Devices talking 24/7
Thanks to advances in sensor technology and data analytics, the world's basic systems are becoming intelligent. At any given time, 7 billion devices are communicating with one another worldwide, according to IDC. Sensors are embedded in roadways, power grids, irrigation systems, household appliances, and even clothes, feeding a flood of data that can help smooth traffic flow, conserve resources, and improve health care delivery, among others. Obviously this trend is good for enterprise-computing stalwarts like IBM (No. 57), Intel (No. 173), and Oracle (No. 300). But it can also benefit any company that consumes energy, orders parts, or ships products.

By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor @CNNMoney - Last updated July 09 2012: 8:06 AM ET
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