Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Jump 14% YoY in 2022 to Reach Highest Ever

  • Quectel and Qualcomm dominated the cellular IoT module and chipset markets, respectively.
  • NB-IoT is still popular among technologies but is expected to lose some market share to 4G CAT1.bis in 2023.
  • 5G adoption to get a boost in 2024 if ASP declines to sub-$100 and 5G RedCap-based solutions become available.
  • China continues to lead IoT module market, followed by North America and Western Europe.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – March 29, 2023

Global cellular IoT module shipments grew 14% YoY in 2022 to register record high annual volume, despite macroeconomic headwinds, according to Counterpoint’s latest Global Cellular IoT Module and Chipset Tracker by Application report. The resumption of smart meter implementation, ongoing retail POS upgrades, intelligent asset tracking and the continued growth in connected cars due to progress in electrification and autonomous capabilities were some of the key drivers for the double-digit percentage growth in demand for IoT modules.

China continued to lead the global cellular IoT module market in terms of demand, followed by North America and Western Europe. Meanwhile, India was the fastest growing market, followed by Latin America and North America. Although India has a smaller base, it has immense potential. Eastern Europe was the only region that registered a decline due to the prolonged Ukraine-Russia war.

Commenting on the competitive dynamics among cellular IoT module OEMs, Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “In 2022, Quectel was the top cellular IoT module player in China, the world’s largest market for these components. Meanwhile, China Mobile and Fibocom captured second and third place, respectively, enjoying their tremendous scale in the domestic market. Outside of China, Quectel remained the leader followed by Telit and Thales which have merged and will commence operations as a new brand, Telit Cinterion, starting Q1 2023.

Quectel increased its focus in the consolidating automotive (NAD module) segment in 2022 and secured multiple design wins with major automakers. The competition in the NAD module market is intensifying as the industry transitions to 5G connectivity. With every transition of cellular technology, we have seen the market consolidate as it becomes increasingly challenging to serve the automotive segment, which requires heavy customization but garners a lower margin.

China Mobile, the world’s largest CSP and IoT connectivity player, is becoming more vertically integrated by leveraging its massive scale to capture maximum value. It has the potential to break into the top three global cellular IoT module rankings this year. However, the company primarily operates in China and will need to expand into other verticals and markets via a robust partnership model to maintain its momentum.”

IoT Module Market 2022 Counterpoint

Commenting on the IoT cellular connectivity chipset player dynamics, Associate Director Ethan Qi said, “Qualcomm continued to dominate the cellular IoT chipset market in 2022 with nearly 40% shipments share. Qualcomm strengthened its position in the LTE CAT 4 and higher technologies while also maintaining a dominant position in the 5G market. Qualcomm recently launched its latest 4G CAT1.bis chipset, QCX216, to compete head-on with the LTE CAT1.bis leaders UNISOC and Eigencomm.

Qi added, “In 2022, UNISOC and ASR maintained their second and third positions due to strong adoption of the fast-growing LTE CAT1.bis and CAT 1 based modules, respectively. During the year, two new players from China, Eigencomm and Xinyi Semiconductor, broke into the top five cellular IoT chipset vendor rankings, filling the gap left by Hisilicon. Eigencomm focuses on NB-IoT and 4G CAT1.bis applications while Xinyi Semiconductor focuses on NB-IoT chipsets, both being low-cost but high-volume segments.”IoT Chipset Market 2022 Counterpoint

Commenting on the technology landscape, Mandal added, “During 2022, NB-IoT remained the most popular LPWA IoT connectivity technology followed by the fast-growing 4G CAT 1 and 4G CAT 4 modules. Together, these contributed to 60% of the total IoT module market. For most of 2022, China was under lockdown due to the resurgence of COVID-19 which drove greater demand for products such as smart door locks, digital thermometers and wearables, mostly powered by NB-IoT.

NB-IoT saw strong adoption in China but has been less popular outside the country. In contrast, 4G CAT.1bis has been gaining traction globally and has the potential to be an alternative to several NB-IoT and existing 2G/3G applications such as smart meters. However, 5G saw slower adoption in IoT than in smartphones last year due to the higher module costs. The key initial 5G applications are PCs, CPEs and some industrial/enterprise applications.

We believe 5G will enter the mainstream market once the module ASP breaks the sub-$100 barrier and receives a further boost from the 5G RedCap commercialization in coming years.”

Commenting on the IoT market outlook for 2023, Associate Director Mohit Agrawal said, “Global cellular IoT module shipments (including NAD modules) are expected to register robust growth of 19% YoY in 2023. The growth of IoT module shipments in the high-value industrial segment will be key for the IoT projects that have struggled to move beyond the pilot stage and for companies that are focusing more on ROI in a tough macroeconomic environment. Nevertheless, shipments of IoT modules for the smart meter, point of sale (POS) and the automotive markets are expected to continue seeing strong growth, which will offset a slowdown in other segments.”

The market has been undergoing consolidation across the IoT value chain from module players and connectivity management to IoT platform players. This has highlighted the importance of scale, choosing the right vertical and capturing value by striking the right partnerships or developing the right capabilities. We could see some more exits and mergers in 2023 because IoT, which is very vertical driven, has been seeing volatile growth due to internal or external factors.”

For detailed research, refer to the following reports available for subscribing clients and individuals:

Counterpoint tracks 1,500+ IoT module SKUs on a quarterly basis and provides forecasts on shipments, revenues and ASP performances for 80+ IoT module vendors, 12+ chipset players and 18+ IoT applications across 10 major geographies.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

Soumen Mandal

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Mohit Agrawal

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Anish Khajuria

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AI, Digital Twins, Real-time Compute Emerge as Top Technology Trends for 2023

  • Counterpoint believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Twins and Edge Computing will emerge as top technology trends in 2023, affecting the whole tech industry.
  • Other trends that will be seeing lots of investments and progress include – Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain in IoT (ABIoT), Zero trust Architecture (ZTA) in Cybersecurity, West-China Technology Investments for Technology reshoring, eSIMs, XR and Sustainability

New Delhi, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego – February 26, 2023

We have entered 2023 at a time when geopolitical tensions are at their highest and markets are fragile due to macro factors, especially in the technology sector. Talks of recession, inflation, higher interest rates and declining consumer spending make it extremely judicious for businesses to invest in innovation.

With the report Technology Trends 2023 we aim to highlight the catalysts and trends that will influence technological developments and adoption in 2023. We have chosen trends that are at their inflection point in 2023 by observing a multitude of evidence available for these anchor technologies.

Counterpoint Research Technology Trends 2023


Commenting on the Technology Trends for 2023, Associate Director Mohit Agrawal commented, “We will be seeing a lot of proliferation of AI use cases across industries with the success that ChatGPT saw through its release; Conversational chatbots and text using generative AI are ready for prime time in 2023 followed by code writing early next year. Meanwhile, images, audio and videos may take another two to four years before they start to make a serious impact.”

“The magnitude with which we have seen companies launching AI-based solutions at Mobile World Congress (MWC), Barcelona 2023, from telecom to manufacturing, is immense. The solutions reflect the prevalence of AI in even the most basic of tasks to the most complex ones.”

Agarwal further added, “The confluence of AI and Blockchain in IoT would initiate the era of ABIoT. IoT plays a vital role in collecting data through sensors, facilitating two-way communication and enabling action. AI takes on the responsibility of ‘thinking’ by analyzing the large data sets generated by IoT and mimicking human-like intelligence. Meanwhile, blockchain ensures secure, immutable and transparent record-keeping to ‘enable transactions.’ When these three technologies are combined, they can create substantial value for any organization and enable new business models.”

Real-time computing is another trend that has seen lot of activity, on which Senior Analyst Akshara Bassi commented, “Real-time computing or Edge computing is becoming ubiquitous in 2023. End customers and companies are heavily using technologies that synthesize real-time data to deliver insights to help improve consumer experience with existing technology hardware and the efficiency of processes. The proliferation of IoT and 5G has accelerated the demand for compute at the Edge as reflected by the investments by Cloud players in real-time computing applications to the rise of Edge-based SaaS solutions.”

A trend summary for technologies that will course through 2023:

  • Dawn of AI, Blockchain and IoT (ABIoT): The AI, blockchain and IoT trinity is of immense significance in the world of technology. ABIoT uses blockchain, AI and IoT to enhance trust and security, test various usage-based business models and scale the deployment to an intelligent level that can glean insights to make operations efficient.
  • Rise of Digital Twins: In 2023, we are entering the era of Cognitive Digital Twins. These virtual replicas function autonomously and use AI for making decisions. These digital twins use AI to reflect and simulate assets, machines and processes in real time.
  • Cybersecurity – Zero Trust Architecture a Necessity: Cybersecurity has become more crucial than ever due to the rapid digital transformation taking place across industries and the transition to Web 3.0. The legacy security architecture, which is based on the defense-in-depth methodology is now lacking due to the presence of a true perimeter, making it inadequate. Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is emerging as the solution to fill the gaps that the legacy architecture failed to cover.
  • Real-time Compute to Become Ubiquitous, Supported by Cloud Providers: Digital transformation has made the Cloud ubiquitous within a company’s IT infrastructure. But the implementation of 5G and the proliferation of IoT devices has necessitated Edge to become more intelligent and embrace an active compute role to deliver real-time data insights.
  • Generative AI to Make Big Leap Forward in 2023: The unprecedented success of ChatGPT has reignited interest in the cutting-edge field of generative AI. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize content creation, affecting industries such as marketing, design, entertainment, software development and media organizations. On one hand, it democratizes content creation, yet on the other, it has the power to completely disrupt the current content creation landscape.
  • West-China Rivalry to Amplify in Technology Sector: There is a simmering rivalry between the West and China, especially in the technology industry, which is likely to amplify further in 2023 as the respective governments take decisive steps to deleverage. In October last year, the US announced curbs on technology exports intending to cut off Chinese companies from access to advanced semiconductors made anywhere in the world from US equipment or know-how.
  • eSIMs – Ready for Prime Time: 2022 was a landmark year for the eSIM ecosystem and eSIM is now rapidly moving towards becoming the preferred mode of cellular connectivity. More than 260 MNOs/MVNOs now support eSIM, and they support more than 35 consumer devices on an average. However, in 2023, we expect a significant increase in the adoption of eSIM technology, with an expected one in four IoT modules equipped with eSIM.
  • XR – Recalibration of Strategy, New Opportunities Emerge: Key players in the XR space are recalibrating their strategy in 2023 as consumers and enterprises await the promised XR experience. Recently, Qualcomm, Google and Samsung announced a partnership to work on a mixed reality (MR) platform by bringing together Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR Tech, Google’s expertise in experiences and Samsung’s product capabilities. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to launch its MR headset soon.
  • Sustainability – Technology Services Championing the Cause: Humanity continues consuming the Earth’s resources 1.75x faster than its capacity for biological replenishment. Consequently, companies are becoming conscious of their usage of resources and the efficiency of their business processes. Companies are using technology to achieve end-to-end visibility concerning all processes by sensing and tracking data at each touch point and possibly altering the process flow to achieve greater efficiencies and lower carbon footprint by using AI in conjunction with physical decision making.
  • IoT – Consolidation Expected to Accelerate: The IoT value chain is highly fragmented with over 4,000 players competing for a share of the market. This intense competition has led to a squeezed margin and has hindered the ability of players to expand into adjacent areas of the value chain. As economic conditions push investors to prioritize profitability, de-fragmentation through mergers and acquisitions would become all too common in 2023.

The comprehensive and in-depth “Technology Trends – 2023” report is available. Please contact Counterpoint Research to access the report.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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5G AIoT Unlocking New Era of IoT

The use of IoT devices is making our daily lives smarter. IoT combined with artificial intelligence (AI), or artificial IoT (AIoT), is helping in automated real-time decision-making and data analysis. AI can add value to IoT through machine learning (ML) and improved decision-making. Similarly, IoT can add value to AI through connectivity and data exchange. With the rapid technological advancements, AIoT is transforming every industry, enterprise and consumer.

5G is going to be the key ingredient in driving AIoT applications. According to a Counterpoint Research study, the shipments of 5G AIoT-supported modules will grow at a CAGR of 84% between 2022 and 2030. Further, 60% of 5G IoT modules will have AI capability by 2030 for better processing and real-time decision-making.

AIoT applications

The adoption of AIoT is becoming an emerging technology trend across a wide range of industries where real-time data operation is needed, such as industrial manufacturing, robotics, logistics, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities and smart home.

Industrial manufacturing

Manufacturing relies on digital transformation to become more efficient and reduce human error. This sector needs to adopt AIoT solutions. AIoT-powered robots in factories improve the manufacturing process with excellent efficiency. They help reduce labor costs as well as time.

Smart cities

In a smart city, there are several uses of AIoT, such as traffic management and waste management. To avoid chaos and congestion on the road in a crowded city, AIoT-based drones help monitor traffic and transmit real-time traffic data for analyses through AI and for making decisions on the speed limit and timing of traffic lights, all without human interference. Therefore, real-time traffic monitoring by drones increases efficiency and reduces congestion.

Security and surveillance are other important applications for AI in smart cities. AI cameras can help police monitor illegal activities and prevent unwanted situations.

Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving cars are one of the best use cases of AIoT applications. IoT-enabled devices like cameras, radars and sonars in the car gather data and the AI system helps analyze this data within a few milliseconds so that the car can make decisions like a human. Fully autonomous vehicles will generate 1-2TB of data per hour and AI will be required to handle this amount of data and take some decisions at the edge.

Smart homes

AI in the connected home space is mainly used for voice assistant, situational awareness, automation and security. Starting from door locks, smoke alarm, surveillance and smart speakers to smart appliances such as lighting, thermostat, refrigerator, plugs, routers, meters, home controllers and vehicle chargers, many applications have already adopted AI features.

Challenges in implementing AI in IoT

As most AI applications are based on real-time decision-making, they need a high-speed data rate to communicate. 5G’s high speed and low latency will be ideal for AIoT applications. But in many regions, 5G infrastructure is still not there or is in the initial phase. Hence, it will be challenging to scale. Data management and taking the right decision at the right time by handling huge amounts of data will be another big challenge for AI adoption. Moreover, the security angle will also need to be addressed. Both hardware- and software-level security will be required for AIoT applications to keep connected devices safe.

Initiatives by module and chipset players in AI applications

With the increasing traction for 5G-based AIoT applications, module vendors like Fibocom, Quectel, Thundercomm and MeiG are stepping forward to launch AI-supported 5G IoT modules. Some module vendors are offering AI features at the hardware level while some vendors are offering AI features at the software level. Whether to use hardware- or software-level AI features depends on the application and cost of the project. Recently, Quectel announced that it would add software-level AI capability in its Rel 16-based 5G modules by partnering with NVIDIA. International module vendor Telit is also adding AI capabilities in its FM980 5G module through NVIDIA software. However, Quectel, Fibocom, MeiG and Thundercomm are already offering hardware-level 5G AI-supported modules for high-end applications such as C-V2X, AR/VR, robots, smart cities, live streaming, gaming and edge computing.

In terms of chipset players, Qualcomm is leading in the 5G AIoT chipset space. This year, it launched the world’s first AI-supported 5G modem Snapdragon X70. Moreover, it has broader 5G AIoT SoC offerings with the QCM6490, Snapdragon 480, Snapdragon 690 and Snapdragon 750.

The second-largest IoT chipset player, UNISOC, is trying to gain momentum for 5G through AIoT-based SoCs. So far, UNISOC is offering AIoT features in its T770, T760 and T740 chipsets.

Recently, MediaTek launched the Genio 1200 chipset, specially designed for 5G AIoT devices. It is targeting applications such as smart home, industrial, robotics and audio/video terminals.

We expect that 2023 will provide momentum to the 5G AIoT market as the IoT market has been facing some instability lately due to inflation, supply issues and other macro factors.

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NFT: Creating Buzz in Digital Ecosystem

During one of the worst pandemics in human history, cryptocurrencies made waves in the market. If the bitcoin saw wild fluctuations, Non-Fungible Token (NFT) was the talk of the digital ecosystem. From companies to investors to celebrities to artists, NFT has become a top investment option. As a result, its market cap grew more than 54 times from $338 million by the end of 2020 to more than $18 billion on June 9, 2021.

What is NFT?

An NFT is a metadata composition, making it one of a kind. Each NFT reflects digital ownership backed by an asset. NFT gives a digital identity to physical or digital assets. It can be associated with any form of tangible or intangible assets. Further, just like other cryptocurrencies, NFT is channeled through blockchain technology.

NFTs have been around since 2012, some built on the bitcoin network but most operating on the Ethereum network. The first-ever NFT was minted in 2014 by artist Kevin McCoy. Later, in 2017, it again came to prominence when it debuted in the Ethereum network for a digital collectible game. However, in terms of popularity, NFT remains a comparatively new entrant among other cryptocurrencies.

Why all the buzz now?

As we mentioned earlier, its market cap has grown more than 54 times since 2020. This growth has come from a series of high-end trading in NFT assets:

Exhibit 1: Major NFT Trades in 2021

Counterpoint Research-Major NFT Trades in 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research

NFT has now gained much prominence but the potential it holds is yet to be fully discovered. The first applications were across Metaverses, Art, Gaming, Sports, Collectibles and Utility. However, AR/VR, Real Estate, Event Ticketing, Brand Licensing and Tokenizing of real-world assets also show promise. Further, we are seeing many new players from different segments starting to invest and trade in NFTs.

Exhibit 2: Brands Entering NFT Market

Counterpoint Research Brands Entering NFT Market

Source: Counterpoint Research

What makes NFT different from other cryptocurrencies?

Though it is a decentralized form of currency just like other cryptocurrencies, NFT is different from other cryptocurrencies in the following key aspects:

  • NFT opens the possibility of multiple-owner scenarios for a particular asset. Therefore, rather than being owned by one, it holds the potential to be owned by many in pieces.
  • An NFT’s value is uncertain. It depends on how scarce or popular it is considered by the potential buyer.
  • An NFT is not equal to any other NFT. Each token is assigned a digital hash that distinguishes it from every other NFT. Therefore, no two tokens are equal, either in value or in their properties.
  • Little volume with exceptionally high value of assets.
  • The secondary market is relatively less active.


During the pandemic, when most of us shifted to our workstations at our homes, the artists and art galleries were among those recognizing the urgent need for digitalization. NFT emerged as a blessing in such a scenario. Further, NFT managed to capture attention quickly, leading to a smoother transition to the blockchain across various use cases. However, it is still a long road ahead in making NFT mainstream.

We are also witnessing some concerns being raised over NFTs. Environmental impact and crypto-bubble are the two major concerns here.

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Quectel, Thales & Fibocom Lead the Global Cellular IoT Module Market in Q4 2020

  • The global cellular IoT module market continued to recover sequentially but is yet to reach 2019 levels.
  • Quectel and Qualcomm maintained their top positions in the cellular IoT module vendor and chipset player market shares respectively.
  • Smart meter, automotive and telematics are the top three applications for cellular IoT modules globally in terms of shipments.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – April 15, 2021

Global cellular IoT module shipments increased 9% QoQ but decreased 6% YoY during Q4 2020, according to the latest research by Counterpoint’s Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the cellular IoT module demand across mobility sectors but saw an increased adoption among other industry verticals, such as healthcare and gateways. Only Japan and South Korea witnessed an increase in shipments on a YoY basis. The total cellular IoT module shipments for 2020 ended at 265 million units. A fresh wave of COVID-19 and semiconductor shortages stopped the cellular IoT module market from recovering fully.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “Quectel continued to lead global cellular IoT module vendors in terms of shipment volumes and revenues. However, it lost market share in successive quarters due to the rise of longtail module vendors, especially in China. There has been an intense competition for the second spot between the incumbent Thales, Sierra Wireless and the fast-growing Fibocom. The negative impact of COVID-19 forced Thales to surrender the second spot to Fibocom in Q2 2020. However, Thales recaptured it in Q3 2020, retaining it through the end of the year. The improved performance in Europe, North America and Japan helped Thales regain its position. Fibocom is trying to increase its global presence and improve service support to increase its share in the global cellular IoT module market.

Sierra Wireless slipped out of the top five module vendor rankings with the divestment of its automotive business to a consortium led by Fibocom Wireless to form an independent company, Rolling Wireless. Among large module vendors in China, only Fibocom and Meig experienced positive quarterly and yearly growth during Q4 2020 in terms of shipments.”

Exhibit 1: Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Share by Module Vendor, Q4 2020

Counterpoint Research Global Cellular IoT Module Market Q4 2020
Source: Counterpoint Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker

Mandal added, “The 4G LTE modules continued to dominate, contributing to nearly half of the global cellular IoT module shipment volumes. The demand for 4G Cat-1 modules is poised to grow significantly this year. The demand for NB-IoT modules remains healthy, contributing to a third of the cellular IoT module shipment volumes in Q4 2020. Smart meters, telematics and utilities are the top applications for NB-IoT technology. The 3GPP Release 14 spec-based NB-IoT (Cat NB2) modules gain location capabilities among others, expanding the spectrum of use cases to the broader mobility, tracking and telematics applications.

The demand for 5G IoT modules during the quarter was limited to the router/CPE market and other industrial applications. However, the majority of launched 5G modules are expected to enter mainstream production in the second half of 2021. The demand will also begin to take off with improving 5G coverage in many key markets such as China, North America and parts of Europe.”

Exhibit 2: Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Share by Chipset Brand, Q4 2020

Counterpoint Research Global Cellular IoT Chipset Market Q4 2020
Source: Counterpoint Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker

Commenting on the cellular IoT module chipset supplier landscape, Vice-President Research Neil Shah noted, “Qualcomm further increased its share in the global cellular IoT chipset market to nearly half in Q4 2020, riding on the growing demand for 4G and LPWA modules. As the top-tier Chinese module vendors look to expand their presence beyond China, Qualcomm and other suppliers such as Sony (Altair Semi) and Sequans seem to be major beneficiaries going forward. HiSilicon has been the top supplier when it comes to NB-IoT technology. It expects to continue to lead in the coming quarters despite US sanctions. However, with growing competition and design wins, UNISOC and MediaTek look forward to increasing their market share, especially in the NB-IoT segment away from HiSilicon. With the entry of newer suppliers in the cellular IoT chipset market, such as AutoTalks, ASR and Eigencomm, alongside the vertically integrated u-blox, Nordic Semi will light up some competition, especially in the fast-growing LPWA segment.”

Shah added, “The NB-IoT module ASP (average selling price) continues to decline (3% YoY) with scale in Q4 2020, driving further adoption of NB-IoT technology. Sub-$5 priced modules contributed to almost a third of the shipments during this quarter. The ASP of another fast-growing segment, 4G LTE Cat 1 modules, decreased by 9% YoY in Q4 2020 and is an emerging choice to replace many existing and future 2.5G/3G M2M applications.”

Currently, Counterpoint is tracking and forecasting 40+ IoT module vendors’ shipments, revenue performance across 10+ chipset players, and 18+ IoT applications across 10 major geographies on a quarterly basis, with a forecast up to 2025. Full reports are available for subscribing clients through the following links:

These reports are a part of Counterpoint’s IoT Service.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Soumen Mandal
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Neil Shah
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Counterpoint Research
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Blockchain, IoT to Streamline Global COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Blockchain-based solutions for managing secure databases for the supply chain management of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with IoT solutions such as real-time monitoring and asset tracking, hold the potential to ensure successful distribution of the vaccine. Their use in such a huge exercise can ensure optimum utilization of resources to save precious lives, without compromising on quality and safety norms.

Challenges posed by temperature sensitivity, mass distribution

The mass distribution of any vaccine is a challenge. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), currently, about a quarter of the vaccine cargo gets degraded due to shipping-related oversights, such as pallets being left out of cold storage for too long. Additionally, about 20% of the temperature-sensitive vaccine shipments also deteriorate during transportation.

A COVID-19 vaccine comes with certain prerequisites in terms of temperature and shelf life. Hence, it is crucial to have a robust supply chain management with real-time logistics.

Global shipping infrastructure

The air cargo industry is planning to transport billions of COVID-19 doses. However, it has inadequate infrastructure, both for transportation and storage.

  • According to the IATA, almost 8,000 Boeing 747s will be required for the global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, assuming one dose per person. But most vaccines developed so far require two doses.
  • DHL estimates it will need some 200,000 pallet shipments and 15,000 flights over the next two years.
  • The top three COVID-19 vaccines vying for global distribution – Pfizer, Moderna, and Oxford University-AstraZeneca – have different requirements in terms of the amount of dose, shelf life, and storage temperature. For example, Moderna’s vaccine requires minus 20 degrees Celsius temperature, whereas Pfizer’s vaccine needs around minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Counterpoint_ End to End Smart Logistics Solution for COVID 19 Vaccine Distribution

Local distribution and warehousing

Even at the local level, the same challenges of transportation and storage remain. There is an urgent requirement for pallet-sized cooling boxes embedded with temperature sensors, along with a direct or indirect communication protocol for secure real-time monitoring of the vaccine in transit as well as at the source and destination.

Blockchain and IoT-based solutions  

  1. Blockchain: We have already seen the adoption of blockchain in supply chain management. Walmart is one of the prime examples. It is also a crucial technology for ensuring the success of the COVID-19 vaccine with features such as maintenance of multiple databases, transparency, time-stamping, and authentication.
    • The implementation of blockchain in the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain will ensure the transparency of standards followed at each step by creating an exact copy of the ledger at every node in the network. Blockchain being a decentralized technology, the ledger in the network is public and maintained by all users, giving a transparent view at each level. Anything that needs to be added to the ledger is required to be validated by every node.
    • Blockchain not only improves the supply chain and logistics process but also ensures authentication of the healthcare workers’ identity, maintenance of patient records, and tracking of the treatment aftereffects.
    • Blockchain also acts as a supervisor for healthcare centers to check instances of staffers exploiting their authority or compromising on their responsibility.
  2. Internet of Things: IoT has already played a key role in the digitalization of logistics and supply chain management. The following IoT solutions can strengthen the supply chain for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
    • Apart from using a connected vehicle for tracking, IoT sensors can be embedded in vaccine cooling pallets or boxes along with a communication module to collect and analyze data on light, humidity, and temperature, and transmit it to the vaccine distribution authority.
    • Among all, the temperature sensor will be especially important as the vaccine requires ultra-low temperature (ULT). Many brands are coming up with temperature sensors, like Timestrip and PharmWatch. Timestrip has designed a sensor suitable for temperatures up to minus 70 degrees Celsius. The company is now working towards providing a cost-effective and fast production of the sensor. Some of its customers include 3M, the UK’s NHS, Tesco, Parker Hannifin, Siemens, and Febreze.
  3. Solutions from Blockchain and IoT Synchronization: The vaccine’s distribution can be secured by using scannable barcodes that send data to a blockchain system in the cloud, or a crypto seal that combines NFC chips with blockchain to track and secure the distribution.

Counterpoint_ COVID 19 Vaccine Supply Chain Based on Blockchain

In the last 10 months, the world has experienced the agony that COVID-19 can cause. Researchers and healthcare workers across the globe are running against time to save precious lives. Some COVID-19 vaccines have been cleared for use. But administering them to seven billion people will not be an easy task. Blockchain and IoT-based solutions can be of much help here.

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Blockchain and the Evolution of Digital Currency: APAC Edition (Virtual Event)

Our Research Associate Arushi Chawla will be speaking at the BrightTALK’s virtual event “Blockchain and the Evolution of Digital Currency: APAC Edition”. Join Arushi for a webinar on “Cryptocurrency: Path for Decentralized Economy” on 20th October 2020 at 10:30 a.m. IST.

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E-Commerce Giants Driving Smart Agriculture Adoption in China

Facing stagnating revenues, e-commerce giants, such as Alibaba, Baidu, JD.Com and Tencent are leveraging their AI expertise to modernize agriculture in China

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September 3rd, 2019

Faced with falling productivity, high labour costs and a dwindling and ageing rural workforce, China’s agriculture industry is under severe pressure to feed its expanding population. At the same time, there are demands for better quality food driven by an increasingly affluent middle-class population as well as demands for improved food safety to curb the many food scandals in the country.

As a result, the Chinese government is anxious to modernize the country’s agriculture industry. In its recent 5-year National Strategic Plan for Rural Revitalization, it declared that it had decided to promote use of Smart Agriculture using “the A-B-C-Ds,” i.e. Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud computing and Big Data technology.

China is home to some of the leading AI technology companies in the world, which are heavily supported by the government. Until recently, companies such as Alibaba, Baidu,, Tencent and DJA were experiencing rapid growth rates. With some now facing stagnating revenues, these big tech companies are diversifying and have identified agriculture as an excellent opportunity to leverage their AI technology expertise, while at the same time contributing to the rejuvenation and modernization of a vitally important sector of the economy.

While smart agriculture adoption in North America and Western Europe was initially mostly focused on crop farming, in China, the main focus is livestock farming, particularly pig rearing. China is the largest pig producing country in the world and also the largest consumer of pork. However, pig farming in China is woefully inefficient and Chinese tech companies see an opportunity to use AI-based technologies to drive up efficiencies.

Companies such as Alibaba, Baidu,, Tencent and gaming company Netease are already trialling their own SmartAg AI platforms:

  • Based on its City Brain AI platform, Alibaba recently launched its Agricultural Brain platform, which improves pig husbandry by monitoring individual animals 24/7 using small IoT sensors. In a trial with pig farming company Tequ Group, Alibaba claims to have raised the Pig Per Sow Per Year (PSY) index from 15 to 23 and is targeting a PSY of 25 by 2019, a level on a par with countries such as the US.
  • subsidiary JD Digits, has developed the JD Intelligent Stock Breeding Solution, which uses AI, IoT, robotics and edge computing, and according to the company, delivers better quality pork plus a 30%-50% reduction in pig rearing costs.
  • Netease subsidiary Weiyang is using its parent company’s AI platform to breed non-genetically modified (non-GM), organic speciality black pork which is sold to affluent Chinese consumers.

“Apart from improving farming efficiencies, a major driver behind these initiatives, particularly from the government’s perspective, is to curtail the spread of infectious diseases” said Wei Sun, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research. “The outbreak of the African swine flu in 2018 resulted in the slaughter of more than one million pigs and its effects are still being felt today. By monitoring the pig population on a 24/7 basis, it will be possible to detect diseases much earlier and thus minimize contagion” she added.

Another key objective is to improve food traceability. China has a history of food safety scandals from melamine-tainted eggs, smuggled and out-of-date frozen meat to crops tainted with heavy metals. Alibaba and are exploring ways to secure the food supply chain using blockchain ledgers that record the quantity and transfer of food as well as link products to serial codes and RFID tags.

Meanwhile DJA, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, is focused on developing autonomous spraying drones to reduce fertiliser and pesticide overuse, a problem rife in China, and a major source of environmental pollution.  Its latest agridrone, the massive T16, is equipped with advanced AI machine vision and 3D point cloud location capabilities coupled with an integrated ground radar. This enables extremely precise altitude determination and autonomous routing, even in fog or at night, and enables the drone to spray only when directly above fruit trees rather than while moving between them, thus minimizing environmental pollution.

The big tech companies are also active in developing a smart agriculture ecosystem and are funding an increasing number of start-ups, including Alesca Life, DeepIntell, InnovationAI, McFly, Sanan Bio Sciences, Plenty, Oasis Biotech SmartAHC, Hydro Biotech and Yinkzi Technology.

However, despite this rapidly expanding ecosystem, most of these initiatives are only at the trial stages. Smart agriculture in China faces numerous challenges, which must be overcome before we see widespread adoption. These include the high cost of implementing smart agriculture solutions coupled with the fact that the vast majority of Chinese farms are very small and cannot afford these new technologies.

“With the heavy involvement of the state government, however, we expect that many of the challenges will be overcome in the medium term (5-10 years) and that AI-based smart agriculture, driven by the latest advances in machine vision, deep learning algorithms, intelligent robotics and UAV technologies, will have a significant impact on agriculture in China” said Gareth Owen, Associate Research Director and Counterpoint. “We also expect to see the rapid implementation of other emerging technologies such as blockchain for food source tracing, 5G for real-time data transfer and cloud platforms for data storage and sharing” he added.

Counterpoint Research’s “E-Commerce Giants Driving Smart Agriculture Adoption in China” report provides a complete overview of the latest developments in smart agriculture in China, highlighting the key market players spearheading the application of AI and other emerging SmartAg technologies. It also discusses the key issues and challenges, which must be overcome for smart agriculture to be widely adopted across the China.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high-tech industry.

Analyst contact: 

Gareth Owen

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Top 10 IoT Security and Privacy Trends and Predictions for 2019

2018 was the year of realisation for all players in the IoT ecosystem, including consumers, that security cannot be neglected. This is especially the case for devices that gather and store personal data. Both data security and data privacy will take center stage in 2019. After GDPR, we expect the US will also introduce unified regulations to protect citizens’ data. India is also introducing similar legislation in its IDPR.

Advanced IoT security tools such as Blockchain and AI are capable of securing data at rest and data in flow respectively. However, 2019 will see a slow transition from traditional to advanced IoT security tools with a niche adoption rate.

We expect a significant increase in overall investment and capital expenses in IoT security industry towards securing IoT products, platforms, the cloud, and services.

The following are the top 10 trends and prediction of 2019 :

Threat Escalation in 2019

  • Collaboration and more partnership among hackers and cybercriminals: Hackers have been categorized into different groups such as traditional hackers, ideological hackers, state-sponsored attackers and hackers-for-hire. Going forward we expect these groups will start to overlap and eventually collaborate for ease of operation. Furthermore, we also expect to see some strategic alliances among these groups of hackers which will take advantage of each other’s products and services.
  • Attack-as-a-service (AaaS): Malware-as-a-service and Ransomware-as-a-service are not new concepts. Their adoption was very niche but highly successful. In 2019, we are expecting malware, specifically ransomware, to increasingly use the remote desktop protocol as an entry point for infection. Furthermore, hackers may create and sell pre-attack packages of malware, exploits, botnets, and other services, which will give cybercriminals the option to choose various off-the-shelf products. Irrespective of cybercriminal experience, they can easily launch attacks with these pre-attack packages.
  • ML as the next weapon: In the past few years, we have seen malware using evasion techniques to bypass machine learning engines. One of the recent examples from 2018 was Plucky ransomware that used InnoSetup to package the malware and avoid machine learning detection. Hence, bypassing the machine learning is already on the criminal to-do list. By the end of 2019, we expect hackers to leverage advanced machine learning tools to automate target selection by exploring and exploiting the vulnerabilities to find less secure systems.
  • Data theft is the new cash-cow for Hackers: 2018 had landmark examples for the biggest data breach in the history of mankind, such as Facebook (87+ Million), MyHeritage (92 Million), Under Armour (150 Million), and allegedly 1.1 Billon records from Aadhaar Program (India’s unique identity mission project). In the past few years, both the digital transformation and IoT has pushed more corporate and personal data to the cloud. In 2019, we expect a significant increase in data breaches, especially at the cloud level.
  • Smart home devices and edge devices will be more vulnerable to attack in 2019: Smart home devices are easy targets to attack and deploy ransomware as they record and store personal data and are, generally, less well protected. Furthermore, edge devices are equipped with limited resources, mostly running on elementary operating systems. Hence, these IoT edge devices are unable to provide any self-defence features, such as the creation of a secure zone to protect stored data and embedded software. Edge devices were found to be vulnerable to sync attacks, false data injection, passive attacks, and malicious nodes.

Security Solution to Secure IoT Ecosystem in 2019

Security Solution to Secure IoT Ecosystem in 2019

  • Collaboration and more partnerships among cybersecurity solution providers: Cyber Threat Alliance is one of the best examples of these collaborations that formed to improve the cybersecurity of the global digital ecosystem. These collaborations bring unique resources that bundle the talents and skills of IoT security companies to bring their best solutions together to create more concerted offerings that can not only fight back against malware and botnets but even learn and evolve.
  • Multi-factor authentication and device identity intelligence: Identity is a fundamental component in securing IoT. Secure identification between the device and human or vice versa was one of the past hurdles. Securing identity between device-to-device interactions and avoiding malicious duplicity is the key to securing IoT in 2019. The identity model has shifted from user-centric in traditional IT systems to machine-centric for IoT systems. Furthermore, multifactor authentication and identity intelligence by complementing each other will become the preferred methods to provide IoT security in 2019.
  • ML as Shield: In the last year, the adoption of machine learning in IoT security has increased significantly. Currently, machine learning solutions are often used to monitor activity and act if unusual behaviors are detected. Moreover, machine learning will not only process and analyse data much quicker than traditional tools but also will provide predictive analysis of threats and attacks. This means that breach detection times can be reduced significantly, minimizing the potential disruption. It also means that the information security team can prioritize work more effectively. However, the scope for AI will go beyond monitoring user activity on the system. AI as an IoT security tool will not reach its full potential in 2019, but its use will accelerate.

Security Embedded in MCU with Authentication at Every Level and at Every Layer

  • Chip to cloud, security embedded in hardware: We have already seen the adoption of IoT hardware security features such as a hardware security modules (HSM), Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) and TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module). However, embedding security at the MCU-level to create a secure zone that can extend from the chip to the cloud level by integrating players from both ends of the IoT value chain was one of the most promising solutions. Security at the MCU-level will help solve cloning and counterfeit issues and will also establish secure authentication along with a unique identity. Semiconductor players like Microchip, NXP, Renesas, Cypress, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instrument have already launched different versions of this product type.
  • Increasing demand for security personnel in governments and private sector: GDPR ensured that all organizations directly or indirectly involved with data management concerning EU citizens are obliged to comply with the regulations, irrespective of where they are based. This has created a ripple effect of demand for skilled security personnel among both government and private sector which, in turn, has resulted in increased organizational budgeting for staff and training on data protection. We expect this trend to multiply in 2019.

Key Trends Driving Russian Smartphone Market in 2019

The Russian smartphone market has seen consistent YoY growth over the past few quarters despite a decline in the global smartphone market. This has made it a key country for smartphone OEMs looking to growing in Central and Eastern Europe in CY 2019 and beyond.

Samsung, Huawei and Apple are the three major players, followed by Bright and Quick, Xiaomi, Nokia HMD, etc. The Russian audience is spending on new features and has enough disposable income to buy smartphones.

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor

Despite an emerging smartphone market, there are different variables that are going to be the deciding factor for trade in the Russian market and players should undertake a thorough PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal) analysis before making any move.

Apart from the global smartphone market trends like 5G, foldable phones, punch hole displays, etc., we see the following upcoming trends in the Russian smartphone market:

  1. Increasing Competition: Growth numbers have made the market look attractive and many global players have already announced Russia as a major focus.
    • Chinese smartphone players like Huawei, Xiaomi, Bright and Quick have been continuously focussing on the market and initial expansion has been aggressive.
    • Vingroup, Vietnam’s top company by market value has specifically mentioned Russia as the market it wants to target. Recently, Vingroup has acquired 51% stake in BQ (Spanish smartphone maker) and plans to enter Russia with this partnership.
    • Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia with penetration of more than 55% in the Russian search engine space. It also has its own app for payment, music, maps, taxi and food. Yandex recently unveiled its new smartphone and this is poised to disrupt the smartphone market ecosystem in Russia, giving direct competition to major players. Yandex has been aggressive in marketing and advertising of its phone and, according to its product page, more than 80,000 people have expressed interest in the device in just the last two months. It is expected to be among the top 10 best-selling models in CY 2019, provided Yandex is successful in scaling production.
  1. App Market Trends: The Russian app market is the fifth largest in the world and is still growing quickly. Analysing the app market and understanding market trends is a productive way for OEMs to design smartphones that align with local users’ needs and usage.
  2. Gaming phones: Russia’s gaming market is huge and smartphone players launching phones to tap into this market are expected in 2019. Out of the total apps downloaded from the app market, more than 45% were games and a major driver for app markets’ revenue. In Europe, Russia was ranked no. 1 in the number of games downloaded through apps. Asus has already launched its ROG Phone in Russia and it is expected that other smartphone players will seek to cash-in on this opportunity.
  3. Spending behaviour: Russian smartphone market has seen a change in spending behaviour in smartphones. Price band $30-90 which was the top selling price band in 2Q17 saw a YoY decline of around 8%.

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor

 Price band $90-150 is attracting more buyers with a YoY growth of around 9% since 3Q2018 and is expected to be the top choice for Russians in the coming months.

  1. US Russia Relations: Recently, a chain of events (for example, escalations in the Ukraine conflict) occurred that did not favour US, Russia relations. If the relationships between the two nations are further compromised, US brands such as Apple may come under increased pressure.
  2. Blockchain friendly phones: Russian programmers have a significant presence in crypto currencies and Moscow ranks no. 1 in the number of Initial Coin Offering projects based on the location of their CEOs. Blockchain has proved to be major income source for around 15% of the Blockchain users and this penetration is likely to increase. Blockchain has made an impact in Russia and is now finding new applications over a diverse set of business fields in Russia. This presents a potential opportunity for smartphone players to offer blockchain supporting products such as the HTC Exodus 1.

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