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2022 will be about convergence of edge, IoT, and networking

The defining technological and socio-economic paradigms of 2022 will influence market shifts in the edge, IoT, and networking triad. This includes sustainability, the digital divide, the semiconductor chip shortage, and cybersecurity. Market changes accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic are affecting some of these predictions — but not all of them.

Forrester predicts that in 2022:

Edge and IoT will drive new solutions for scope 3 emission reduction.

Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions in an organization’s value chain; they come from assets not owned or directly controlled. In 2022, demand for sustainability-related services powered by edge and IoT will grow for energy efficiency and resource management. High-demand use cases will include environmental monitoring (e.g., air quality, CO2 levels, and pollution); resource management (e.g., water, power, electricity, and lighting); and supply chain processes (e.g., fleet management, material sourcing, and asset tracking).

These technology-led sustainability solutions will be especially fruitful for stakeholders who are keen on recognizing business value and creating competitive differentiation with their sustainability investments. Traditional smart-technology product vendors, IT, and professional services players and platform vendors that specialize in edge and IoT will bring these solutions to market in 2022 as standard offerings and bespoke IT solutions.

Satellite Internet will challenge 5G as the connectivity of choice.

Huge government spending programs around the world are aiming to offer 5G wireless service as a major Internet connectivity option, especially in rural areas. However, government red tape and delays in developing 5G have opened the door for the satellite Internet market. In rural areas, low earth-orbiting (LEO) satellite Internet services like SpaceX’s Starlink show more promise than 5G does.

Enterprises’ remote worker initiatives and remote facilities will benefit significantly from satellite Internet in 2022. We’ll also see wired connectivity providers — with no cellular business — offer satellite internet services as a backup option instead of positioning a competitor with a cellular backup connection. Rural areas will see a significant proportion of users subscribing to satellite services; 85% of satellite users will be in rural locations.

The chip shortage will impede overall IoT market growth by 10% to 15%.

In early 2021, the entire world started suffering from an acute shortage of semiconductors. This dilemma won’t be resolved until mid-2023, and many business and consumer products will struggle with availability and price increases throughout 2022. IoT devices will feel the pinch particularly hard because they generally use mature sensor, microcontroller, and communications technologies that have significantly more availability issues than advanced chips like CPUs and GPUs.

We predict that the IoT chip shortage will shave 10% to 15% off IoT growth in 2022. As a result, IoT-based smart products like appliances, automobiles, and consumer electronics will be unavailable, delayed, or overpriced. In turn, this will increase demand for lesssmart equivalents.

Investment in smart infrastructure will increase by 40%.

In 2022, we expect smart infrastructure investments to increase by 40%, powered by large government spending windfalls in smart infrastructure in China, the EU, and the US. To facilitate pandemic recovery, city planners will prioritize initiatives that provide citizens with Internet connectivity, address public health, and manage critical resources (e.g., water, power, and lighting) by using smart meters and predictive grid monitoring.

Stakeholders will also harness insights captured from edge devices and IoTenabled infrastructure to modify traffic patterns to reduce congestion; evaluate multimedia data to deliver insight for security applications; and combine 5G, V2X, and edge technologies to enable autonomous vehicles (e.g., container trucks and automated guided vehicles) in ports and airports.

An IoT botnet will successfully take down communications infrastructure via DDoS.

Many IoT devices have notoriously weak security. Cybercriminals have been able to compromise these devices and build massive botnets that can launch disruptive DDoS attacks. In the summer of 2021, Cloudflare mitigated a DDoS attack of 17 million requests per second from the Mirai botnet, which was three times larger than any previously seen DDoS attack. That record was quickly shattered when Yandex repelled a DDoS attack of 22 million requests per second.

In 2022, we predict that an IoT botnet will launch a DDoS attack that surpasses 30 million requests per second, setting a new record. That level of traffic will successfully cause economic pain by denying some critical communications
infrastructure. Enterprises should evaluate their current DDoS mitigation vendors and also test response plans in preparation for larger attacks in 2022.

Source: Forrester Research, USA.

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