Counterpoint Research is pleased to announce its participation as a Media Partner in DTW23 Ignite where our Associate Director, Mohit Agrawal, will be present. You can schedule a meeting with him to discuss the latest trends in the IoT sector and understand how our leading research and services can help your business.
When: 19-21 September, 2023
Click here (or send us an email at email@example.com) to schedule a meeting with him.
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The entire world is going through digital transformation with connectivity at the center intelligently bridging the edge-cloud gap. The data emanating at the edge, whether it is telemetry data from the sensors or location, has been pivotal in adding intelligence, context, and analytics to the connected asset to enable quick, accurate, informed, and timely decision-making.
If we look at the entire IoT or location value chain, it spans from the endpoint/edge (possibly a device/sensor/gateway) to the network infrastructure, enabling connectivity between the edge and the software or API-driven cloud and analytics platforms. While connectivity is the glue, location also provides important context to the asset and the data emanating from the asset.
WATCH: Qualcomm Aware Platform Explained
Power of connectivity and location
We have extensively researched and talked about the IoT market and the importance of end-to-end control, from chipsets, modules, and devices to connectivity to the platforms, including both IoT and location. The IoT landscape, which has been fragmented, is now undergoing consolidation as there is a significant mismatch between the value being created and captured. However, the success in IoT lies in a player which can be integrated and offer end-to-end capabilities while also remaining open and flexible to work with different partners across the value chain at the same time. This should allow the player to create and capture maximum value opportunities for everyone and accelerate the digital transformation journeys of different companies.
Qualcomm has been the leading and largest “connectivity” chipset provider in the IoT and automotive segments, shipping hundreds of millions of chips every year. While connectivity and IoT are natural to Qualcomm, the San Diego-based systems company has also realized the importance of blending the power of location and connectivity. Therefore, Qualcomm has acquired its long-time partner Skyhook, a Boston-based company that has been a leader in the development of location technologies integrating into the devices, and PoLTE, a Dallas-based company focusing on cellular-based accurate positioning technology for mobile devices to IoT applications such as fleet management and asset tracking. Driving location-based intelligence right from the chipset via APIs reduces a lot of integration-related difficulties for companies trying to connect their assets to the cloud securely and seamlessly.
WATCH: Qualcomm Aware Platform Use Cases Demo
Qualcomm Aware SaaS platform – API-driven chip to cloud connectivity
With its important position in the IoT value chain and leveraging its location and connectivity expertise, Qualcomm recently launched Qualcomm Aware, an API-first platform offering secure and out-of-the-box chip-to-cloud integration. Qualcomm is doing this via an intelligent software on top of the chip to help solution makers optimize, configure, and transmit location and telemetry data from the edge to the cloud simply via APIs integrating with partner solutions.
Initial capabilities: Location data, connectivity management, security and more
The Qualcomm Aware solution can be tailored to specific verticals, applications or use cases. It comprises of following capabilities:
• Location data GNSS, cellular, Wi-Fi, hybrid location, geofencing, etc
• Power-optimized, configurable hardware and software components
• Security – edge to cloud, Silicon Root of Trust, provisioning, etc
• Connectivity management – cellular, roaming, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc
• Devices – With Qualcomm Aware low-power embedded chipsets
In our opinion, the platform for a particular use case, such as asset tracker, might offer the full solution to start with. But when the need to scale up arises, the platform will have to become more modular so that the end customers or system integrators have more options to choose from. For example, just leverage location APIs or with connectivity management or the off-the-shelf Qualcomm Aware partner devices or not.
Initially targeted use cases: Asset tracking
Since it blends location and connectivity well, asset tracking is the lowest-hanging opportunity for Qualcomm Aware.
Qualcomm has partnered with Quectel, Ikotek, Thundercomm, and others to build Qualcomm Aware-ready asset trackers to help customers kickstart with the offering as the previous-generation chipset-based devices cannot be upgraded to become Qualcomm Aware compatible. While the solution comes with bundled connectivity (via partner), Qualcomm does not aim to become an MVNO and step on its partners’ toes. For the mapping, routing and location data, Qualcomm is partnering with Mapbox and TomTom in this initial phase. Larger players such as HERE and Google are expected to be on the partnership roadmap eventually.
Therefore, transport and logistics is the initial target segment, followed by retail, manufacturing, construction and utilities.
Success will be in partnerships and moving to self-serve model
Qualcomm is thus expanding its capabilities and offerings to become a strong enabler with a platform play in this high-potential, fragmented but consolidating market. The timing of the launch might be questionable for many considering the ongoing consolidation, but we believe this is the best time to enter the market with a unique and highly scalable platform to invigorate this market, especially with a strong position in the edge market.
To be successful with a SaaS approach, being open and striking the right partnerships is paramount. It is great to see Qualcomm striking partnerships across the value chain, from module and device manufacturers, software and middleware players, and location and mapping vendors to system integrators and cloud players. Qualcomm will have to invest in and empower dedicated pre-sales, consulting and post-sales teams to make headway into these markets. Moving to a self-serve model would be critical to further scaling the SaaS business.
Key takeaways: Chip-to-cloud partner-driven IoT and location platform approach
• No vendor other than Qualcomm enjoys a strong position when it comes to the edge of the market.
• As intelligence moves to the edge, a secure edge-to-cloud connectivity offering can help simplify integration, portability and provisioning of IoT solutions, catalyzing the IoT ecosystem.
• Qualcomm Aware helps the company broaden its portfolio beyond hardware to a recurring and scalable software/services business, which investors and partners would welcome.
• Further, Qualcomm Aware can help crack the significant but complex and fragmented IoT market to make a play in the $700-billion connected intelligent edge opportunity.
• The platform’s future success will depend on how Qualcomm expands its partner ecosystem across verticals and geographies while also moving to a self-serve model.
At the first full-fledged CES event after the pandemic, the excitement was palpable. The event did not disappoint in terms of the variety of announcements across the internet of things (IoT) spectrum. Our teams, both on-ground and online, tracked over 260 announcements made by over 240 companies covering a range of segments across consumer, enterprise and industrial.
Devices formed the most popular category, with three out of every five announcements relating to this segment. As expected, the consumer and smart home sectors took center stage, but it was intriguing to see new launches in industry segments such as agriculture. Additionally, smart home, metaverse, augmented reality, healthcare and robotics were among the most talked about segments, attracting large crowds.
Here are the top 10 IoT announcements from this year’s CES, according to Counterpoint analysts:
MediaTek introduced the Genio 700 IoT chipset targeting industrial, smart home and smart retail applications. This chipset will be available by Q2 2023. MediaTek also showcased Wi-Fi 7-supported products like gateways, mesh routers, televisions, streaming devices, smartphones, tablets and laptops partnering with TP-Link, Lenovo, Hisense, ASUS, BUFFALO INC, Skyworks, AMD, Qorvo, LitePoint and MAC MLO among others.
MediaTek is slowly diversifying its offerings beyond smartphones. The availability of products with superior capabilities and increased partnerships will help MediaTek increase its footprint in the IoT market.
2. Smart Home: TP-Link expands Tapo smart home products
TP-Link unveiled new products under its Tapo line of smart home devices. These new additions include cameras, a doorbell camera, a smart video door lock, robot vacuums and a smart hub home connection center. Besides, the company also launched its first Matter-certified smart plugs, smart switches, smart outlet extenders and smart bulbs. The launch of these products at CES 2023 highlights TP-Link’s focus on expanding and diversifying its offerings in the smart home market.
The company’s adoption of the Matter protocol for its Tapo and Kasa lines of smart home products shows its commitment to making smart home technology more accessible and user-friendly.
In addition to the smart home products, TP-Link also showcased Wi-Fi 7-supported router and gateway solutions for use in homes, enterprises and ISPs. The integration of Wi-Fi 7 will improve the gaming experience, as well as increase productivity in enterprise applications.
3. Asset Tracking: Pod introduces paper-thin tracker with SODAQ, Lufthansa
Pod Group, in partnership with SODAQ and Lufthansa Industry, has developed a paper-thin smart label tracking device that utilizes low-power cellular connectivity (LTE-M) for a battery life of up to six months. This sustainable, eco-friendly device uses alkaline batteries instead of lithium and has the potential to revolutionize the tracking and logistics industry by improving supply chain efficiency and reducing operational costs.
Similar efforts by SODAQ with Vodafone and Bayer utilizing NB-IoT technology have been observed, but the use of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) may be more beneficial as it targets a wider range of telecommunications operators.
Bosch Group subsidiary Bosch Sensortec presented a variety of new sensors at CES 2023. These offerings include an AI-enabled smart sensor system, magnetometer, barometric pressure sensor, and an air quality sensor. These sensors demonstrate advancements in power efficiency, accuracy and compact size, and aim to enhance the user experience by tracking personal health and fitness, providing accurate data and prolonging battery life.
Bosch has been a leading manufacturer of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors since 1995 and has produced over 18 billion units to date. It is also investing in quantum sensors, which can provide measurements that are significantly more precise than current MEMS sensors and enable more accurate diagnosis of neurological diseases. Additionally, the company is developing angular rate sensors that use the nuclear magnetic resonance of noble gas atoms and are optically pumped. These could prove to be highly precise and stable for navigation applications. Bosch believes that sensors will play a key role in IoT and continues to make investments in this area.
Quectel is partnering with Skylo to integrate satellite connectivity into its 5G-ready BG95x/BG77x series of LPWA modules. This hybrid connectivity solution improves network coverage and makes it ideal for a variety of applications, such as trackers, wearables, smart cities and smart meters. Low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites are going to be a key for the non-terrestrial networks (NTN) coming up in 3GPP Rel17/18 in addition to the high-altitude platform system (HAPS).
Quectel also launched the AG59X series of automotive-grade 5G modules based on Qualcomm’s SA525M platform to support autonomous driving. The company has strong partnerships with Chinese automakers such as Li Auto, Nio and BYD, and this module will further strengthen its efforts to increase share in the automotive connectivity market.
6. AR/VR: Thundercomm unveils XR2 VR HMD, 5100 AR glasses and smart vending machine
Thundercomm, a joint venture between Thundersoft and Qualcomm, unveiled a VR HMD solution based on the Snapdragon XR2 platform and AR glasses based on the Snapdragon W5 platform. These products will not only provide flagship experience but also offer low power consumption, higher resolution and more wear comfort. The AR/VR space is heating up with the increased participation from leading technology and smartphone players such as Meta, Apple, HTC and Google. However, an early entry can be beneficial for Thundercomm.
The newly launched smart vending machine will help increase operational efficiencies for retailers. Moreover, this solution will improve the shopping experience and further extend retailers’ reach. Thundercomm is expanding its product lines to capture maximum value from both the consumer and enterprise IoT markets.
Autel Robotics has unveiled a new drone, the EVO Max 4T, which is capable of a variety of applications such as autonomous navigation, semi-autonomous flight missions, firefighting, and inspections. It is equipped with three high-quality cameras, capable of capturing footage from a distance of 1.2 km. Autel has also released the Dragonfish NEST infrastructure, which supports automated eVTOL systems, and the EVO NEST infrastructure, which can operate in all weather conditions.
Drones and eVTOLs will see higher adoption in the future with better efficiency in power consumption, security improvements and better regulatory compliances. These innovations will help Autel increase its presence in the enterprise market and remain competitive with companies like DJI.
8. Industrial IoT: ZVISION partners NVIDIA to improve industrial sensing
ZVISION, a provider of solid-state MEMS LiDAR solutions, is working with NVIDIA to use its robotics simulation platform Isaac Sim to develop advanced robot sensing capabilities and provide high-performance LiDAR solutions.
In Industry 4.0, robotics and simulation will play a key role. Its partnership with NVIDIA will allow ZVISION to expand its applications beyond vehicles, while also reducing costs and speeding up time-to-market for companies undergoing digital transformation. ZVISION offers both short- and long-range LiDAR options that can be tailored to various applications.
9. Platform: Tuya pushes PaaS 2.0, Cube for digital transformation
Tuya officially launched PaaS 2.0 to develop personalized solutions to fulfill global customers’ demands for “product differentiation and independent control”. For private cloud customers, it also unveiled Cube, an enterprise-level IoT platform deployment solution.
PaaS 2.0 is a unique innovation that can assist customers in reducing R&D costs and increasing product competitiveness. Tuya is focusing on public and enterprise cloud applications which are dominated by big cloud players like Alibaba cloud and Tencent cloud.
10. Healthcare: OMRON launches blood pressure monitor with ECG
OMRON introduced a new upper-arm blood pressure monitor with built-in ECG capabilities. This device aims to facilitate the early detection of heart disease by combining blood pressure monitoring and ECG technology. Utilizing home-monitored data, healthcare professionals will be able to provide early treatment and detect Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) at an early stage.
The company also announced the expansion of its digital healthcare apps with new features, such as the Personal Heart Health Coach and the Care Team within the OMRON Connect app. These new features will utilize AI technology to analyze vital data and provide patients with personalized guidance and exercise advice. OMRON’s innovative solution, leveraging technologies like AI, ML and IoT, will help healthcare professionals to better understand patient data through analysis.
CES 2023 has provided ample food for thought for industry executives. Each of the announcements made at the event has significant implications for the direction of the industry. For example, the satellite-related announcements made by chipset and module players could help IoT companies focus on new use cases. Additionally, with Wi-Fi 7 becoming mainstream and Matter-certified home products being rolled out, we can expect to see a significant uptick in demand for smart home products. These developments and more continue to shape the future of IoT and solidify the role technology plays in our daily lives. With more innovation, the possibilities are endless and we are excited to see how the industry will continue to evolve.
In recent times, Telit has acquired cellular IoT businesses from Thales and Mobilogix. The IoT module market has started consolidating and we expect to see a few more deals in the coming months. In August, we also saw Semtech acquiring Sierra Wireless to offer complete chip-to-cloud solutions to cover the entire IoT value chain. The back-to-back acquisitions by Telit show how it is trying to become an integrated player. With the Mobilogix acquisition, Telit can offer modules, connectivity, security and management platform to design and manufacturing services. It means Telit will act as a one-stop solution provider for its customers. Here, we will try to analyze what these acquisitions mean to Telit and how they will impact the IoT industry.
Thales is merging its cellular IoT module business into Telit to form a new entity called Telit Cinterion. Thales will own a 25% stake in the newly formed entity and offer SIM technology and security services for IoT modules.
China dominates the global cellular IoT module market by taking more than 55% share. International players are struggling to compete in the operator- and government-driven China IoT module market.
After its deal with Telit, Thales will enjoy less distraction from its module business and will be able to focus on its core business which includes software, security and services. Thales will still continue to provide eSIM services where it is a market leader.
Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Share by Vendor, Q1 2022
The newly formed company will have a common R&D platform which will help save resources. In the coming times, we may see Telit Cinterion focusing on the IoT platform business to earn revenue on a recurring basis.
Thales has a strong position in Europe and Japan, whereas Telit has a good presence in North America and Latin America. This complementary relationship supports their dream of becoming the #1 cellular IoT player in the international market. Telit-Thales is already leading in the international IoT module market in terms of revenue. With this merger, Telit Cinterion may overtake Quectel in the international market in terms of shipments in the coming years.
Telit has already divested its automotive business in 2018, but Thales has a good customer base for some European automakers. How the joint venture treats this automotive business will be keenly watched. There is ample opportunity in the automotive business with growing connected and autonomous mobility. With the introduction of 5G, Telit may focus on the automotive segment as the automotive module business contributes higher revenue due to a higher average selling price (ASP).
In recent times, Telit has done a great job launching many new modules. This helps Telit to target new regions depending on available technologies and provides an option for customers to select a product as per their requirements.
Telit moved to acquire Mobilogix, a decade-old end-to-end IoT hardware, software and cloud solution provider to fulfill its ambition of becoming a more integrated player and one of the largest end-to-end white-label solution providers outside China.
Mobilogix’s comprehensive device engineering expertise and resources, which focus on optimizing the specifications for EMS and ODMs, and attainment of regulatory approvals and carrier certification, will help Telit provide solutions to customers with reduced cost and complexity, and faster time to market.
Furthermore, Mobilogix is known for its expertise in customized IoT projects, which provide businesses with solutions in various application verticals that are ready to certify and mass produce. This will help Telit expand its focus in growing segments such as telematics, micro-mobility, healthcare, construction and agriculture.
Chinese module vendors are trying to become integrated players to capture maximum share across the IoT value chain. Telit is also trying to adopt such a model with these recent acquisitions. For example, Quectel is trying to increase its footprint in the North American market with the establishment of a new ODM company, named Ikotek. Similarly, Fibocom established a new ODM company in 2019 for global customers through applications such as gateway, payment terminal, telematics and industrial applications. Telit is slowly becoming vertically integrated and trying to revive back its glory days in the IoT module market.
Solutions from the combined entity will provide a great choice for customers who want to diversify and do not want to depend on the Chinese ecosystem, and need tightly integrated solution expertise from one provider.
If Telit wants to compete head-to-head with Chinese module giants like Quectel and Fibocom, it has to develop an effective business strategy for each international market.
Mobilogix has a wide range of portfolios comprising custom IoT projects and solution design services based on three basic architectures, namely beacon, power and battery-operated architecture. Apart from this, it also offers cloud platform integration and custom firmware, which will add value to Telit’s portfolio not only from cellular but also from BLE beacon hardware designs.
Mobilogix has a global presence across key regions such as the US, China, India and Latin America. Its presence in China and emerging markets like India will help Telit grow its presence in these key regions.
Telit is becoming a more integrated player with these acquisitions and moving up the stack to become an end-to-end solution provider. The convenient and comprehensive solutions will add more value to its customers’ IoT project deployments and will be concurrent with its long-term vision of becoming the #1 international module player in terms of both shipments and revenue.
The acquisitions will help Telit provide solutions to customers from the design/manufacturing of hardware to cloud and security with regional diversification. This will help Telit cater to more application segments, thus improving both revenue and profitability.
However, industry experts will be keenly watching the entire positioning, offering, strategy and business model, which are changing in the IoT space as you need to be a large-scale and end-to-end player to succeed even though it is a blue ocean out there.
Counterpoint will be attending the Cloud Native Telco’s Forum 2022 on 24th August.
Our Research Vice President, Neil Shah, will be moderating the inaugural session at the Cloud Native Telco’s Forum 2022. You can schedule a meeting with him to discuss the latest trends in the technology, media and telecommunication sector and understand how our leading research and services can help your business.
Click here (or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a meeting with him.
Session Theme: “Cloud Native in India – It’s time to Operationalise” Day and Date: Wednesday, 24th August 2022 Time: 9:30am – 11:30am IST Venue: Zenith Ballroom, The St. Regis Hotel, Mumbai
India’s Connected Vehicle event is back offline after two years. Held in Bengaluru from May 4 to May 6, the event saw attendance from the chipset, NAD module, telematics, cybersecurity and mapping domains, besides regulatory bodies and communication service providers within the connected and autonomous vehicles ecosystem. Analysts from Counterpoint Research were also present. Here are their key takeaways from the sessions held at the event.
Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric and Smart Mobility
India is lagging in connected car penetration (17%) compared to the global market (43%). However, the country is also preparing for a shift towards smart electric mobility and focussing on local manufacturing. Such events will help Indian ecosystem players to remain updated on the latest in the field around the world and prepare themselves for the coming transformation.
5G Automotive Association, Tata Elxsi, Dell and what3words participated in this session and discussed the need for C-V2X technology for better communication, opportunities for ecosystem players from connected mobility, a paradigm shift from hardware to software-centric approach and a unique mapping solution that uses three keywords.
Shifting Future of Automotive Industry to Top Gear with Connected Mobility
The rising demand for safety and comfort features is helping to increase connected car penetration. We expect more than 70% of cars will be connected by 2025 in the global market and one in four cars will have 5G connectivity. However, connectivity penetration will be lower than 40% in India by 2025.
This session mainly focussed on safety during driving, challenges in handling data generated from vehicles, creating actionable insights from telemetry data, and collaborative effort among OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers to make this transition smooth. Intel, Zeliot, VE Commercial Vehicles and Danlaw shared their understanding of this transition.
Driving Towards Connected, Secure, Autonomous & Electric Mobility
In the future, cars will be driven by software. We have already witnessed smartphone players such as Foxconn and Xiaomi entering this market. Data will be the new fuel and nearly 30% of the automotive market value will come from software and services. Moreover, electronic content in a car will rise with increasing smart electric mobility penetration.
According to Counterpoint’s latest research, India’s automotive electronics market will triple by 2027, driven by rising income levels and increasing customer preference for in-vehicle digital experience.
Collaborative efforts of all ecosystem players, whether OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, regulatory bodies, system integrators or service providers, are important for a successful transition. The Indian government is also working to come up with AIS189 and AIS190 standards for connected vehicle security. Continental and Bosch share the same view on this topic and think a collaborative effort will be the key to connected mobility success in India. Secure Things highlighted how our vehicles are becoming more prone to safety issues and hacking. Both hardware and software level security will be required as preventive measures.
Emerging Technologies – Riding the Next Wave of Connected & Autonomous Mobility
Connected mobility is undergoing dramatic changes. Earlier, we used to connect smartphones to a car via Bluetooth or cable. Today, most cars come with embedded connectivity. In the future, cars will be able to communicate with other vehicles, pedestrians, networks, infrastructure, grid and home.
The upcoming connected and autonomous era will induce a huge influx of data for which substantial storage will be required. We expect Level 4 cars will require more than 1TB of data storage by 2025. Moreover, 30% of cars sold globally will support Level 2 or above. Western Digital is working on automotive storage products. It believes that one day storage will be a key feature at the time of selecting a vehicle. During this session, Bosch introduced Mobility Cloud Platform and Mobility Marketplace. This platform can support other IoT applications such as industrial and enterprise.
Download the full analysis from event sessions below:
ADAS – A Game Changer for Safe and Autonomous Driving
MG Motors introduced ADAS in India for the first time back in 2019 through its L1 SUV Hector. Even as ADAS technology is rapidly gaining acceptance in the global market, India is not that far behind. Currently, L2+ autonomy is being offered in most premium vehicles. With the changing landscape of vehicle architecture, the incorporation of ADAS will be easier and more cost-effective.
Windriver and Hexagon showed how the changing vehicle architecture will benefit system integration and deployment of autonomy. While Windriver has expertise in test and analysis of vehicle architecture and software and ADAS system, Hexagon helps deploy autonomy across sectors and platforms by blending the digital and physical worlds. Hexagon uses ML algorithms to create a simulation through well-captured surround photos. The simulation helps understand how a situation will look with automation, and also increases the accuracy of the automated process.
Shaping the Future of Mobility with IoT, Connectivity & Sustainability
The mobility roadmap is hugely dependent on connectivity. OEMs are constantly innovating to make the journey more pleasurable with better IVI system, better navigation, CV2X and ultimately autonomy, which will not be possible if a proper vehicular connection is not established. According to our research, global cellular IoT module shipments are expected to cross 1.2 billion units by 2030 with a CAGR of 12%. 5G will be the fastest-growing (60%) technology, followed by 4G Cat 1 bis, during 2022-2030. Among cellular IoT modules, global NAD module shipments are expected to reach 80 million by 2025, growing at 14% CAGR from 2021, with one out of every five connected cars projected to have embedded 5G connectivity by then.
Leading frontline companies like Cavli Wireless and MediaTek have shared some details about how they plan to increase connectivity across the automotive industry. As the future bets on autonomy, connectivity benefits are not just limited to in-vehicle internet browsing and autonomy but also extend to vehicle accident prevention, better navigation, precise tracking and more. In short, increased connectivity will enable a sustainable digital ecosystem that, if used properly, holds immense development potential.
Intelligent Transportation System to Promote Safety & Improve Mobility
Increased vehicle connectivity has made transportation safer, more reliable and timelier. Along with changing architecture and increased integration of improved software, the addition of newer technologies is becoming easier.
Intellicar, Skoda, and IBM took the stage to showcase how intelligent transport solutions could tackle some of the general and critical issues of the industry. Intellicar has a solution line from hardware and firmware customization to a low-latency data directory. Skoda showed how intelligent systems can reduce road accidents. IBM provided a global overview and discussed its strength as a software developer and system integrator.
Protecting Software-defined Vehicles with Cybersecurity Solutions
With the increased use of software and internet, present-day cars are no less than a computer and like every other computer, cars are also exposed to cyber threats like malware. If the system used in vehicles is not properly protected, a lot of damage can happen, including loss of life. Therefore, strong and effective anti-virus protection with an improved firewall is much required.
Escrypt, a cyber threat protection company, was of the view that vehicle data safety could be ensured through blockchain-based communication systems, smart gateways, cyber digital twin, AI-based detectors and other encryption systems.
Charting the Future of Connected Mobility with Automotive Telematics
The growing automotive sector holds a lot of potential for the development of new and smart technologies. The transition from conventional vehicles to EVs is also paving the road toward a sustainable connected future. Technologies that were limited to certain fields earlier are finding their way into the expanding automotive space. The use of security systems, blockchain, data tokenization and other platform-based and protocol-based technologies and services is penetrating the automotive space, making the sector more flexible, versatile and user-friendly.
Emerging technologies such as ADAS/AD, in-vehicle connectivity, upgraded cybersecurity for the software-defined vehicles, electric vehicles and connected vehicles are taking centre stage as the automotive industry undergoes a paradigm shift. The automotive supply chain is dynamically changing as well, with OEMs making huge investments and starting to adopt digital services to remain future-proof and not cede revenue monetizing opportunities to technology companies. Apart from traditional auto OEMs, the involvement of non-automotive tech companies has been increasing in this space. The future of the automotive sector will be heavily dependent on digital technology. Due to traditional auto OEMs’ lack of expertise in digitalization, non-automotive companies are partnering with them to secure a market share in this growing space.
Qualcomm has inked a deal with Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest automaker. Stellantis controls a large number of iconic brands including Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot, Chrysler and Maserati. Stellantis will power its new vehicles with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis, which Qualcomm introduced during the IAA Mobility show in 2021. Snapdragon Digital Chassis, with its modular approach, enables automakers to build connected and smart vehicles, and meet the ever-growing demand for safer and more intelligent cars.
Digital Chassis is a set of open and scalable cloud-connected platforms to improve safety and the in-vehicle experience. It includes:
Snapdragon Car-to-Cloud: a platform that allows automakers to generate new revenue streams by introducing new services, features, and performance upgrades to the vehicle.
Snapdragon Auto Connectivity: provides a host of advanced connectivity solutions, where Qualcomm is the leader globally like 5G, C-V2X, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/GNSS, etc for connecting the car to the cloud, internet and the infrastructure.
Snapdragon Ride: offers advanced driver assistance and automated driving solutions which is further enhanced with the recent acquisition of Arriver.
Snapdragon Cockpit: allows automakers to provide a more immersive in-car experience with enhanced graphics, visuals and intuitive human-machine interactions
The multi-year partnership
Stellantis will use Snapdragon Digital Chassis across all its 14 brands to provide smarter vehicles and a more immersive in-vehicle experience. The technology will be introduced in vehicles from the year 2024 and starts with the luxury brand Maserati.
In December 2021, Stellantis announced its plans to develop software-based platforms powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and will deploy them in vehicles from 2024. There will be three platforms: STLA Brain, STLA SmartCockpit and STLA AutoDrive.
The STLA Brain is the new electrical/electronic (E/E) and software architecture for new vehicles. It is fully cloud-integrated to provide Over-the-Air (OTA) capabilities. STLA SmartCockpit is built on top of the STLA Brain and offers AI-based applications like navigation, voice assistance, and in-vehicle payments. The STLA AutoDrive platform provides level 3 autonomous driving technology, which Stellantis is co-developing with BMW.
The STLA SmartCockpit is designed with Amazon and Foxconn to deliver a connected and personalized in-vehicle experience and Qualcomm’s Digital Chassis will be integral to SmartCockpit. The Snapdragon Cockpit Platform will power an advanced touch and voice-controlled multi-display cockpit, with rich graphics, high-quality audio, and clear voice communications. The Snapdragon Cockpit Platform will bring additional levels of digital intelligence to enhance the STLA Brain, improving convenience and safety features, including a personal assistant, OTA updates, vehicle performance upgrades, diagnostics and repair, and more.
Qualcomm is cementing its position as a leading technology provider in the automotive industry with this deal. Its automotive segment revenue is growing strongly; its automotive design-win pipeline increased to $13 billion in 2021 from $3 billion in 2017.
Stellantis will be able to bring one uniform cockpit platform and 5G telematics solutions across all 14 of its brands.
Working directly with the chipmaker, Stellantis can closely monitor the supply chain to avoid, or limit, supply-chain disruptions such as the ones the auto industry has experienced recently.
Since the launch of Snapdragon Digital Chassis, Qualcomm has signed partnerships with major global players including Renault, GM, Ferrari, Honda, and Volvo.
Major wins so far have come from the digital cockpit and connectivity solutions, while a few (GM and BMW) are for the Snapdragon ride (ADAS/AD) platform. With the acquisition of Arriver, Qualcomm is likely to sign more deals with Tier-1s and automakers in the future to expand its automotive pipeline.
As the corporate world experiences an accelerated digital transformation owing to fundamental changes in workplace and consumer habits, most enterprises are adopting the cloud to pave the way for this change.
However, choosing to grow with the cloud comes with its own set of challenges that makes skeptics out of believers. Earlier, it was a binary choice between a public cloud and a private cloud (or expansion of the on-premises infrastructure). On the other hand, in a hybrid cloud, the benefits of public cloud, namely lower TCO (total cost of ownership), agility and higher speed, get married with the security, compliance and on-demand geographical data access provided by a private cloud.
The use cases for hybrid cloud go way beyond the obvious. Apart from the apparent adopters like telecom operators and the gaming industry due to the low latency it offers, we see financial institutions and media entertainment houses, which struggle with strict compliance and data residency rules, adopting hybrid cloud. This enables them to innovate at a higher pace while still complying with regional data laws.
The hybrid cloud ecosystem is undergoing critical changes, with major public cloud providers offering customized solutions for those opting for hybrid cloud deployments. The emergence of Hybrid Cloud as a Service in the past two years has morphed into a more sophisticated bundle of offerings to accommodate varied workloads while driving cloud adoption. We expect a majority of enterprises to move to this medium in a multi-cloud environment in the next three years.
Cloud providers are increasingly focusing on multiple vendor partnerships to offer full-stack solutions that boost interoperability. This need for a symbiotic relationship is driven by the fact that the security and privacy of data is the most important resource while evaluating IT infrastructure. Therefore, the gaps in the public cloud are seemingly filled with hybrid cloud solutions.
Some recent industry examples include IBM’s acquisition of RedHat, HPE’s partnership with Nutanix, VMWare Cloud on AWS, Netapp with Equinix, and Istio–Google partnership with Cisco. These partnerships are driven by the confluence of the following trends prevailing in the industry:
Accelerated rate of 5G adoption: According to Counterpoint estimates, in Q1 2021, every one out of three smartphones sold was 5G enabled. In evolved markets like the US, Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, the sales were past the 50% mark and adoption levels nearing 80%.
As the emerging economies embrace 5G, the onslaught of data generated will push telcos to turn to hybrid cloud infrastructure to quickly meet the rising demand and region-specific data compliance agreements.
Rise of AI and ML workloads: AI-specific workloads have increased considerably in the past two years. AI/ML workloads require modern IT infrastructure to glean insights from them. It is evidenced by the rise of AI/ML as-a-Service segment in major cloud providers’ portfolios. As the enterprises focus on application development to support product releases enabled by AI insights, the focus shifts from IT infra handling to DevOps Productivity. The hybrid cloud enables the enterprises to focus on the application while taking away the pain of being a Data Center Manager!
Edge compute: The unprecedented volumes of data generated at the edge are accelerated by 5G and are outpacing the traditional compute infrastructure. Real-time data analysis has transitioned from ‘should have’ to ‘must have’ for the enterprises. Counterpoint estimates that IoT shipments have increased ~25% in the last two years. We see cloud providers increasingly offering specialized Edge services – AWS IoT Greengrass, Azure IoT, IBM Edge Computing, HPE IoT and many more. In fact, nowadays almost every player has a service catering to Edge compute.
Companies are increasingly adopting this ‘best of both worlds’ solution called the hybrid cloud, which drives their IT and business priorities. We believe that this trend will accelerate even further as 5G penetrates globally and enterprises reach turnaround points in their digital transformation journey.
The interesting thing to look forward to as 2021 rolls into its latter half will be the introduction of Specific Workloads aaS (as a service) at Edge and the offerings of hybrid cloud supporting multi-cloud environment.
The recently-concluded edition of the annual Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), where the video game industry gets together and showcases the latest and greatest upcoming game titles, had many key announcements. Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming announcements demonstrated its ambitions to build out its cloud gaming offerings and services. Another console giant, Nintendo, announced two new cloud-based games for the Nintendo Switch. Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Google’s Stadia and Amazon’s Luna announced more additions to their libraries. However, all these announcements were dwarfed by Microsoft’s lofty goals for cloud gaming.
Current cloud gaming efforts
There are already multiple cloud gaming experiences available, each catering to slightly different consumer groups. Nvidia’s GeForce Now enables PC players to stream their PC games on different iOS and Android devices. Then there are exclusive cloud-based platforms such as Google Stadia and Amazon Luna which enable you to play games on your browser, streaming stick, and certain Android and now even iOS devices (for Stadia). Lastly, console makers such as Sony, Nintendo and Xbox have their own cloud-based offerings. PlayStation Now is the most traditional approach, allowing subscribers to stream older PS2, PS3 and PS4 games on demand on their latest consoles and Windows PCs. Nintendo has a cloud streaming service for the Nintendo Switch, called Nintendo Cloud Streaming, which enables players to run full games on their Switch that they are able to purchase from the eShop. It is the most nascent cloud offering, having only four titles so far. Microsoft’s cloud gaming service Xbox Cloud Gaming comes as an added benefit with its monthly Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Formerly known as Project xCloud, this cloud gaming service enables streaming of over 260 titles to various devices. There are various other cloud gaming providers as well.
Shadow (which just got acquired by Jezby Cloud) offers a cloud computing service that enables subscribers to have access to a high-end computer in the cloud that they can use for gaming or other processor demanding applications. Other players like Blacknut and Boosteroid specialize purely in video games streamed from the cloud. The market itself has slowly been consolidating. Hatch, which specialized in mobile cloud gaming, shuttered its offices in 2020 despite having early promising deals with carriers such as AT&T. Jump on This, another smaller cloud gaming provider specializing in indie-games, also ceased operations in 2020.
Microsoft’sE3 announcements and follow-ups
Microsoft spoke at length about its vision for cloud gaming, and it didn’t stop at selling consoles. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which retails for $15 per month and is essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet of games) enables subscribers to stream video games through web browsers now, which gives Microsoft much farther reach as it can be used on iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads and Macs through browser support for Safari and Chrome. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will also launch in Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Japan later this year.
Microsoft is further expanding its reach to more actual screens, as it plans to integrate directly into internet-connected TVs by working with TV manufacturers. It is also working on its own streaming device to enable cloud gaming on any display. Lastly, Microsoft is upgrading its data server racks to Xbox Series X servers to improve the streaming experience.
The server update went live just a week after the E3 announcements. Now, over 260 games can be played with the new Series X server blades enabling faster loading times, higher refresh rates and more graphics-related options. Not to be outdone, Microsoft has also hired Google Stadia design director Kim Swift to be a part of Xbox Game Studio Publishing to help build partnerships with independent studios for new cloud games.
These are by far the biggest announcements Microsoft has made on cloud gaming. With an aim to reach 3 billion players, the company is first integrating cloud gaming more into its core competency, i.e. consoles. Many products such as Google Stadia and Amazon Luna are using cloud gaming as a standalone model as they see this as the future of gaming. However, there are still issues of latency and connectivity that make cloud gaming cumbersome at times.
What Microsoft is doing is building the foundation for a future where cloud gaming will be the center of its strategy. For now, it is utilizing the technology and features of cloud gaming to bolster its console play. For example, it allows consumers to first try out a game via the cloud before purchasing and downloading the full version for the console. Cloud gaming will certainly continue to grow and improve on performance.
2021 may be a breakout year for cloud gaming, especially with current component shortages limiting the supply of consoles and other tech gadgets. 5G can be another driver for cloud gaming despite previous false starts. Stadia has previously partnered with Verizon 5G Home to offer Stadia Premier Edition, including a Stadia controller for free for three months, in 2020. In June 2021, AT&T began offering Stadia Pro for six months to new 5G unlimited wireless subscribers. The hardest part of these subscription offerings is providing a demonstrable value-add for consumers to continue paying for the subscription once the free period ends. 2021 looks to be the most promising time for these cloud efforts to become sticky and show growth.
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