featured an abundance of telematics hardware providers, video telematics solution providers, hardware-agnostic end-to-end IoT solutions and many more types of B2B IoT companies. We expect CES to continue to rise in prominence as the most productive trade forum for B2B IoT companies.
  • Based on our meetings and our observations on the show floor, we identified key themes for B2B IoT in six areas: artificial intelligence, energy harvesting technology, cameras, hardware strategies, sensor fusion, and robotics.
  • We discuss each of these areas and highlight relevant companies.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CES increasingly preferred over MWC

AI everywhere, as expected

Energy harvesting for indoor applications a major coming trend

Camera solutions in abundance, including computer vision; bodycams of interest to vendors to differentiate offerings

Hardware agnostic solutions becoming more common; potential to become norm in some markets

Sensor fusion a reasonable approach to differentiate, likely to become common

Smaller designs, creative business models suggest wider robotics adoption on horizon

Looking ahead to future CES shows

IoT index strength broadens slightly

IoT M&A: Notable transactions include MiX Telematics, IPVideo and Cubic Telecom

IoT private placements: Notable transactions include BusPatrol, Utility and Terminal

CES increasingly preferred over MWC

We recently attended CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show. While we've attended from time to time in previous years, we historically hadn't viewed CES as a prime Internet of Things forum for us, in large part because its broad consumer technology roots made it a challenging place in which to pursue our narrower focus on business-to-business (B2B) IoT. However, that has changed. Devices of all sorts have, over time, increasingly incorporated wireless connectivity, making the show inherently more relevant for IoT enablers and vendors. Further, B2B IoT companies increasingly prefer CES to the incumbent IoT forum, MWC (formerly Mobile World Congress), due to CES's central location in Las Vegas (with lower travel costs) and high number of relevant professional and company attendees.

Indeed, despite the diversity of business models and technologies represented at CES outside of B2B IoT, we were able to meet with dozens of B2B IoT companies, counting both exhibitors and those just attending, across the IoT value chain. They ranged in focus from hardware to network connectivity to software, encompassing both point and end-to-end solution providers and a wide range of vertical markets and use cases. CES 2024 proved to be abundant with telematics hardware providers, video telematics solution providers, hardware-agnostic end-to-end IoT solutions and many more types of B2B IoT companies. We expect CES to continue to rise in prominence as the most productive forum for B2B IoT companies.

Based on our meetings and our observations on the show floor, we identified six key themes for B2B IoT. We discuss them briefly below and plan to explore one or two of them in detail in future reports.

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