The Growth & Edge of IoT

Cybersecurity is and will continue to be a critical issue

For many companies potentially investing into the IoT, the ability to efficiently and quickly manage the data produced by devices in deployments will be key to reducing overall costs and enabling the ability to convert data into useful information. As such, speed and resilience can be viewed as critical components for achieving scale and, in turn, impacting wider business strategies towards the IoT. 

Market Landscape 

Edge computing services are presently at an immature phase of development, with one of our interviewees even going so far as to call it a ‘Wild West,’ on account of the number of players attempting to compete in the space. Indeed, vendors traditionally within OT, IT and networking markets are all promoting their services. 

This means that deployment models—for example, how processing power may be distributed across edge devices—as well as business processes—for example how strategic and security policies are applied across OT and IT environments—remain in development. The latter point is particularly important, as a result of the growing recognition of cybersecurity risks present in IoT devices and deployments. 

Meanwhile, there are technical challenges to be solved. Interoperability, for example, is— perhaps unsurprisingly—a critical issue that is being addressed via entities such as the OpenFog Consortium. Such issues will undoubtedly take time to solve, although the demand for edge computing services, particularly as 5G and supporting SDN (software defined networking) and NFV (network functions virtualization) are commercialized, will serve to accelerate market development. In tandem, this will increase potential project scope for customers, lower business risk and reduce ROI times. 

Future Outlook 

Juniper believes that edge computing, alongside supporting technologies such as LPWAN (low power wide area network) connectivity will serve to greatly increase the rate at which IoT connections are made. Even now, the expansion of partner networks and the development of greater understanding of IoT deployment strategies is serving to drive growth, although the aforementioned factors will likely begin to have a significant impact from 2020 and beyond. As such, by 2023, Juniper expects the IoT to comprise over 64 billion connections.

Figure 3: IoT Installed Base (m), Split by Region 2018-2023
(Click to Enlarge)

Nonetheless, further key challenges remain. Cybersecurity is—and will continue to be—a critical issue, with some form of regulation likely in future to set minimum standards owing to the risks involved. Additionally, costs and expertise are issues for many companies who cannot count connectivity and data analytics among their key competencies.


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