It works in investing. It works in the rest of the world, too. People are better information sources than companies. Thank you, residents of the Internet. Companies can be guarded, ambiguous, or more concerned with private than public conversations. People have a much better idea of that people want to hear; and by telling us what they know, they help create community. Unofficial voices can be the best news sources, even with something as simple and public as one of the biggest, most publicized, trade shows in the world. My thanks to Peter Jungmann and other individuals who visited the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and posted what they learned. Because of their efforts, I have a better idea of what one of my companies is doing.
The gadgets we talk about today probably showed up at CES last year. CES attracts over 170,000 people, over 3,600 companies, and uncounted new ideas. Even ideas that are kept secret or at least quiet, are exhibited – though probably in side conversations between corporate officials. And yet, there’s enough displayed that attending the show is an easy (if somewhat expensive) way to see the technology trends that are accelerating into our lives. If I had the money, I’d enjoy attending. Instead, I’ll thank Peter Jungmann, fellow MVIS investor, who went there and shared a few, key insights that would otherwise only have been available to attendees.
The good news:
MicroVision components are showing up in more devices. In addition to last year’s pico-projectors: PicoAir, PicoPro, and MP-CL1 (an ugh of a name); we now know that there are also the PicoBit (a pico-projector with an embedded touchpad, and the recognition as a CES Innovation Award honoree), ViewSmart (another pico-projector with an embedded mouse), and Qualper (an Android smartphone with an embedded MicroVision projector.) Three more catalysts to MicroVision’s revenue stream. The particular good news I like is the possibility (with caveats from the Forward Looking Statement clause) that MicroVision would probably be profitable 6-9 months after the introduction of a smartphone with an embedded MicroVision projector. Definitely good news for sometime before the end of 2016 because the Qualper was introduced in China in December 2015. How do I know all of this? Because Peter went to CES, took some photos, talked to some people, and wrote some words.
Time to update the catalysts chart.
The disappointing news:
For me, the major disappointment was that MicroVision plus Celluon plus Sony plus the manufacturers of ViewSmart and Qualper released fewer words and photos than Peter. One person with two posts exceeded the communications output of several corporations.
For the market, something was a major disappointment because the stock dropped 10% in one week, most of which was Friday – a bad day for the markets in general, but also a day when the investors had very few official reasons for optimism. Aside from one tweet about the PicoBit and one retweet there haven’t been any press releases, blog posts, or emails announcing the very things that they had incorporated into their exhibit. If it was in their exhibit and on public display, the material is supposed to be available to everyone, not just the people who can afford to travel to the event.
There is reason for optimism and enthusiasm. In previous years, there were many allusions to many private conversations. In 2015, there were more substantial comments that dramatically raised the confidence that Sony was using MicroVision technology and components. The surprise was when Celluon launched their product; a bonus. In 2016, there were few if any allusions, while there were several real products (PicoAir, PicoPro, PicoBit, MP-CL1, ViewSmart, and Qualper.) They’ve also announced the introduction of RoBoHoN, separate from CES (was it even at CES?). Within reasonable speculation is applications within Sony’s Life Space UX line, Pioneer and others’ HUDs, the resurgence in eyewear; and the applications like that few envisioned prior to the surprise prototypes of a game controller, UPS’ package sorter, and tabletop retail displays.
As I type this, Peter has posted about Day 1 and Day 2. CES ran from January 6-9, so there may be more. I’d be surprised if there isn’t. He’s probably typing as I’m typing.
Whether you are invested in MVIS or not (and I’m impressed with your due diligence in understanding personal finance if you’ve read this far and aren’t an MVIS shareholder), this year’s CES was an important show for MicroVision and also an important demonstration of the power of individuals disseminating public information that would otherwise only be available to a few. (Granted, 170,000 is only a few if measured relative to seven billion.)
Peter has a personal interest in the information. His is not a purely selfless endeavor, but his sharing of knowledge and insights is a good example of what each of us can do to help others. When you find data and information that is potentially valuable and isn’t being shared, there’s a value to sharing it. Within the world of investing, the usefulness is obvious. Outside the world of investing, the usefulness may actually be more valuable; especially, when the data and information are facts that help clear away speculation, when reason can replace rhetoric.
MicroVision may not be saying much as a tactic to shift the investment community’s perception from over-promising and under-delivering to under-promising and over-delivering. Pleasant surprises are appreciated, and stocks appreciate because of them. They may have over-corrected if they released information at CES that wasn’t released in the public press; but it is probably just a case of me missing a press release or a part of a transcript. Regardless, I’m glad for the news, glad for Peter’s work, sad to see the market’s reaction, and looking forward to better news in 2016; and looking forward to more people doing more of the same.
Sure enough, Peter just published Day 3.
I was at CES and it was really a fantastic show (my first time to attend).
I think I saw Celluon project a keyboard onto a table top surface and show that commands could be done just like a regular keyboard. That may be old news, but I wondered if it was one of the companies you are interested in.
Celluon is the OEM customer that is using some combination of MicroVision’s light engine, probably redesigned by Sony. The keyboard uses a different, simpler technology. It does point out one possible device: a PC with two projectors, one for the keyboard, one for the display with possibly dramatic drops in size, weight, complexity, and power requirements compared to a laptop.
This company has been around for quite a while now. I am disappointed that it still struggles. Perhaps a name change would help. microvision sounds small minded. How about something more expansive, like “vastvision”, “infinite view”, “universal vision”……