IoT Signals: Industry indicators entering Q2 2021

Industry indicators entering Q2 2021

The Big Picture

What the World Econommic Forum calls The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now fully underway. Around the world, across virtually every industry, advances in technology are merging the physical, digital, and even biological worlds. This shift offers tremendous promise for a happier, healthier, more productive, and more just world. It also carries significant risk if institutions fail to rise to the occasion.

WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab has established a shorthand of “promise” and “peril” to describe this current inflection point:


• Connect billions of people to digital networks
• Dramatically improve the efficiency of organizations
• Manage assets in a way to regenerate the environment
• Undo damage of previous industrial revolutions


• Organizations may fail to adapt
• Governments may fail to employ and regulate new technologies to capture their benefit
• Shifting power may create new security concerns
• Inequality may increase

In this context, while we’re typically heads-down on delivery, we’re also always listening for signals in the broader environment. The better we understand the environment we’re working in, the better we can support the technical innovators who are helping to fulfill the promise of this new, connected future.

Signals entering Q2 2021

1. Larry Fink’s Letter to Black Rock portfolio companies

The CEO of the world’s largest hedge funds says sustainability is top of mind for legacy and traditional investors who are asking companies to share more transparency into their bottom-line financials.

2. Millennials, Generation Z, and Alpha are fueling a wave of sustainable companies

The U.N. is calling upon new entrepreneurs to launch companies that are building sustainable solutions. This opportunity is also accessible to new entrepreneurs from all walks of life, including new retirees and women who are disproportionately leaving the workforce en masse due to the pandemic. There’s a meaningful opportunity for the world’s underestimated populations to rise.

3. The IoT in smart cities market is expected to reach $260B by 2025

The driving force behind this trend is the increase in government initiatives that are designed to make cities more productive, sustainable, and liveable. The report dives a bit deeper into this trend:

“North America is expected to dominate the global market from 2020 to 2025, owing to the presence of several solution vendors in the US. Canada has the highest internet penetration rate responsible for the growth of North America. Additionally, the presence of several vendors and favorable support environments has led to the foundation of a robust support ecosystem in the region.”

4. The maker community is moving toward human-centric design

Continuing reduction in the cost of hardware, connectivity, and software makes niche product design feasible and affordable.

Check out the speech-to-text unit for masks on by Maker Lorraine Underwood (cited above) who “designed to assist those who struggle to hear speech when someone is wearing a mask, this project is more than a fashion accessory.

5. There’s a growing opportunity for companies in the AgTech space

Farming often takes place in rural areas with minimal to no access to cellular bandwidth. IoT connectivity serves a major role in the growth of this technology space.

Innovation in agriculture has positive secondary and tertiary implications for the planet, including water conservation, lowering pollution, and reducing food waste.

6. Emerging technologies can foster an inclusive COVID-19 recovery — profitably

IoT was named a frontier technology, along with 5G, 3D printing, robotics, drones, gene editing, nanotechnology, and photovoltaic by the United Nations with the potential to “reduce inequalities brought into sharper focus by the pandemic.”

“These rapidly developing technologies represent a $350 billion market, which by 2025 could grow to over $3.2 trillion,” according to a recent report.

7. Tunisia launches its first 100% Tunisian satellite

The scale of IoT innovation is growing, particularly due to the engineering capabilities of builders around the world. This shift is a signal for a bigger global market for connected products and solutions.

Tunisia has launched its first completely locally manufactured satellite geared to transmit temperature, pollution, location, and humidity data to a network of 20 connected objects in space.

“Challenger One is designed to transmit data from connected objects (Internet of connected objects -idO or IoT). It is equipped with thermometers or pollution sensors, location chips and humidity sensors. The data from these devices will be accessible in real time, even in an area without internet coverage. Its mission will last from five to seven years.”

8. Brazilian Senate approves tax exemption for IoT devices

Effective January 2021, the Brazillian Senate has approved tax exemptions for connected telecommunications equipment.

Latin America’s biggest economy is walking the talk when it comes to incentivizing entrepreneurs and technologists to offer and deploy solutions for their 200M citizens.

9. Ultra-early wildfire detection system raises €1.8M seed funding

Wildfires across Australia, the Amazon, and the United States are a wake-up call to the need for climate action. One German startup is building new solutions for early detection.

“Unlike existing LoRaWAN gateways which cover just 12km, Dryad’s gateways interconnect in a multi-hop mesh network that covers very large forests, making it viable to build a communications network, even if there is no mobile network. Dryad border gateways at the edge of the network connect to a wireless (LTE/NB-IoT), satellite, or wired internet to access the Dryad cloud platform.”

10. Trust in social institutions is on the decline

Edelman, one of the world’s largest and most established public relations firms, found in its 2021 trust barometer that people are becoming more distrustful of institutions.

The survey found that people are more likely to have trust in businesses than government institutions, media, and social media. For this reason, businesses have a unique opportunity for leadership.

The bottom line: share your work.

  1. Builders need to keep their eyes open to security concerns

In a recent breach targeting Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, a hacker was able to intercept SMS communications.

While carriers were able to correct the issue eventually, there continue to be vulnerabilities that major carriers, with large-scale networks, can’t always outsmart. For this reason, third-party connectivity options for managing cellular connectivity will always allow for additional security protocols.

12. The way technologists buy software is evolving

More software buyers are making technical decisions based on usage based models. This market shift opens doors to new opportunities in the maker economy.

“The usage-based model allows a customer to start at a low cost, minimizing friction to getting started while still preserving the ability to monetize a customer over time because the price is directly tied with the value a customer receives. Not limiting the number of users who can access the software, customers are able to find new use cases — which leads to more long-term success and higher lifetime value.”

This post represents collaboration between members of the Soracom solutions architecture, account management, and communications teams.

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