Destined to change the technological status quo, the Internet of Things (IoT) was dubbed the “Next Industrial Revolution.” From smart cars to self-monitoring medical devices and smart glass-paned tables that manage an entire factory production floor at the touch of a finger, IoT is no longer the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the growth of IoT in 2021. 2022 will likely continue to bring growth to IoT, allowing new possibilities to improve how we work and live.
Lockdowns and IoT Connectivity
During the early months of the pandemic, most of us were locked down in our homes. Shipping lanes that once filled the oceans with the sounds of diesel engines fell silent, and airports shut down while hotel lobbies gathered dust.
However, digital communications, led by Zoom and similar video conferencing platforms, considerably increased in usage and popularity. In fact, countries like the United States recorded a 100% upsurge in internet traffic. The role of 5G connectivity during the pandemic, or any kind of medical emergency for that matter, cannot be overstated.
For example, connected ambulances use IoT to equip medical staff with high-quality video calls so doctors and specialists at the hospital can attend to patients remotely, especially under social distancing measures.
Commercial IoT services, such as artificial intelligence-enabled remote patient monitoring and diagnoses stations, supported by 5G networks, allow anyone with a medical condition to report back to their local or central healthcare system without having to physically be present.
5G is allowing IoT to work more efficiently, linking the growth of 5G and IoT. In fact, JPMorgan expects that 2022 will be the year that 5G sees previously unmatched growth, which is due in no small part to the growing importance of commercial IoT.
The Hits and Misses of Digital Revolution In 2021
As we look back at 2021, we acknowledge that IoT stayed true to its purpose, delivering all the benefits it was expected to bring. From cost reductions that can reach up to 90 percent to speedy operations, better time management to data monitoring and automation and control, IoT helped to keep the world moving forward.
However, new technology tends to come at a cost. The introduction of new cellular endpoints, through cellular IoT devices, has meant increased vulnerability. As organizations are fast to adopt cellular IoT, cellular cybersecurity is working hard to catch up.
The introduction of cellular IoT monitoring solutions can help corporations empower employees to perform their jobs remotely. However, it can also introduce new endpoints that attackers can target.
Early in 2021, hackers tried to poison the Florida water supply. The attackers gained access to control and distribution systems and, if gone unnoticed, would have poisoned the entire system. As fortunate as it was to have the attack caught early, it’s a sobering reminder of the importance of securing IoT.
2022 IoT Forecast
COVID-19 lockdowns will, one day, be a page in the history books. However, some of the pandemic’s implications are permanent. Remote work is more than likely here to stay. Tech companies have been at the forefront of this change and are well-positioned for it. However, traditional industries, which until now required employees to work on-premise and interact with other workers, machinery, and vehicles in person, are increasingly realizing that 5G-powered cellular IoT devices can accelerate their digital transformation to the post-COVID-19 world.
Using cellular IoT technology, governments and large enterprises can finally cross the Rubicon from requiring on-premise work to enabling remote work productively and safely. For example, a cellular IoT-powered sensor can allow power plant staff to respond to and troubleshoot issues from halfway around the world. Then, they can dispatch crews. This all increases cost and time efficiency by detecting the causes of problems early.
Before we celebrate a bright shining future, we need to remind ourselves that the hyper-connectivity of critical infrastructure and high-value assets is calling criminals to initiate attacks that create physical harm.
The same government organizations and large enterprises that will be increasingly quick to adopt cellular IoT technology in 2022 should also be as quick, if not faster, to adopt security solutions to protect their employees and consumers from malicious cyberattacks.
2022 will be the year of cellular IoT. This innovative technology can truly revolutionize the way healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, governments, and more operate. The pandemic has made these industries poised for transformation. Therefore, we can very reasonably expect this to happen in 2022.
However, cyberattacks against critical infrastructure will attempt to dampen this transformative celebration. Comprehensive cellular security is critical to ensure cellular IoT’s digital transformation does not stop for any would-be attacker.