Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD
Well, we made it through another year without any cataclysmic disasters. You’d think that wouldn’t be a notable achievement, but in the era of COVID and the accompanying economic recession, sometimes just crossing the finish line is a remarkable feat.
We’re about to put a somewhat forgettable year behind us, what with the economic turmoil, but like the peak of COVID-19, our industry has been uncommonly successful. While a global semiconductor shortage has dogged the globe since the worldwide pandemic, we’ve mostly caught up with demand, and industries like the automotive space aren’t on life support anymore, with their empty lots and long backorders.
And as we turn the page on a new year, we have a lot to look forward to, including the wildest gala on the planet, the Consumer Electronics Show.
While CES no longer hosts Microsoft, and a plethora of single-company events has stolen some of its luster, CES is still a vitally important gathering of nearly every consumer juggernaut, from Samsung to LG, Panasonic, and a lot more (including most of the major players in our own industry).
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Sin City at the beginning of January, and you intend to work at least as much as play, then have fun!
For our own part, we end the year with quite possibly the largest – and most profitable – sector of our industry, “Transportation,” the first of two interrelated topics that, amongst other things, are at the tip of the IoT spear, January’s issue being “EV, Hybrids, + Charging Infrastructure.”
I’d like to highlight one of December’s articles, which perfectly encapsulates the state of transportation (and its biggest “what if?”), while addressing the natural consequences of the increasing urbanization of the planet.
By 2050, the deadline most countries (and companies) have set to go carbon-neutral, up to 70% of the planet could be living in cities. According to the World Bank, the world's urban population will balloon up from 4.4 billion to 6 billion by 2045, and with that many people in close proximity – and the collective commute distance cut down dramatically – traditional automobiles will partially give way to a surge in public transportation and micro-mobility (like e-bikes).
Course, a radical paradigm change like that will run into several challenges. E-bike sales may have increased 240% in the last 18 months, but continued growth begins and ends with batteries.
As Charlie Welch, ZapBatt CEO and Amiad Zionpur, ZapBatt COO, point out, “The battery is the gatekeeper to profitability. Nearly every aspect of the business model, including labor, up-time, warehousing, capital, and ridership, is built around battery performance.”
The duo touts the benefits of a lithium-titanate chemistry, which “fosters a far longer life span—up to 20 years—allowing micro-mobility operators to reduce the swap-and-replace cycle and helping them significantly reduce the number of battery purchases.”
I probably don’t need to say this, but reliable battery chemistry is vital for the transportation of the future and the continued electrification of the planet.
North American Editor, PSD