Market opportunities, security challenges and the edge -- 5G predictions for 2022

5G circuit board

Although 5G technology isn't yet available to everyone, the rollout continues and as it does businesses need to recognize the challenges and opportunities that it brings.

Here are some industry expert views on what we can expect from 5G in 2022.

Theresa Lanowitz, head of evangelism at AT&T Cybersecurity believes 5G is set to become a business enabler. "While 5G adoption accelerated in 2021, in 2022, we will see 5G go from a new technology to a business enabler. While the impact of 5G on new ecosystems, devices, applications, and use cases ranging from automatic mobile device charging to streaming, 5G will also benefit from the adoption of edge computing due to the convenience it brings. We're moving away from the traditional infosecurity approach to securing edge computing. With this shift to the edge, we will see more data from more devices, which will lead to the need for stronger data security."

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EdgeQ CEO Vinay Ravuri believes 5G will expand into non-telecoms environments:

Where 2G/3G/4G offered evolutionary enhancements to cellular communications, 5G offers new capabilities and properties that will ignite imaginative possibilities for new end markets that extend beyond traditional telco environments. Governments and national defense companies will look to develop and deploy fully custom, private 5G networks. Cable and internet providers will launch fixed wireless small cells, where the need for cooper cable wires is obsoleted in favor of 5G wireless connectivity. Smart factories, warehouses, and sea ports will capitalize on robotic automation with private 5G networks enabled by Artificial Intelligence. Enterprises will look to collapse WiFi and private 5G networks into one unified network where mission critical and non-mission critical devices can be simultaneously supported.

The tsunami of new connected devices will dwarf smartphones and test the pluralities of 5G. Massive customization at scale will be necessary to support the varying performance, power, and price points.

Keith Neilson, technical evangelist at CloudSphere believes businesses will need to adapt to the volume of information 5G will generate. "The proliferation of both edge computing and 5G networks holds tremendous potential. Edge computing happens at or near the source of data, allowing for broader compute power and lower latency spread across a company's cyber assets. By some estimates, 75 percent of enterprise data is expected to be created and processed at the edge by 2025. At the same time, 5G networks can further enhance bandwidth and reduce latency. But challenges to cyber asset management can arise trying to connect the processes and data from such newer systems with older systems. Organizations will need to address volumes and velocity of data to align these disparate systems in which centralized cloud systems may not be ready to handle the flood of information coming from assets on the edge, accelerated by 5G."

Nick Offin, head of operations at dynabook Northern Europe foresees 5G driving the use of AI at the edge:

Edge computing has already witnessed a significant interest since the introduction of 5G. A 2021 report by the Linux Foundation predicts that the global market capitalization of edge computing infrastructure will be worth more than $800 billion by 2028. At the same time, enterprises are also looking to invest in AI in at least some of their business functions. In 2022, this will be about more than just digital transformation -- by fusing edge computing and AI, applications such as remote assistance and assembly line monitoring will become increasingly accessible. And as consumers make more purchasing decisions online, Edge AI, through analytics, will come to the fore in understanding consumer trends, purchasing and decision patterns, by providing instant insights to enable real-time business decisions.

In the second half of 2022, we may even see some larger businesses piloting cameras optimised with Edge AI to identify consumers age groups and target personalised advertising to them. While there will undoubtedly be security issues to iron out with such applications, the growth of Edge AI doesn't look like it’s about to slow anytime soon.

This is echoed by By Hao Zhong, co-founder and CEO of ScaleFlux, "There will be an increase in demand for edge computing. This increase is being fed by the need to power a growing number of base stations, the fixed transceivers that serve as the main communication point for mobile technology as 5G (and even 6G) grow in popularity. Also, as the number of self-driving cars increases, so does the need for local storage, as well as growth in remote processing power in the car itself. Edge will lead infrastructure and even cloud growth in the coming year."

Peter Sprygada, vice president of product management at Itential, also sees 5G as an enabler for edge computing, "As 5G networking becomes more widespread, enterprises are looking to embrace the opportunity to push their applications further to the edge of the network, allowing them to realize enhanced performance and new monetization models. Network modernization initiatives serve to provide the foundation for enterprises to expand their application capabilities, push services closer to end users and optimize service delivery performance. In order for these initiatives to be successful, enterprises are shifting away from manual processes in order to fully embrace 5G technology through the expansion of advanced capabilities like automation and network slicing."

Karen Worstell, senior cybersecurity strategist at VMware believes 5G will highlight some security issues. "The pandemic made it abundantly clear how important 5G infrastructure is for rural areas in the US The rollout of 5G will enable better access to healthcare, educational innovations, and public services. The Biden administration's infrastructure bill, which includes provisions for broadband delivery and access, provides the industry with another nudge in the right direction to roll it out. As 5G service delivery expands, there will be a growing demand for IoT security and engineering to ensure that network complexity does not become yet another security liability. We must also focus on securing the far edge much like we handle the data center edge today -- this will put new demands on incident detection and response. Future-ready capabilities like EDR (endpoint detection and response) will need to evolve in order to keep an expanding service level and constituency safe."

Kinetica's co-founder Amit Vij thinks geospatial data from 5G devices will open up new market opportunities. "Projections from Deloitte suggest that 40 percent of connected IoT devices will be capable of sharing their location by 2025, up from 10 percent in 2020 -- making geospatial data the fastest growing space in the data landscape and creating the potential for crisis within unprepared organizations. This acceleration of geospatial data will be driven by the declining cost of sensors, more satellites gathering time/space data, and 5G rollouts. This will open up new ways of using geospatial information. But managing fast-moving, high-volume location data in a reasonable timeframe has always been a challenge, and these new devices will make it even worse. IoT data has always had a time dimension, i.e. logs from smart devices about their interactions and changes in state, but now the space dimension is taking off, and many organizations don't have the skills or resources to cope with the onslaught. This will force them to explore new approaches and technologies to get the full value of time and space data. Early adopters will have a huge market opportunity within their respective industries, while slower organizations will risk getting left behind."

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