We're back after a year's hiatus, but with lots of great research to talk about. Matt shares details of the 'Clean Dozen' solution areas that enterprises need to focus on to meet their sustainability objectives as well as looking at some recent news (including how great Transforma Insights is!).
An approximate transcript of the podcast is available below:
It’s been very nearly a year since the last episode of the podcast. Since then we’ve more or less come out of lockdown and I’ve been able to get on the road. We analysts, particularly when you’re part of a start up, thrive on exposure and it’s been a bit tough not being able to get in front of people. That’s part of the reasons for doing this podcast dear listener. So I personally and professionally have missed being able to get in front of people. But there’s a lot of that coming up soon. If you’ll be at Industry of Things World in Berlin, IoT Tech Expo in Amsterdam, the Things Conference in Amsterdam, Mobile World Congress Las Vegas, or IoT Tech Expo in Santa Clara, let me know.
And things have been going bananas at Transforma Insights. But things are a little quieter now over the summer. So I have a bit of time to dig into a load of research areas and share with you good people.
What am I going to be talking about this week? Quick run-down of what’s been in the news just recently, including a fair bit of M&A. But first, we’ll look at some more work we at TI have been doing on how disruptive technologies (mostly IoT) are going to save the world.
The 'Clean Dozen'
In July 2022 we published a report called ‘Sustainability Enabled by Digital Transformation’, which details the results of its recently completed analysis of the sustainability impact of new and emerging technologies.
You’ve heard of the Dirty Dozen, well, the conclusion of the comprehensive study is that there is a ‘Clean Dozen’ solution areas that can help organisations achieve sustainability goals, including fleet operations, supply chain, smart grid and smart buildings.
The dozen solution areas account for use cases with significant impact on electricity consumption, (hydrocarbon) fuel consumption, water usage, and CO2 emissions, collectively representing the main measures of sustainability. As well as that, the report also analyses the often-extensive benefits that they can bring to meeting wider ESG goals, as well as the parallel benefits that they might bring in driving a positive business impact.
While the report draws from analysis of numerous key enabling technologies, including AI, Distributed Ledger, Robotic Process Automation, Product Lifecycle Management and Additive Manufacturing, it is the Internet of Things that is overwhelmingly at the core of applications that enable sustainability benefits, albeit often augmented by other technologies. The IoT represents the interface between all types of IT systems and ‘the real world’, and it is in the real world that savings in energy consumption, water consumption and CO2 emissions can be made. IoT is where the rubber meets the road.
This is particularly true in the enterprise. IoT solutions deployed by businesses are very often explicitly done to reduce energy usage or in some way make the business more efficient. For consumers it’s often less the case, with many deployed to improve a proposition rather than for cost savings, although there are some. We also consider the whole lifecycle of devices, allowing for the fact that there’s a lot of energy used in the production and distribution of IoT devices.
As mentioned, overall, we have identified twelve key areas (the ‘Clean Dozen’) where digital transformation can significantly help an organisation achieve sustainability goals. These are discussed in more detail in this document and comprise:
Fleet Operations, including a range of applications associated with the efficient operation and maintenance of vehicle fleets. The impact on fuel consumption from such systems can be substantial. Fleet telematics can reduce fuel consumption by 15%, and thus the total cost of running a fleet by 6%. There are also indirect opportunities too.
Supply Chain includes a range of applications used to improve the working and efficiency of supply chain operations such as sourcing, logistics, transportation, warehousing, manufacturing and production. There are some direct factors, for instance container tracking resulting in 2-3% savings on fuel. Indirect savings can be even more substantial. For instance, the average company using an inventory management system can make space savings of 20%, resulting in commensurate savings on electricity.
Smart Cities comprises of wide spectrum of smart city applications ranging from street lighting control to traffic management and parking space monitoring. The implementation of smart street lighting can typically save cities 20% on their electricity costs. Meanwhile parking space monitoring can reduce fuel consumption in idling and in searching for parking spaces by up to 40%.
Another municipal service that can have a major sustainability impact is Smart Public Transport, which includes systems for operating public transport more efficiently. Overall Transforma Insights estimates that fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions, can be reduced by 10-15% by such initiatives.
Smart Buildings is one of the top solution areas, comprising monitoring and control of building systems including lighting, HVAC, windows, blinds, curtains, and doors, based on occupancy levels of areas within a building. The application of IoT could cut energy consumption by as much as 10%.
Smart Grid, which includes all aspects of grid operations including smart metering and management of transmission and distribution networks, is the other major area where energy savings can have a huge impact. And smaller scale Campus Microgrids are a network of distributed energy resources (DERs) for managing electricity flow in a campus location. All very useful for managing power consumption.
Remote Monitoring & Maintenance includes a range of applications for remote monitoring and maintaining the condition of machines. This can result in energy savings of around 10%, as well as improved original equipment effectiveness of over 30%, and increased uptime of 10-15%, and numerous other benefits. It’s really about business impact (and who doesn’t love something that’s saving the planet while also saving money) but has a knock on effect in reducing energy consumption.
Smart Healthcare, solutions used to remotely monitor the health of people. Here, the relevant thing is that hospitals use a lot more energy than other buildings. So if you can reduce the need for people to be in hospital, you can reduce their impact. And healthcare monitoring can reduce admissions by 45-50%, thus reducing the electricity consumption by 20-30%. And, of course, with wider ESG benefits.
Drone-based Solutions, solutions that enable efficient maintenance and monitoring of infrastructure in buildings, wind farms with drone-based inspection. Saves hugely on jet fuel used for helicopters. And for delivery, for instance, global warming impact per km of travel is 1/6th that of motorcycle delivery, according to a study in South Korea. Plus they’re at least 50% faster at inspections than manual inspections.
Smart Agriculture includes a range of applications used to make farming methods more efficient while increasing yield. Mostly about water savings, but increasing yield means you reduce electricity consumption per tonne of crop produced. Our calculations say 15-20% increase in yield means 9-12% reduction in electricity used per tonne. But it’s really on water usage that agriculture solutions shine. The average irrigation management system reduces consumption by 25-30%. More on this next week.
And finally, Efficient Operations, other technology use cases that contribute towards sustainability initiatives but that are not related to IoT. This includes chatbots and RPA, and other forms of low level AI. These types of things make operations more efficient and so on.
Check out the report. A free sample, on Smart Buildings, is available on our website.
What has happened in the 12 months since I’ve been away. Well, there’s no way we can cover all of that in the time we have available. So I’ve picked out just a couple of titbits of info.
Transforma Insights is leading IoT analyst firm
First up, a bit of a plug for us at Transforma Insights. I want to tell you about a study from late last year.
A survey of the IoT community undertaken earlier this month by B2B technology PR firm CCgroup rated analyst firms based on their influence in IoT. Overall Transforma Insights rated sixth in the survey.
Amongst one of the three identified categories of participants, “OEMs”, Transforma Insights ranked as the number one most influential firm. The OEMs category includes manufacturers of embedded devices which are then sold on to end-user organisations, including car manufacturers and medical equipment manufacturers.
The report overall highlights the importance of analysts in the decision-making process for vendor selection: 32% of IoT buyers use analyst reports for information about vendors, 43% use industry analysts to identify and shortlist vendors, and 31% state that most purchasing decisions involve industry analysts, a figure which increases to 43% for OEM organisations.
More details can be found here: New independent study rates Transforma Insights as one of the most influential analyst firms for IoT.
That was the selfish plug. What else? We’ve put out an update on our IoT forecasts. A few highlights of the report:
At the end of 2021 there were 11.3 billion active IoT devices, a figure which will grow to 29.4 billion in 2030, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%.
Short range technologies will dominate connections, accounting for 73% in 2030, a slight reduction compared to the 77% it accounts for today. Public networks, which are dominated by cellular networks, will grow from 1.35 billion connections in 2021 to 5.7 billion in 2030, growing market share from 12% to 19%. Private networks account for the balance of connections.
In 2030 the consumer sector will account for 58% of all connections. Of the enterprise segment in 2030, 30% of devices will be accounted for by ‘cross-vertical’ use cases such as generic track-and-trace, office equipment and fleet vehicles, 29% by utilities, most prominently smart meters, 20% by retail/wholesale (predominantly payment processing devices), 7% by government, 4% by transport and logistics, and 2% for finance and insurance.
More details here: Global IoT connections to hit 29.4 billion in 2030
In the last few weeks there’s been a lot of M&A. No surprises there, there seems to be pretty regularly.
Consolidation in the IoT hardware space as Telit acquires Thales cellular IoT modules business (the old Cinterion) as Telit Cinterion. Thales will be a shareholder of the new entity. Interesting the stress on it being a "western" IoT solutions provider. By which they mean "if you can't buy Chinese, buy from us".
Soracom is working now with Astrocast to provide LEO satellite connectivity. Soracom has a pretty impressive roster of access technologies (cellular, LoRa, Sigfox, and now satellite). Hard to think of anyone who covers all those bases!
Oh and on the subject of Sigfox, it finally got acquired by Singaporean (and other places) Sigfox Network Operator Unabiz. The technology continues, the company disappears. That’s probably for the best. The tech probably has a niche, the business wasn’t particularly run well.
Continuing M&A in the MVNO space, such as Wireless Logic acquiring Mobius (which is strong on security), and JT IoT acquired Top Connect, an Estonian company which doesn’t seem to bring much to the table but probably a bit more scale. Also our friends at onomondo raised $21 million. Now there’s an interesting company, particularly in the context of cloud integration of IoT data (more on which in a later podcast).
But why so much interest in MVNOs. It’s still partly because there’s a lot of money sloshing around out there. Also I think eSIM is helping MVNOs in IoT more than others. More on all these topics later.
If you’re interested in IoT MVNOs, check out our IoT MVNO Market Landscape report from November last year.
What else do we have for you today? One request and one plug. The request relates to 2G and 3G switch-off. As I’ve spoken about previously on the podcast, network operators around the world have been going through a process of switching off (refarming) their 2G and 3G spectrum for use with 4G and 5G. This has meant anyone using 2G networks (less so 3G as it’s not really used for IoT much) has had to switch out their connections. Less of a problem for handsets as you can just get another one. Potentially a big problem for IoT where you’d expect some devices to stick around for a decade or more and it’s a pain to replace them. I spoke about this on episode 6. The request is to hear from anyone who has been through a 2G (or 3G) switch off process themselves. We want to hear about experiences from real world customers. So if you know of anyone who has been through one or you are someone who has, I’d love to speak with you. Can be completely anonymous and we’re happy to share results of the findings of the research.
Digital Transformation webinar series
And a plug – we have a stack of webinars coming up. We announced our 2022/23 series of webinars a few months ago. They’re coming up on the 26th September, looking at 5G and mobile private networks (aka private wireless). In November we’re looking at how Digital Transformation will save the planet. That’s all tied up with the Clean Dozen work I spoke about earlier. In January we’ll provide a summary of the work from our annual CSP IoT Peer Benchmarking Report, which is due out in Q4. In March we’ll delve into the opportunity associated with applied AI, and in May next year we’ll share our IoT forecasts.
Tune in, they’re free. A link will be provided on the wireless noodle site: Transforma Insights announces 2022/23 webinar series.
Next week I’ll have a bit more on the clean dozen, a dive into satellite LEOs and a bit of our research on mobile private networks which will feature in the webinar in September.
Just a reminder: if you’re enjoying the podcast I’d be obliged if you could leave a review. It’s much appreciated.