You’ve been hearing about smart gadgets to control the modern home for years, but few people own them because they’re wildly expensive.
That’s now changed. Refrigerators that remind you to buy milk and Internet-connected toothbrushes furnish not only the Jetsons’ space-age abode, but they’re affordable for the average American family.
Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of little-known Nest Labs, announced this month, is driving home the realization that the “smart home” and “connected home” are becoming more reality than mere concept. Nest Labs makes thermostats that learn your heating and cooling habits and preferences.
And that got the Money and Markets team wondering: What other interesting things are little-known companies offering out there? And we came upon Amityville, N.Y.-based NAPCO Security Technologies, which makes a system that enables you to remotely control and schedule everything from your thermostat to lighting, appliances and door locks and security systems.
With NAPCO’s iBridge system, you can, for example, unlock the door remotely for the cleaning crew, relock it after they’ve left, and monitor their work while they are in your home.
NAPCO launched iBridge nine months ago. Activations rose 62 percent in that time, and surged 45 percent in the past three months alone, the company said in a recent press release, without giving details.
“The trend is clear, and consumer adoption (of the smart home technology) is increasing,” NAPCO CEO Richard Soloway said in a statement, citing the Google purchase of Nest Labs as further proof.
NAPCO (ticker symbol: NSSC) shares have almost doubled in the past year, and have more than tripled in the past three. The company has a market value of about $128 million. Its current price is about 33 times earnings.
NAPCO Technologies is rated B+ in the Weiss Ratings, mainly because it has a high growth and performance profile. One caveat: the volatility of the 19.41 million shares outstanding.
While the stock has gained some after Google announced its purchase of Nest Labs, other makers of home-automation systems have gotten a clear bump from the news. Control4 Corp. (CTRL), for example, was trading at less than $15 in mid-December and now is at around $26.50. The stock has a failing Weiss rating of E.
The Money and Markets Team
About Weiss Ratings: The Weiss Ratings Model objectively weighs the risk and reward of investing in stocks traded on U.S. exchanges. The ratings range from A+ (excellent) to E (very weak). While A and B are equivalent to a “buy” rating, a C rating is a “hold,” and D and E are equivalent to “sell.” The ratings are updated daily. The ratings are intended as investment tools, but not necessarily as investment recommendations in and of themselves.