Report: Chip shortage and edge/IoT will drive IT change in 2022

Forrester Research says IT pros now think of IoT and edge as inextricably connected and that the two will be used to help enterprises comply with US government regulations.

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The author of a new report from Forrester Research says that the simultaneous growth of IoT and edge computing usage are interlinked, and that future growth in both areas will be fueled heavily by federal regulations to reduce emissions.

“We cannot disassociate the advancements in IoT without talking about the effect on edge,” he said. “They’re not distinct from each other..and the effect they have on use cases is combined.”

The demand for “sustainability-related service,” will place IoT and edge front and center, according to Forrester’s “Predictions 2022: Edge, IoT, And Networking” report. Environmental use cases like monitoring CO2 levels, pollution, and air quality will all be increasingly sought-after, as will IoT systems that allow businesses to manage their resources (think water and power usage) more efficiently.

Abhijit Sunil, the report’s primary author, said that this is a major trend, particularly among larger companies.

“We surveyed the Fortune 200 companies, and 58% of them had chief sustainability officers as of 2020,” he said. “Most of the rest of those organizations had some [other manager] in that role, looking at sustainability.”

It’s increasingly hard to separate IoT and edge from sustainability strategy in the corporate world, Sunil said, and for all the talk about how IoT and edge are moving technology out of the hands of IT and into the line of business, it’s still CIOs that are best-placed to take action.

“How can anyone influence an organization’s green IT strategy without understanding these emerging technologies?” he said.

Chip shortage

According to Forrester, the ongoing semiconductor shortage is unlikely to be resolved before the middle of 2023, which means that business and consumer IT products will suffer price instability and availability issues for months to come. That’s a particular problem for the IoT market, because most of the silicon supply will go toward the production of high-end CPUs and GPUs, according to Sunil. The microcontrollers and sensors that IoT devices require will therefore have even more supply chain issues.

“If we think about what IoT is, systems that talk to each other, all those things consist of some intelligent device that has a chip that enables these communications or storage or computation, so depending on the use case, the chip shortage will have ripple effects into all these markets,” he said.

5G or satellite?

In addition, the report predicted that 5G’s dominance as a next-gen connectivity option of choice, particularly in rural areas, could be supplanted by satellite links. The protracted, costly deployment of 5G leaves the door open for alternative WAN technologies. Low-orbiting Internet service like Starlink “shows more promise than 5G does” in rural areas, according to the report.

What’s more, wired network providers could begin to offer satellite Internet as a backup service—even if they don’t otherwise provide wireless connectivity.

Big DDoS attack

Given the IoT’s well-known weaknesses when it comes to security, Forrester predicts  a large-scale DDoS attack powered by an IoT botnet will knock out significant communications infrastructure. Citing the growing scale of IoT botnet attacks—a 17 million requests-per-second attack was mitigated last summer, followed closely by another that reached 22 million requests-per-second—the report said that an IoT botnet will reach the 30 million requests-per-second range in 2022, creating “economic pain” as it blocks critical communications for a significant period of time. Hence, Forrester suggested that organizations take a fresh look at their DDoS preparedness.

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