Mentions of the internet of things (IoT) within the filings of companies in the tech sector fell 16% between the first and second quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to the internet of things between July 2020 and June 2021 was 2% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When tech companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. The internet of things is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether the internet of things is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of tech companies, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the internet of things.
Of the 50 biggest employers in the tech sector, China Mobile Ltd was the company which referred to the internet of things the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 77 internet of things-related sentences in the Hong Kong-based company's filings - 2.1% of all sentences. China Communications Services Corp Ltd mentioned the internet of things the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.6% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high internet of things mentions included Apple Inc, Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd and Telefonica SA.
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Across all tech companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on the internet of things came from Advantech Co Ltd. Of the document's 2,960 sentences, 116 (3.9%) referred to the internet of things.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on the internet of things and how important the issue is considered within the tech sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning the internet of things more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into the internet of things have been successes or failures.
GlobalData also categorises internet of things mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the second quarter of 2021 was 'automated home', which made up 32% of all internet of things subtheme mentions by tech companies.