Robert W. Baird said its technology team has identified ten key themes that it expects to drive investment opportunities in 2012, across a range of technology verticals.

The top picks of Robert W. Baird in the technology sector are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SNCR), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), STMicroelectronics N.V. (NYSE: STM), salesforce.com inc. (NYSE: CRM), Qlik Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: QLIK), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Riverbed Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RVBD).

The top 10 technology themes for 2012, as identified by the Baird Tech Research Team, are:

The Cloud - The brokerage still views the move toward cloud architectures and technologies as a long-term trend and expects enterprises to accelerate build-outs of efficient and automated pools of IT resources (private clouds).

Social Enterprise - The explosive success of consumer social networks has spurred innovation in enterprise collaboration tools. The team believes corporate social networks will see broader adoption as successful case studies with positive return on investments emerge.

Connected TV - The team believes the combination of lightweight operating systems, low-power processors and high-speed broadband will further disrupt the living room in 2012.

Smartphones - The brokerage views the smartphone market as ripe for a third entrant. Microsoft is betting on a comeback, as is BlackBerry maker RIM, though Amazon, Facebook and others could bear watching.

Tablets - After owning the market in 2011, the team expects Apple to face more heated competition from Amazon and others in 2012.

4G LTE - Verizon and AT&T are enjoying an early lead in LTE over Sprint and T-Mobile. LTE could be a catalyst for Qualcomm and other well-positioned vendors in 2012.

Windows 8 - Although the team doesn't expect it to be a catalyst for enterprise PC refreshes, Microsoft's next iteration of Windows represents its first entrant into the tablet space and could also be the future of Windows Phone.

Mobile Internet - In 2012, the team sees an acceleration of these trends, with the mobile device as a platform increasingly taking center stage, alongside the PC. The brokerage expects mobiles to increase its share of online advertising and e-commerce but, more importantly, to accelerate the secular shift from offline to online.

Display Advertising - The brokerage views an increasingly robust battle between Google and Facebook in the display market as likely to accelerate in 2012, with the competition providing a healthy injection of new services and technology.

LED Lighting - LED lighting is staged to see substantial growth over as the cost of LED bulbs continues to decline and demand for green tech grows.