The Future is Life-Mobile Convergence

By 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses a staggering $1 trillion
And there are so many other factors to consider. At CES last month, we saw flexible displays, tons of wearable tech, new generations of drones, connected home devices, and lots more that suggests that our networks are going to get more and more complicated.

Gartner’s 2017 prediction paper from last fall, “Surviving the Storm Winds of Digital Disruption,” has some pretty fascinating notions in it as well. For instance, the analysts propose that by 2020, 100 million customers will shop in augmented reality and that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. It also predicts that through 2019, every dollar spent on innovation will require $7 in core execution costs, and that by 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps. So there will be growing pains ahead.

But the benefits will likely be enormous. The paper posits that by 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses a staggering $1 trillion in maintenance, services, and consumables.

It’s clear we’re in a new world.

With that in mind, here are a few things I think we can watch for in the next few months and years as we work our way toward the world foretold by the VNI:

The spread of LPWANs

Low power wireless access networks, such as LoRaWAN, are ideal for large-scale, low-cost networks that will be the backbone of IoT. We wrote about these at some length a few months ago, and these networks have continued to gain traction.

One research firm postulates that the LPWAN market will grow at a CAGR of 90% from 2016-2022. Even if the growth is not quite as robust, the growing work to reconsider what a network built with IoT in mind can and should look like is noteworthy.

It’s all part of the growth of the wider IoT market, which the analysts at BI Intelligence expect to receive $4.8 trillion in aggregate investment  between now and 2021. By that year, they expect there to be 22.5 billion IoT devices, up from 6.6 billion in 2016.

Wireless network security

Security is a big issue, and for good reason. Last year’s reveal of the SS7 vulnerability that allowed hackers the ability to read text messages, listen to phone calls, and track location (with only a phone number to work with) is just one example, and there are hundreds or thousands of others.

The growth of IoT exacerbates the issue. According to cybersecurity vendor ForeScout, many IoT devices can be hacked in three minutes or less, and hackers can leave backdoors that they can later use to launch massive botnet attacks.

One target of a Mirai botnet attack last year, web hosting firm OVH, demonstrates how massive modern botnet attacks can be. Octave Klaba, the French company’s founder, claims the attack they experienced was launched by 150,000 hacked IoT devices such as CCTV cameras and digital video recorders, and that at its peak, the datastream hitting their servers exceeded 1.5 Tbps.

We all know that these are big issues with big stakes, and there is a tremendous need (and opportunity) here for stronger wireless network security measures. For instance, Technavio predicts that the Wireless LAN Security market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% through 2020.

5G creeps forward

The next big thing in wireless continues to emerge, even if it will be years before the full impact is felt.

Pretty much everyone is hard at work. Ericsson, Qualcomm, and AT&T just announced their collaboration on 5G New Radio trials, set to launch in the second half of this year. Verizon’s chief information and technology architect, Roger Gurnanis said, they’re starting trials later this year, too. Providers in South Korea are hard at work trying to get a trial 5G network in place in time for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, while in Japan, work is well underway to get 5G in place in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

But no one expects an instant overnight shift. Going back to Cisco’s VNI, it predicts that by 2021, 5G will still only represent 0.2 percent of connections (around 25 million), though that tiny slice will still manage to generate 1.5% of total data traffic. They estimate that a 5G connection will average 4.7 times more traffic than a 4G connection. 

It's a long road, but the destination looks to be compelling.


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