August 2020 IoT News

By Pilgrim - August 13, 2020

This is my 17th monthly update. The hottest Service Monitoring topics from our customers this month are:

Speaking of Availability, analysts Delta-EE just documented the explosive growth forecast for EV charging across UK & Europe, and quoted a 2019 BP-sponsored study which concludes that "Availability of charging points" is the #2 factor stopping customers from buying EVs, after cost - see page 17 of this Systra study.

As Volkswagen open-up mass orders for their ID.3, our customers POD Point announce they've EV-enabled the 200th Tesco supermarket store, in collaboration with VW, and in the first of their new video series, VW explain how their EV financing goes way beyond the VW brand.

Fleet EVs, with their massive, semi-closed ecosystem, are becoming a big thing: In January UPS announced it would buy 10,000 electric delivery vans from Arrival, who are covered in the latest Fully Charged episode: Price-parity with diesel, far lower running costs, plus V2G, it's a "better in every way" approach like Tesla's. DPD are also trialling Volta's larger EV trucks.

McKinsey released their latest Electric Vehicle Index. Due to their novel delivery model, EV sales briefly outstripped diesel sales in April. The French town of Appy has given every household a Zoe, to become the world's first 100% electric town. Thanks to Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power for helping me to understand the economics of big grid-connected batteries: Co-locating them with rapid EV charging stations not only reinforces them, but also re-uses the expensive grid extension, transforming (sorry) the economics of both. Following-on from its recent UK announcement, now Tesla has applied to be an electricity utility in Germany, too. Tonik claimed a first in launching the first UK tariff which bills your EV charging separately from the rest of your household consumption. The UK's National Grid operator reckons that by 2050, 80% of EV users will use smart charging, helping to balance half the load. UK utility Good Energy are launching a Heat Pump tariff ahead of gas boilers (furnaces) being outlawed in new build in the UK from 2025.  Date for your diary: Tesla Battery Day is 22nd September (perhaps a licensable, million-mile, cobalt-free battery?)

For every +1 degree, a billion people will have to move so it was great to see that last year the UK used as little coal as 1769 - the year when James Watt patented the steam engine. DevicePilot is built on the idea that "What gets measured, gets managed", so we love the effort to build a system to measure all the world's CO2 emissions using AI, and we're delighted that our investor Wendy Tan White just joined the board of Planet. By the way, did you know that the son of Keeling (who started modern CO2 records) is still carrying-on the good work? And speaking of measuring everything, check out WorldOMeters.

There has long been discussion of the feasibility of building solar panels in sunny places like Africa, to ship the electricity to less sunny ones like northern Europe, given that you lose only about 8% per 1,000 miles of transmission. Now discussion is giving way to action in the Antipodes, generating in Oz and shipping the electricity more than 2,000 miles to Singapore

Thanks to Eric Hewitson of mesh/satellite connectivity providers Wyld Networks for helping me realise that since non-24/7 coverage is fine for many wide-area IoT applications, early LEO satellite fleets which are still too sparse to provide continuous broadband browsing can still be very useful for daily uploads from e.g. Ag-tech IoT. Tens of "Swarm Bee" satellites are launching soon to provide IoT coverage, and Amazon now has FCC approval to challenge SpaceX with 1000's of LEO satellites.

I had lots of fun discussing IoT ecosystems with Stacey Higginbotham recently, alongside Irene Petrick of Intel and Ginger Smith of Honeywell (once I got my microphone to work!). Afterwards, Paul Reid of Honeywell Connected Enterprise introduced me to their 4000-person Smart Building focused spin-out, which interestingly can work with any technology (not just the old closed world of Honeywell BMS) because apparently these days customers are insisting on open.

Delphi kindly credited DevicePilot in helping them become proactive in supporting their customers. We hope all customers like DevicePilot's fresh new look.

In other IoT news:

  • We're sad to see Swedish partner Yanzi announce bankruptcy – "office wellness" must be a tough play in the time of COVID. They've been great to work with.
  • EU has launched an enquiry into IoT data collection
  • Cypress/Infineon has released a chip with AWS integration built-in - we've seen this with devices, but doing it with chips will further-simplify the supply-chain.
  • Sometimes a Bluetooth tag can locate your stolen car even when more sophisticated systems fail.
  • In a move reminiscent of Thingful, Terbine released a subscription service offering commercial access to huge amounts of IoT data ("Bloomberg for IoT data").
  • Interesting analysis of the relative vulnerability of LoRAWAN, SigFox and NB-IoT to replay attacks.
  • Finally, if you think managing your connected devices is hard, spare a thought for the team managing Perseverance, now off to Mars in a 10y plan to bring rocks back to Earth to test for signs of life. It runs two PowerPC chips powered by a 110W nuclear battery with no-one there to press the reset button, for a while.

Until next month,


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Erik Fairbairn, CEO at POD Point:
Achieved 99% uptime across device estate

"We're totally data driven at POD Point, and if we can answer a question using data then we think that’s the best way - there’s no guesswork and you can use the facts.

Our DevicePilot dashboards have really let us get that actionable insight out of our devices."