The telecom sector faces several looming challenges in the form of network load and infrastructure optimization, effectively addressing subscriber grievances to reduce churn, and improve security for telecommunications. The top 10 telecom industry trends directly address these challenges, in addition to improving the overall efficiency for telecom companies. Increasing global connectivity, further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, presents numerous opportunities for telecom companies to reach more subscribers and offer innovative products and services. Smart factories, cities, homes, cars, and industrial workplaces require efficient and affordable cloud and 5G technology solutions, especially to address the growing number of connected people and things.
Innovation Map: Top 10 Telecom Industry Trends & Innovations
Covering more than 1.379.000 startups & scaleups, we use our proprietary StartUs Insights Discovery Platform to identify innovative applications and solutions that will impact the telecom sector in 2021. Our Innovation Analysts conducted exhaustive data-driven research to identify the various innovation trends emerging in the Telecom sector. For this report, we analyzed 3.519 startups and scaleups and now reveal the top 10 telecom industry trends as well as 20 highly relevant solutions for each of them.
Explore the Innovation Map below that visualizes the top 10 telecom industry trends and discover two hand-picked startups for each.
Tree Map: The Impact of Telecom Industry Trends
The Tree Map below illustrates the top 10 Telecom industry trends that will impact companies in 2021. The internet of things (IoT) devices and sensors, connectivity solutions including next-generation WiFi and Bluetooth, as well the promise of 5G networks and technology dominate the top 10 telecom trends. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms influence data analytics and offer various opportunities for automation in the telecom sector. The penetration of smartphones and reliable internet generates large volumes of high-resolution content. Telecom startups develop network solutions to manage and optimize speed and latency to further enable the growth of high-quality image and video content. In addition to these major telecom trends, the industry also sees the development of cloud and edge technologies for enabling smart industrial processes as well as solutions to improve human-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. Get in touch with us to find relevant startups that impact your specific business.
Global Startup Heat Map: Telecom Startups & Emerging Companies
For this analysis, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of startups & emerging companies that also include the 20 promising examples out of 3.519 relevant Telecom solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Top 10 Telecom Industry Trends in 2021
IoT devices and sensors influence almost all industries of the technology economy. It improves people’s quality of life, allows businesses to increase their profits, and improves management. IoT is also beneficial for governments looking to decrease their information technology (IT)-related expenses. Interconnection between devices, sensors, infrastructure, and computing elements further enables new ways for management. For example, decentralized operations, condition-based monitoring, and predictive maintenance ensure efficient communications between various IoT devices. In this way, IoT automates production processes and allows the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts in the telecom sector.
N3uron builds a Web-based SCADA Software
Spanish startup N3uron develops highly customizable Industrial IoT and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software solutions to empower organizations to efficiently collect data. One of the startup’s multiple integrated software modules, MQTT, uses special data-transfer protocols to connect thousands of field devices to any cloud or SCADA system. N3uron software runs on multiple operating systems and hardware without affecting performance. Moreover, the software’s built-in networking security and data integrity checks follow industry standards of data formats. All of this allows companies to efficiently create and operate IIoT device networks.
Iothic develops a Decentralised IoT Standard
British startup Iothic creates a communication protocol for the internet of things. The main benefit of the startup’s solution is interoperability. The communication protocol enables companies to work on different devices and operating systems that are compatible with existing infrastructure. Further, a high level of security, with support for real-time low-latency operations, suits next-gen IoT applications, together with resistance to quantum decoding. The IoT standard helps manufacturers and customers by helping them reduce production and operational expenses.
2. Connectivity Technologies
Connectivity technologies are constantly evolving and include both wired and wireless communications. The development of communications technology is critical in today’s IT-environment, with increasing data volumes, IoT devices, and people using the internet. Further, users increasingly share high-quality digital data, such as videos, photos, and music. All of these factors, along with the increasing use of satellite communications, contribute to the emerging telecom trends with innovation in connectivity technologies.
FiSens manufactures Fiber Optic Sensor Systems
German startup FiSens manufactures Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG) sensors for measuring strain, temperature, and pressure. The startup leverages the FBG effect, which allows creating chains without breaking fiber optics for data transmission. FiSens embeds sensors in the fiber optics, allowing up to 30 sensors in a single fiber. The startup produces FBGs for almost all possible spectral configurations. Additionally, these sensors are immune to electromagnetic interference and are safe in environments that involve radiation or explosions.
Sateliot connects IoT Devices using Satellites
Sateliot is a Spanish satellite telecom operator for global continuous IoT connectivity, merging satellite and terrestrial networks under 5G protocols. Their hardware does not require any customization on the device side since satellite constellations act as a cell tower for IoT devices. Moreover, satellites handle messages in a secure and transparent way, ensuring customers’ data is safe. Sateliot’s connectivity solutions find applications in a wide range of industries, including utilities, maritime, oil & gas, and agriculture.
5G technology is the next big upgrade for telecommunication networks and devices. It provides a much higher speed, than previous cellular broadband network standards, and, most importantly, has much lower latency. Latency is very important for cloud gaming as well as VR content streaming. Massive machine-type communications (mMTC) that 5G networks provide enable the creation of high-density IoT networks, from IIoT to smart homes. Such wide-spread applications make 5G one of the most important upcoming technology trends for the telecommunication sector.
Aarna Networks creates a Multi-Cluster Orchestration Platform
US-based startup Aarna Networks provides a multi-cluster orchestration platform – AMCOP. AMCOP automatically manages cloud infrastructure and connected networks, such as Edge networks. AMCOP supports 5G radio access networks (RAN), and 5G Core (5GC) orchestration, as well as network slicing, data analytics, and self-organizing networks (SON). Also, AMCOP is built on vendor-agnostic open-source software, helping businesses optimize their expenditures on network infrastructure and increase security.
Simnovus provides a Cost-Effective User Equipment (UE) Simulator
Simnovus is an Indian startup, building efficient UE simulators for 5G networks. Based on software-defined radio (SDR) technology, the startup allows transforming traditional x86 hardware into a UE simulator. This agile and cost-effective solution is suitable for testing telecommunication equipment and developers of such equipment. The UE simulator provides testing with realistic patterns of traffic for different network technologies, extensive logging, and elaborate statistics. Further, the simulator’s licencing supports up to 1000 devices.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are other big telecom trends impacting the industry. Digital transformation requires the extraction of meaningful information from data, gathered by IoT sensors and devices. At the same time, the expansion and complication of the internet create the need for high speeds and low latencies, prompting new solutions for internet connection management. To this end, startups develop AI solutions that resolve numerous problems related to network performance.
Netop develops Autonomous solutions for Critical Networks
NetOp is a startup from Israel, creating a critical network health utility tool using proprietary machine learning algorithms. The solution automatically analyzes the network, searching for any vulnerabilities. Using AI-powered advanced automation, NetOp proactively predicts and remediates network issues as they arise, which is beneficial for businesses wanting to improve their security and reduce operating costs.
IoT/AI creates an Advanced Sensor Platform
The US-based startup IoT/AI offers an IoT platform that combines network connectivity, cybersecurity, and analytics operating in Edge networks. The platform analyzes the data from the mesh network locally using ML algorithms. In addition to military-grade cybersecurity, IoT/AI’s sensor platform is suitable for the industrial, healthcare, defense, energy industries.
5. High-Resolution Content
The penetration of smartphones and reliable internet leads to increased consumption of high-quality, and often heavy-to-transfer, content. The growth in high-resolution content, in turn, drives improvements in the quality of traditional information media such as videos, pictures, and music. Novel telecommunications help businesses adapt to new types of information media, such as virtual, augmented, and mixed reality- (VR/AR/MR) and cloud-based gaming. These new types of content require not only high-speed transmission but also low latency, prompting startups to develop high-capacity telecommunication networks.
Subspace builds Networks for Online Gamers
Subspace is a US-based startup building networks specifically for online multiplayer games. To reduce lag and create a seamless experience for gamers, the startup uses a combination of hardware and software solutions. These include custom network routing hardware built for accelerating games and software to protect the integrity of the game. Together, these measures lead to higher player retention, matchmaking pools, and revenue for studios as well as publishers.
echoAR creates Tools for Building & Scaling 3D Apps
US-based startup echoAR creates tools to facilitate 3D application development, improve its deployment, and manage related procedures. The tools focus on cross-platform AR/VR programs development. While most AR/VR applications today support single-user, single-device static experiences, the startup’s flexible cloud infrastructure makes content management & delivery simple. By making possible AR/VR products, deployable everywhere, the solution benefits brands and enterprises seeking to improve their consumers’ experiences.
The increasing number of cyber-attacks and low-security IoT devices, new central processing unit (CPU) hardware vulnerabilities, and the growing dependence on computing infrastructure makes tackling security risks challenging. In any industrial network, systems are continuously managed in an attempt to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats, but these methods often conflict with the network’s core requirements of reliability and availability. Startups innovate industrial networks by allowing systems to remain dynamic when faced with attacks or vulnerabilities.
Cybersenshi rectifies Network Weaknesses
Cybersenshi is a startup from Saudi Arabia developing a cybersecurity tool that discovers and fixes customers’ website & network security weaknesses. The database covers over 130.000 cybersecurity weaknesses of websites, networks, systems & databases. It is suitable for both small businesses, without deep knowledge in cybersecurity as well as for medium and big businesses.
Quantum Xchange creates Quantum-Safe Cybersecurity solutions
US-based startup Quantum Xchange develops Phio TX and Phio Quantum Key (QK). Phio TX works on current network infrastructure, improving communications security and making existing key infrastructure quantum-safe. For a higher security level, quantum keys are used in combination with Phio TX over any type of data transmission. Further, Phio TX requires low-infrastructure, which is beneficial for companies looking to bolster security.
Cloud computing is a fast-growing technology trend within telecommunications. The spreading of IoT devices and the use of more sophisticated ML algorithms leads to the high demand for computing power. There are many benefits of migrating data, applications, and other business elements to a cloud computing environment. From equipment, platforms, infrastructure, and company functions, startups bring greater connectivity and integration solutions for businesses. All connected environments, from cities and factories to houses and cars, require improvements in cloud-integration technologies.
Cloud Backend provides a Cloud Management Platform
Swedish startup Cloud Backend provides a platform for subscription, data policies, and resource budget allocation using a web-based dashboard. The dashboard’s architecture scales to multiple edge nodes, providing automatic synchronization and caching to secure network operations in case of failure. Cloud Backend’s architecture is also suitable for enterprises expanding or optimizing their networks and systems.
Purestake develops Cloud-Based Tools for Blockchain Networks
Purestake is a US-based startup developing an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that delivers consistent uptime and availability. The startup combines the best practices in network architecture and security operations. The platform disperses nodes globally and, based on an automated multi-pop and multi-cloud approach, the service spans Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google environments. Further, the security of blockchain networks allows companies to build resilient, auto-managed networks for their needs.
8. Communication Models
The spread of smart and IoT devices also leads to an increase in communication channels, such as machine-to-machine (M2M), vehicle-to-everything (V2X), device-to-device (D2D), human-to-machine. Communication models differ in the connectivity technologies they use from hardware to software. Communication models are combined under include next-generation WiFi & Bluetooth, which are the basis for new products and technologies for a wide range of companies – from large banks and car manufacturers to startups and scaleups.
M2Cloud builds Device Cloud solutions
Indian startup M2Cloud creates device-to-cloud (D2C) solutions. They produce both simple and advanced vehicle tracking devices, aimed at creating an intelligent transport system to optimize existing public transport infrastructure. Additionally, M2Cloud produces wall-mounted sensors, both ultrasonic and infrared, for measuring body temperature. It is especially useful for establishments to check their customers and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. M2Cloud tracking devices also use eSIMs to easily connect to the cloud.
Angoka provides Hardware for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Security
Angoka is a British startup providing hardware solutions for managing cybersecurity risks inherent in M2M communication networks. The startup aims to improve security for connected and autonomous vehicles, smart city services, electrical grids, and banking networks. The solution provides hardware authentication using a decentralized cryptographic protocol. Angoka’s solution also enables silicon devices fingerprinting based on their physical properties, which then allows for generating cryptographic keys and secure device identity.
In today’s increasingly digital environment, business applications require high-performing and extensive networking operations. Particularly for cloud computing, it is essential for businesses to deploy, manage, and support connectivity across a variety of environments. Typically, complex tools are required to build and manage modern software-defined networking technology. Some vendors only provide solutions that work on their equipment, which then limits the extent of communications capabilities. . Startups develop SDN to improve network performance, monitor its performance, and enable centralized control.
EdgeNEXUS develops Load Balancing solutions for SDNs
UK-based startup EdgeNEXUS develops network load-balancing solutions for SDNs. edgeNEXUS optimizes routing changes based on a number of factors including load volume and application performance, thus adding a layer of intelligence between applications, networks, and SDN controllers. The startup’s Global Server Load Balancer (GSLB) provides tools for multi-datacenter, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud load balancing and failover. GLSB is suitable for enterprises looking to control their application delivery service depending on user or region.
Ethica provides SD-WAN for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Ethica is a Canadian startup providing CloudAccess, an easy-to-deploy and inexpensive Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN) solution focusing on SMEs. The solution reduces the downtime of the network by aggregating multiple internet connections and using them when they are available. Also, CloudAccess provides Quality of Service (QoS) by prioritizing more important types of traffic which is useful, for example, in distributed teams using video calls. Further, all the solution’s features are manageable through a cloud-hosted orchestration utility.
10. Edge Computing
Edge computing brings data computation and data storage closer to the source of data instead of a centralized remote cloud. This reduces latency, increases bandwidth, and simplifies maintenance while it allows industrial manufacturing companies to expand their computing capacity by combining devices with edge data centers at lower costs. Lower latencies and high speeds are required for modern applications, like cloud gaming and VR. Edge Computing greatly improves the quality of experience for end-users and lowers data exchange requirements.
Edgegap enables Edge Network Game Hosting
Belgian startup Edgegap provides Edge network-based game hosting services. By locating online game-hosting servers in close proximity to the actual players, the startup ensuring low latencies. Edgegap currently has 220 hosting locations available. Moreover, the services are easily scalable and reliable. Edgegap provides equal latencies for all players connected to a single game, ensuring fairness, which is very important in competitive gaming.
Axellio builds an Edge-Computing Hardware Platform
US-based startup Axellio builds FabricXpress – a high-performance, high-density computing and storage platform for heavy applications. This solution is suitable for Edge networks that have a high density, high-bandwidth, and low-latency requirement. In addition to improving network performance, the startup achieves this with a small energy footprint and low costs.
What does this mean for Telecom companies?
The innovation areas outlined in this research on 10 Telecom Industry Trends only scratch the surface of what we found during our analysis. 5G networks and technology implementation, flexible networks for high- and low-latency requirements, and faster modes of communication are all areas bound to significantly impact telecom companies one way or the other. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business early on goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage and becoming an industry leader.