When searching for the best AI stock hidden gems, you must decide how you want to bet on artificial intelligence. If you’re looking for pure plays, you’re better off going with stocks like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). But if you’re willing to think outside the box, there are a multitude of other companies that are benefitting from this secular trend, such as those that use AI to drive their businesses through automation or data analytics.
To find hidden gems in the AI stock market, I scoured the holdings of the First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (NASDAQ:ROBT). It tracks the performance of the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index, a collection of companies “engaged in the artificial intelligence (“AI”) and robotics segments of the technology, industrial and other economic sectors.”
Here are three AI stock hidden gems with huge potential that I uncovered.
ABB (NYSE:ABB) is a Swedish industrial conglomerate that makes electrification, automation, robotics and motion products for customers in industries such as utilities, transport and infrastructure. Within its business, it’s finding all sorts of ways to use AI.
As Bertrand Vandewiele, global head of product line, commercial buildings solutions for ABB’s Smart Buildings division, noted in December, AI’s real potential lies in “orchestrating and fine-tuning the technology that make everyday life possible.” As an example, he pointed to a collaboration between ABB and BrainBox AI that can reduce energy costs and carbon emissions from heating, ventilation and air conditioning ( ) systems in commercial buildings by up to 25% and 40%, respectively.
Another example of ABB’s use of AI is the recent launch of its Robotic Item Picker, “a new artificial intelligence and vision-based system that can accurately detect and pick items in unstructured environments in warehouses and fulfillment centers.”
In the first quarter, ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation segment generated $937 million in revenue, 28% higher than a year earlier. Meanwhile, operating income from this segment soared 423% year over year to $115 million.
Teradyne (NASDAQ:TER) is focused on task automation through robotics, as well as making automated test equipment. As InvestorPlace contributor Muslim Farooque pointed out in mid-April, the company has a duopoly in the semiconductor testing space along with Japanese firm Advantest (OTCMKTS:ATEYY).
“This commanding market position allows both companies to wield significant influence over a sector poised to grow at a compound annual rate of 5.5% through 2030 to $45 billion,” Farooque wrote.
While the company generates most of its revenue from electronics and semiconductor testing, in recent years, it’s gotten into industrial automation through several acquisitions. This includes Universal Robots, which it acquired in 2015 for $285 million.
According to The Robot Report, Teradyne’s industrial automation group generated $404 million in 2022 sales, up 7.5% from 2021 and representing 13% of overall revenue. In 2023, the company plans to grow industrial automation revenue by more than 20%, and it aims for it to eventually account for one-fifth of the company’s sales.
As for its testing segment, which generates the lion’s share of Teradyne’s revenue, AI should play a big part in its growth as well. With AI driving demand for more sophisticated chips, it stands to reason that Teradyne’s semiconductor test equipment will be in high demand.
While first-quarter revenue declined 18.2% year over year to $618 million, the company still managed to generate $91.3 million in net income, for a healthy net margin of 14.8%. This profitability enables Teradyne to invest in engineering and development. In Q1, it spent $105.8 million, or 17.1% of its revenue, on engineering and development.
Zebra Technologies (ZBRA)
Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ:ZBRA) is best known for manufacturing those rugged tablets and other devices found in industrial settings. It also makes barcode printers and specialized devices for the healthcare and construction industries.
“The acquisition of Antuit.ai will further drive our ability to bring the power of AI to our customers, and meet the demands of today’s consumer,” said Zebra Technologies Chief Executive Officer () Anders Gustafsson. “It will also enable us to offer our customers in the CPG industry an analytics, AI and automation solution that supports more efficient planning and operations with greater visibility across the supply chain.”
The company has two operating segments. Its Asset Intelligence & Tracking segment, which involves its barcode printers and labels business, accounted for 30% of its $5.78 billion in 2022 revenue. Meanwhile, its Enterprise Visibility & Mobility segment accounted for the remaining 70%. The latter segment includes Antuit.ai and its latest acquisition, Matrox Electronic Systems, which it purchased in June 2022 for $881 million. Matrox specializes in machine vision software and systems manufacturers used for automated visual inspections, robot guidance, etc.
Zebra shares are down significantly from their all-time high of $615, made in December 2021.
On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.