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Memfault 2022 Predictions: Balancing Unprecedented Challenges with Unprecedented Opportunities - What to Expect in the IoT in 2022

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Balancing Unprecedented Challenges with Unprecedented Opportunities - What to Expect in the IoT in 2022

By François Baldassari, CEO, Memfault

Change and growth have been foundational elements to the IoT. It is just now passing the tenth anniversary of being identified as an "on the rise" technology by Gartner. Current industry estimates suggest that 12.3 billion connected devices exist today, and analysts forecast we'll see over 27 billion connected devices by 2025. Looking ahead to 2022, IoT developers face a number of industry challenges at a time of unprecedented consumer demand, from supply chain issues to security vulnerabilities and connectivity hiccups, all with the potential to redefine the device development process and landscape. 

Below are a few predictions for the new year in IoT and how device developers can take advantage of the opportunities they present.

Product design will need to incorporate chipset shortages.

There's not a lot of short-term hope if you're looking at the component shortage. 75% of manufacturers report that demand for smart products is outpacing supply, and 61% report the semiconductor delays impact their ability to deliver new products, with almost a third reporting delays of more than seven months. This convergence of hyper-demand and the slowed supply won't abate anytime soon. And customer expectations are only growing. They want easy-to-use, convenient devices offering exclusive features,  regular updates and improvements, seamless integrations across various platforms, all while working perfectly with no bugs 100% of the time.

To rise to these challenges, OEMs will need to be flexible, and if necessary, redesign products around the chipsets that are available. Though not ideal, designs with flexible firmware that includes a strong hardware abstraction layer (HAL) are well-positioned to make the adjustments. For others, it'll be a longer slog. 

Cellular connectivity will continue to gain market share.

5G and improved capability of modules such as Nordic Semiconductor's nRF91 will power even more devices that can connect directly to the internet, bringing the edge to new locales. Strategy Analytics estimates that global IoT cellular connections are on pace to increase at a CAGR of 11%, and that 5G IoT connections will comprise 40% of all connections by 2030. 5G will not just have to improve upon LTE mobile broadband but will also need to enable entirely new use cases that are ultra-low latency and M2M. While developers take advantage of connectivity innovation, it requires an intentional shift of resources to developing new use cases that may be just a bit ahead of the connectivity curve. And in the space between 4G and 5G, developers can use edge compute to bridge the gap, enabling the real-time processing of data on 4G networks which would eventually move to 5G.

There will be increased urgency around privacy and security.

We're at a tipping point for the IoT and security for a number of reasons. The human dependence on connected devices, the deployment of devices across every sector of consumer and business life (including those which capture PII), and the degree of interconnectedness all contribute to a system where hacks, data leaks, and system failures result in much larger consequences than before. At the same time, the calls for industry regulation of the IoT have grown in volume and response, including May's Presidential Executive Order on Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity. The Order, which requires an exhaustive guide for IoT component labeling, product updates, data protection, and more, will be out in early 2022, with the expectations to direct governments and manufacturers to better secure and regulate IoT devices. For device developers, continuous secure software updates, tamper detection, and cryptographic identity for devices will become table stakes, while security teams will need to monitor for more anomalous network activity and establish stronger trusted device protocols. 

As we enter 2022, IoT device developers face a landscape that is as uncertain as it is exciting. The three big opportunities will be in building flexibility into the design process to adapt to production issues beyond their control, leaning into new use cases made possible by cellular connectivity, and establishing robust security on the front-end of development.



Francois Baldassari 

François Baldassari is the founder and CEO of Memfault, the connected device observability platform provider. An embedded software engineer by trade, Baldassari's passion for tooling and automation in software engineering drove him to start Memfault. Previous to Memfault, François led the firmware team at Oculus and built the OS at Pebble. Baldassari has a B.S. in electrical engineering from Brown University.

Published Monday, November 29, 2021 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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