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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up September 25, 2020

Lux Research
September 25, 2020

Every week our researchers go through the top tech innovation headlines and provide their analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across all industries. Our analysts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for this last full week of September below.

China announces goals for peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060; can single-handedly reduce global emissions by 30%

YuanSheng Yu Photo_edited

Yuan-Sheng Yu, Senior Analyst | @808sAndInnovate Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"China has established itself as global leader in key new energies, but its emissions have grown significantly in the past two decades, making up nearly 30% of the global share. Very few details were unveiled, but China highlighted that a green strategy in a post-COVID world is important for global economic recovery. The country now joins the EU with aggressive carbon-neutral targets, as the two regions are poised to play leading roles in the global energy landscape. In the near term, we expect CO2 capture to see a significant uptick, but companies should also view the country as a key region to test and deploy solutions for hard-to-decarbonize industries as well, with China lagging in domestic development in several key technologies"

Health2Sync partners with Sanofi to digitally manage diabetes in Taiwan

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"While there are many diabetes-focused digital therapeutics, Health2Sync is one of the few that address markets in the APAC region. This substantial market, especially for individuals of Asian descent, faces different challenges in managing diabetes that are not represented in predominantly Caucasian populations. By partnering with a pharmaceutical company that already has a diabetes treatment presence in APAC, Health2Sync is cementing its position as a leader in digital diabetes management in the region. Clients should be likewise considering how they can leverage existing products into regions that fall outside their traditional geographic focus to unlock a regional first-mover advantage."

Gradiant Corporation doubles down on its Asian expansion with Sigma Water Engineering buy

9107-900-squareAbhirabh Basu, Analyst | @jerroldwang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Gradiant has been expanding its footprint in Asia over the past two years. The acquisition of Malaysian industrial water/wastewater engineering company Sigma Water shows that Gradiant's intention is to build a sizable footprint in South Asia by partnering with or acquiring water companies that can design, build, and operate its unique brine concentration and zero liquid discharge technologies. Gradiant is addressing the fast-growing demand from industries that are tackling both water supply shortages and new regulatory discharge mandates. Industrial water and membrane companies looking to expand into brine concentration and ZLD should engage with startups highlighted in this insight."

National Grid and TenneT to connect Dutch and British offshore wind farms

Seoane da Silva, PatriciaPatricia Seoane da Silva, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"National Grid and TenneT plan to connect up to 4 GW of offshore wind between the U.K. and the Netherlands through a multiterminal HVDC link. The two players aim to finalize project planning by the end of 2021 and to deliver an operational asset by 2029. Europe has set a target to increase its current offshore wind capacity (around 20 GW) to 450 GW by 2050 – which will come primarily from farms in the North Sea. To meet this target, cross-border wind farms are gaining traction in Northern Europe as a means to reduce the cost of new grid infrastructure while enabling electricity trading. Companies should follow up on similar initiatives and expect cross-border offshore wind to be an important part of Europe's 2050 energy landscape."

Green Monday raises $70 million to expand its plant-based portfolio in Asia and beyond

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"This marks the largest funding round for an Asia-based alternative protein company to date. The company, best known for its plant-based pork alternative OmniPork, plans to use the funding to grow into 10 new markets in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America, increasing the presence of its products by 20,000 locations in the process. Moreover, through its retail and restaurant subsidiary Green Common, it aims to open new sites in China and Singapore. The announcement comes only weeks after Beyond Meat revealed plans to construct two manufacturing facilities in China. Companies should expect the race for market share between domestic and foreign entities to continue."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Microsoft announces ability to train extremely large neural network models with more than a trillion parameters

McCollum, ColeCole McCollum, Analyst | @cmccoco Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Deep learning models have grown from less than a billion parameters to models with nearly 200 billion parameters in just the past few years, leading to significant training challenges. With the updated release of its deep learning optimization library DeepSpeed, Microsoft is announcing a variety of software-based improvements in compute, memory, and communication efficiency. The efficiencies will lead to new capabilities like training 10× larger models on a single GPU and training trillion -parameter models on large compute clusters. Although there are also rapid advancements in AI hardware, clients should look to software-based optimizations as an equal, if not more important, component of deep learning model scaling."

Emerald Technology Ventures closes $100 million water impact fund with strategics to invest in early-stage startups

9107-900-squareAbhirabh Basu, Analyst | @jerroldwang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Emerald, along with strategic investors Temasek, SKion Water, Ecolab, and Microsoft, is driving a new investment vehicle to support early-stage water technology companies. The fund marks not only a major commitment to the water industry but also a focus on improving resiliency across industries through resource efficiency, energy, and chemical optimization. Its goals are closely aligned with the UNSDG. Looking at the other participants in the fund, clients should expect investments to lean toward digital water innovations, though Emerald also stresses improving water reuse and water quality. Those interested should expect the fund to look at Asia as a new growth market for water technologies after Emerald launched its Singapore accelerator in 2019."

Ericsson, Perm Motors, and Xcel Energy resume 4G/5G private network momentum after pandemic delays

13815-thumb-squareMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"New interest in private networks is accumulating as operators and users find workarounds for COVID-related installation delays. For example, Russian aircraft engine maker Perm Motors deployed a 4G private network, with plans to upgrade to 5G in 2021 with the help of MTS, the Russian mobile network operator, and Nokia. In the U.S., Xcel Energy is testing a private 4G network, while Ericsson is acquiring private network supplier Cradlepoint for $1.1 billion. The momentum reflects a combination of end user impatience with the slow pace of 5G network rollout, as well as the advantages of private networks. Companies should consider their own need for privately controlled, faster-performing networks, as this option is increasingly viable." 

With Apple One, Apple becomes a strong partner for developers of personalized consumer devices, services, and CPGs

Jerrold Wang, AnalystJerrold Wang, Analyst | @jerroldwang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Announced on September 15, 2020, Apple One is a bundle of Apple’s services in TV, music, games, news, fitness, and cloud storage. With strategic importance, Apple One can form a very deep understanding of users' preferences and demands because it not only monitors users' information intake and fitness levels but also can potentially work with Apple's other products, such as wearables, HomeKit, and Carplay. With Apple One, Apple can achieve very high user stickiness by becoming a one-stop shop of comprehensive services consisting of software, content, and devices. Additionally, Apple's deepened user understanding will make it a strong partner for developers of personalized consumer devices, services, and CPGs."

Mobileye to supply full-stack L2+ system in Geely's Zero Concept BEV

Josh Kern, Analyst

Josh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Mobileye says this is the first production vehicle that will rely on Mobileye for the full hardware and software stack. Also of note is Mobileye's ability to upgrade the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) with over-the-air updates, ensuring that drivers will always have the latest ADAS features. It's unclear if this means the Geely vehicle could eventually be upgraded to a higher SAE autonomy level, but Mobileye claims the EyeQ5 chip used in the vehicle can support up to L5 autonomy. The BMW iNEXT, an L3 vehicle supported by Mobileye technology, is expected to come out next year but notably includes a lidar sensor, which is not included in Geely's Zero Concept."

The Chemical and Materials Company of 2040

Mosaic exclusively licenses Anuvia Plant Nutrients SymTRX 10S in U.S.

Haslun, JoshJoshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun  Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The license rights provide Mosaic a next-generation circular fertilizer, to be branded Susterra. Anuvia produces slow-release fertilizer from a circular approach that utilizes reclaimed organic matter (mainly manure) as feedstock. The resultant product also reduces emissions by up to one-third. This relationship follows a longer-term engagement, as Mosaic is a key equity holder in the company, and Anuvia (Lux Take: Engage) reached commercial production capacity by leasing Mosaic's former phosphate facility in Plant City, Florida. This facility has an estimated annual capacity of 1.2 million tons. Companies expect Mosaic to experience success from this move, especially as products that improve soil carbon and reduce emissions gain momentum."

GE to stop building coal-fired power plants

Benjamin Torda

Benjamin Torda, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

Southeast Asia was long seen as the last bastion, and future driving force, of coal power. However, China and Vietnam recently announced plans to cut emissions and reliance on coal power, and major Asian financial institutions are cutting support for coal power generation. In this environment, it is unsurprising that GE will no longer look to build new coal plants. Clients should realize that the decline of global coal power capacity may fall even faster than our lowest projected scenario and should look to renewables-plus-storage and alternative fuels as pathways to drastically speed up the energy transition."

Apple and Anthem partner to identify digital biomarker for asthma

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"By including a partnership with a healthcare payer, Apple is establishing a value proposition for Anthem with its consumer-focused devices. If these companies can demonstrate a biomarker to help patients better self-manage their asthma, they will have an established foothold in the payer market. The combination of consumer device data collected from different sources (sleep, heart rate, and activity) underscores the attention that payers are giving to these devices, and also the fact that payers are actively looking at these devices as a way to drive down costs. Those interested in healthcare should be looking for ways develop digital biomarkers with their data and consider payers to be a key market moving forward."

LG Chem to spin out battery business, likely in an effort to capitalize on investor enthusiasm for electric vehicles

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"LG Chem has consistently ranked in the top three battery suppliers globally measured by GWh of storage delivered, but the business includes segments that look at life sciences and petrochemicals. Although LG Chem noted in its press release that it had not decided if it would go pubic with the new entity, named LG Energy Solution, Lux believes one of the key benefits of such a move would be taking advantage of investor enthusiasm in the electric vehicle space to build out manufacturing capacity. The razor-thin margins associated with battery manufacturing make it challenging to use profits to do so. Companies should note that this does not materially change the outlook or technology roadmap for LG's battery business."

Sensors mimicking human skin may be the key to making robotic hands sense like human hands

Lisheng Gao, Analyst at Lux ResearchLisheng Gao, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"A research team developed piezoelectric effect-based sensors that mimic the human somatosensory system. They built the sensors by stacking interlocked piezoelectric and piezoresistive flexible films. The sensors perceive the force changes and magnitudes by measuring strain variations of the piezoelectric layer and resistivity of the piezoresistive layer. Analyzing the complex signals can reveal the loading processes, including the loading direction, rate, magnitude, and duration. Artificial skin has been a hot topic for both robotic and medical applications. Despite technological attractiveness, the market is niche. Companies should evaluate the technology's scalability, cost, and software support while considering licensing opportunities."

Not all hydrogen is equal: EU shuts down Dutch plan to subsidize hydrogen

Runeel DaliahRuneel Daliah, Analyst
Lux Take: Low Importance

"The European Commission (EU) blocked a move by the Dutch government to subsidize "green" hydrogen production in the Netherlands, claiming that Dutch electricity is still primarily generated from coal and natural gas, and producing hydrogen will only lead to an increase in carbon emissions. It is important to take the source of electricity into account when assessing the environmental benefits of hydrogen, as hydrogen generated from fossil electricity is more carbon-intensive than directly using fossil fuels."




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