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Smartwatches, payments tip of the iceberg for mobile boom

Pras Subramanian

Zach Morris was on to something. Having a massive 'brick' cell phone in high school seemed extravagant back then, but seeing a high school junior now with a gold iPhone 5S is as common as seeing a Kardashian on the E! Network.

These days the ‘mobile wars’ are pushing from phones to other devices, like wearables. Google’s (GOOG) latest offensive is taking its Android OS and porting it over to wearables like watches. Apple’s long-rumored ‘iWatch’ seems to be coming close to reality, with the daily drip of headlines fueling a media frenzy.

Add to that the ramping up of mobile payments being accepted at places like Starbucks (SBUX) and now Burger King (BKW), and we have these devices entering almost every aspect of our lives. Danielle Hughes of Divine Capital thinks the way to play this trend for profit is look at that ties it all together – data.

“You first have to start with big data, I think that’s a place where IBM (IBM) is probably the frontrunner in terms of what they’re trying to do, “ she says. “They’re spending $7-9B through 2015 to really get a handle on that space.” Indeed, IBM is looking to harness the power of Watson to supercharge mobile apps for brick and mortar realtors.

Let’s not forget out the providers, AKA the pipes for all our data. In addition to providing data capabilities for individuals with smartphones, carriers like AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) will be pulling and analyzing data from your car, for example. Hughes is intrigued by the possibility of data coming from all sorts of sources via mobile, and she prefers AT&T in the space.

Mobile’s push to be everywhere is making it cool in the eyes of consumers, and investors. Call it the Zach Morris trade.

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