Let's take a brief and potted history of technology. Remember, the blinking icon, block text on a black background as the height of technology with a desktop PC? The whirrs of the dial-up connections, the worldwide web, email vs snail mail?
In between there was the lastminute 90s, memorable for its bubble, but the technology seeds were firmly sown.
Before we knew it, the future was here with new verbs: Google, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Skype not to mention buying everything under the sun on Amazon and a US president famous for his Twitter presence.
Within the past 30 years, technology and innovation has certainly moved swiftly. The sector seems aflame. Name a big gainer on the stock market this year and it will likely be a technology company.
What affects a share price?
Like any other sector what affects a tech stock's share price is the supply and demand in the market place, company news, the performance, announcement of mergers or acquistions, investor perception and government and economic policies just to name a few.
In early June, Nasdaq, home to a large number of technology stocks, reached a high of 6341.70 quickly followed by a sharp sell off before stabilising. At the end of June 2016, the index was trading at 4,599.44.
It's the nature of the tech sector beast. It isn't a calm ride. there are lows but there are also highs. Seven of the top ten tech companies by market cap are based in the US according to the NYTimes. The one-year return S&P 500 Information Technology Index is at 33%.
You’ll be familiar with so-called consumer technology giants formerly FANG (Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google) since renamed FAAMG to include Google parent, Alphabet, and Microsoft. These companies are ubiquitous and hit the headlines often.
FANG companies are certainly a force behind recent market rallies in 2017. Last year, FANG provided returns of over 80%.
Performance however is broad based with a number of sub-sectors (semi-conductors and manufacturing for example) generating whopping returns.
But how does an investor ensure not to get burned in this famously volatile sector?
What can make one company buck the trend?
Within the tech sector you are also looking for companies that have a willingness to innovate. Not all companies can ape the Amazon model and diversify into a range of businesses.
The online retailer's capacity and higher tolerance for failure if innovations fail is accompanied by very deep pockets to sustain any losses that may occur.
It's not just household names, stocks in companies that manufacture semiconductors, software and/or even IT consulting are booming. Khalaf agrees and says 'there are many strings to the bow' with lots of different models some of it social media others hardware design and manufacturing, software, intellectual property.
The returns on the Dow Jones US Technology Index year to date is 20%, out to two years it's 32.89% and over 3 years its 50.36%. The industry accounts for $263.5bn on the US stock exchange.
There's no guarantee of replicating similar returns but Khalaf suggests there is a case for sideways thinking - including companies in your portfolio that are benefitting from technologies and consumer behaviour shaped by available technology.
Investors looking to invest in technology and companies that benefit from it is to go just a bit wider than tech stocks themselves and avail themselves of other investment opportunities.
Online fashion retailers ASOS and boohoo.com; Rightmove, real estate agents, Just Eat are all seeing huge growth are clearly benefitting from technology and consumer behaviour change.
Autotrader, is another example, where growth is driven by a change in the way we shop for cars. More and more people are foregoing the trip to the garage forecourt to shop for a car and are instead heading online.
What can make a company's share price fall?
The ascendancy of technology stocks today means there are the inevitable parallels with the late 90s tech bubble and predictions of an imminent correction whenever the sector undergoes a sell-off is never too far.
However, Khalaf sees a number of differences. He points out that there is probably quite a difference paying for companies such as Alphabet and Apple which have a high level of income streams and are profitable compared to companies that although promising business models haven’t yet turned a profit.
He adds: "What we saw in the late 90s dot.com bubble was that valuations were getting very heavily stretched and were really running well ahead of profitability you got a lot of optimism priced in.
"Something like Apple’s next iphone it may not generate the same level of profitability as the last iphone or it may do and may even exceed it but there is already a high level of profitability priced into the business and I don’t think that was the case in the 90s."
What should I look out for in company accounts?
Technology may be hot but the treatment of how to choose companies shouldn't divert from the way you would for any other sector as an investor.
Khalaf suggests those characteristics remain things such as: strong recurring revenue streams; barriers to competition; a strong brand, and also a healthy balance sheet.
He also recommends to look over a longer time period as well in order to gauge the regularity of earnings and revenues which can provide an idea of the company's stability.
What else is there to watch out for?
So if indeed the future is here what is the best way of assessing what's next on the horizon and possibly get in on the ground floor?
If you have a passion for technology and can follow through keeping up with the latest trends then you have an edge. There are a lot of exciting thematic innovations in the sector think robotics and the transformational cloud computing.
Khalaf advises to still take care not simply to buy into an idea without a very good business case and part of that is looking at revenues and looking at barriers to entry.
If you are bold enough to invest in companies where the price is predicated on future earnings rather than building on profitability you just need to be aware that it adds more risk that things go against you.
Of course, you can mitigate and try to lessen risk by diversifying your portfolio and within that diversify your tech holdings.
Khalaf recommends: "I don’t think your portfolio should be dominated by it [tech sector] by any means. You have to be thinking in the context of your own portfolio construction and how much as a whole you should have technology weighted in it."
Another key is to size the amount you invest in technology in an appropriate manner compared to other parts of your portfolio and that way even if you find that some of the companies you invest in disappoint and there may be others that should surpass expectations.
If, at the end, you prefer simply to use technology rather than the work implied in direct investment. Leave the deeper research and methodology to an expert. The simplest route for many is to invest in a tech fund and benefit from expertise of a professional manager and a diversified portfolio.