For the mobile communications industry, security has always held a prominent role. However, the onset of 5G – which introduces new network architectures, services and devices – raises the stakes and increases the challenge for network operators. 5G is set to affect almost every aspect of life through hosting more critical infrastructure and enabling the development of a digital environment. This makes any breach potentially catastrophic, and governments are taking note – it’s therefore imperative … More
Network operator spend on multi-access edge computing (MEC) will grow from $2.7 billion in 2020, to $8.3 billion in 2025, as operators invest heavily in upgrading network capacities and infrastructure to support the increasing data generated by 5G networks, according to Juniper Research. The study also revealed that by 2025, the number of deployed multi-access edge computing nodes will reach 2 million globally in 2025, up from 230,000 in 2020. These devices, which take the … More
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Despite a global pandemic and economic challenges, the fifth generation of wireless 5G powered ahead at four times the speed of subscriber growth as 4G LTE, according to 5G Americas. 5G connections The world added 225 million 5G subscribers between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, a feat which required 4G LTE four years to attain. As of December 2020, there were 229 million 5G subscriptions globally, which represents an astonishing 66 percent increase over last … More
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Most professionals say their organizations are concerned about cybersecurity risks related to 5G adoption (76.4% of professionals at organizations currently use 5G and 80.7% of professionals at organizations plan to adopt 5G in the year ahead), according to a Deloitte poll.
“U.S. 5G bandwidth availability has expanded and accelerated considerably in recent months, offering competitive advantages technologically, financially and otherwise to early adopters,” said Wendy Frank, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory Cyber 5G leader and principal, Deloitte.
“Of course, with all the technological advancement 5G enables, the cyber threat landscape and attack surface areas expand considerably. Working proactively to mitigate cybersecurity risks posed by 5G adoption is the hallmark of a well-designed program.”
Biggest cybersecurity concerns for 5G adoption
The biggest cybersecurity concerns for 5G adoption differed by group. For professionals at organizations currently using 5G, talent posed the biggest cyber challenge to 5G adoption (30.1%), as appropriately skilled security professionals will be needed for implementation, maintenance and operations.
For respondents from organizations planning to adopt 5G in the year ahead, top cyber challenges were data (26.8%) – due to an increase in the volume and diversity of data created from 5G-enabled segments (e.g., IoT, ERP and sensitive data) as well as data mismanagement risks – and third parties (24.3%).
“For organizations leveraging 5G, cyber risk will mount quickly if challenges – like a lack sophisticated encryption, decentralized operations or security monitoring functioning to the detriment of performance speeds – are not resolved,” Frank said.
“Securing the vastly expanded threat landscape resulting from 5G adoption will demand two equally important efforts: getting the right talent in place or upskilled; and, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate areas like security policy configuration, compliance monitoring and threat and vulnerability detection.”
Pandemic impacts 5G adoption speeds
COVID-19 disruption had mixed impacts on respondents’ organizational plans to adopt 5G. For those at organizations currently using 5G, 32.2% increased adoption speed. Inversely, adoption speed decreased as a result of pandemic-driven disruption for 21.8% of those at organizations planning to adopt 5G in the year ahead.
Frank concluded, “The faster movement of data, the creation of new types of data and the ability to develop countless new IoT devices through 5G networks will disrupt most industries. But, just as with pandemic disruption, leading programs are working to keep security at the fore of 5G adoption.”
Against the backdrop of intensifying cyber conflicts and the rapidly evolving threat landscape, a new wave of techno-nationalism is being trumpeted from almost every corner of the world.
The U.K. just announced it will ban the installation of Huawei 5G gear by the end of September 2021 and the FCC rejected a petition from ZTE asking for reconsideration of their finding that the Chinese company is a national security threat to communications networks. Meanwhile, ByteDance is trying to meet the requirements of both the U.S. government and China’s new Export Control Law so that TikTok can continue to exist in the U.S.
The U.S. is also pushing to persuade countries like Brazil to shun Chinese equipment as they develop their digital infrastructures, offering financial assistance to use Washington-approved alternatives. This led to Brazil’s top four telecom companies refusing to meet with a senior U.S. official advocating for exclusion of Huawei from the Brazilian 5G market. In their home country of China, Huawei and other tech companies are grumbling about Nvidia’s acquisition of U.K. chip designer Arm (the deal is still awaiting regulatory approval).
Across the world today, people are using smartphones made in China, and have personal information scattered around various data centers in India or the Philippines, via hosted service providers and call centers. Data is now fluid, mobile and global – that genie is out of the bottle and embargos against specific companies’ or countries’ technologies will ultimately have limited impact from a security perspective.
A false sense of security
Techno-nationalism is fueled by a complex web of justified economic, political and national security concerns. Countries engaging in “protectionist” practices essentially ban or embargo specific technologies, companies, or digital platforms under the banner of national security, but we are seeing it used more often to send geopolitical messages, punish adversary countries, and/or prop up domestic industries.
Blanket bans give us a false sense of security. At the same time, when any hardware or software supplier is embedded within critical infrastructure – or on almost every citizen’s phone – we absolutely need to recognize the risk.
We need to take seriously the concern that their kit could contain backdoors that could allow that supplier to be privy to sensitive data or facilitate a broader cyberattack. Or, as is the lingering case with TikTok, the concern is whether the collection of data on U.S. citizens via an entertainment app could be forcibly seized under Chinese law and enable state-backed cyber actors to then target and track federal employees or conduct corporate espionage.
We cannot ignore that nation states around the world are increasingly turning to cyber operations to gather intelligence, wield influence, and disrupt their adversaries. But we must remember that technology made by those close to home, in proximity or ideology, does not put them out of reach of compromise or automatically make it more secure.
Digital deception and trust
Trust alone is never a sound security strategy. To echo the words of former U.S. President Reagan (who was, appropriately enough, quoting a Russian proverb): “Trust, but verify.” In cybersecurity, “verify” means not blindly trusting the technology you are leveraging, but instead taking the actions needed to monitor and audit in real-time.
Trust is a tool itself that attackers commonly employ in methods of digital deception. Indeed, spoofed login pages from reputable SaaS platforms have been used as a means of harvesting compromised credentials from unwitting victims.
Regardless of whether a cloud provider is based in the U.S., China, or elsewhere, attackers will still seek creative means to exploit both the vulnerabilities in these technologies and the ever-present threat of human error. For example, foreign actors will attempt to infiltrate the supply chains of hardware or software tools, sometimes by simply paying an insider to do the job for them.
In other words: purchasing decisions rooted in techno-nationalism, or, conversely, techno-globalism, are both essentially susceptible to the same security threats. And so, when we target a specific company or technology, rather than critically evaluate our underlying security strategy and defensive technologies, we do not actually strengthen our security posture, but instead chase a red herring.
National security is about much more than blanket bans on specific organizations and technologies. Rather, it is about cybersecurity and operations resilience against the ever-present reality of threats in cyber space—crucially, regardless of where the attacks come from or what technology attackers are targeting.
Building resilience moving forward
Nowadays, cyber-attacks are advancing at a rate that outpaces attempts to define indicators of threat in advance. The strength of any cyber-security stance accordingly lies in its ability to understand and maintain normal conditions internally, not in its attempts to predict the nature of future external threats. This truth holds regardless of whether the threat actor is motivated by financial, strategic or political concerns.
The focus on individual companies distracts from the realities of cyber-defense. Rather than decreasing or restricting the technology ecosystem, national security concerns can actually be advanced by gaining further visibility into critical digital environments. By gaining an in-depth understanding of these environments, we can manage risk in our complex landscape.
Historically, this level and scale of understanding into the ever-growing complexity of digital environments would have been at the limits of a human security team, more likely beyond. However, it is not beyond those teams leveraging AI and machine learning. These technologies excel at achieving a comprehensive and granular understanding of the behaviors and technologies that comprise a technology ecosystem.
Today’s techno-nationalism is taking off and will probably continue to do so because it is responding to real issues in a very observable way, even though it is ultimately ineffective. And so, the stakes remain high. Hidden backdoors in component parts and supply side technologies are used as an entry point for foreign malicious actors. Once attackers gain entry, economic espionage can lead to incalculable financial damage. Further, disrupted critical national infrastructure, such as power grids and gas lines, can lead to devastating costs for a nation.
The persistence of these threats calls for a practical response. Techno-nationalism, though rising in popularity, simply does not rise to the greater security challenge. Rather than blocking access to foreign technologies in a great game of whack-a-mole, national security can actually be advanced by implementing AI enabled digital understanding. The rigid scrutiny and real time attack disruption achieved by AI’s wholistic approach provides robust cyber defense across the full range of technologies that can be implemented, regardless of the attack’s origin.
The global network slicing market size is projected to grow from $161 million in 2020 to $1,284 million by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 51.5% during the forecast period, according to MarketsandMarkets.
The network slicing market is gaining traction due to the evolution of cellular network technology, which has offered higher data speeds and lower latency. The rapid rise in the volume of data being carried by cellular networks has been driven largely by consumer demand for video and the shift of business toward the use of cloud services.
Services segment to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period
Services play a vital role in the deployment and integration of next-generation networking solutions in an enterprise’s business environment. Services are considered an important component of the network slicing market, as they majorly focus on improving the business processes and optimizing the enterprise’s network.
Services are considered as the backbone of network slicing, as they are instrumental in fulfilling the clients’ requirements, such as network testing, planning and optimization, support and maintenance, and consulting
Automotive segment to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period
The automotive industry also makes use of the 5G technology to boost the productivity, enhance the efficiency, increase drive the brand loyalty, and offer autonomous and cooperative vehicles with significantly improved security standards and multimodal transportation solutions.
The introduction of next-generation technologies, such as 5G gave birth to numerous applications, such as AR, virtual realityVR, and tactile internet.
North America region to record the highest market share in 2020
North America is one of the most technologically advanced regions in the world. Consumers based in this region have readily adopted 4G-enabled smartphones that make the region as one of the established and most advanced mobile regions in the world.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report published in 2017, North America records the largest use of smartphones, and traffic per smartphone is expected to increase from 7.1GB per month by the end of 2017 to 48GB by the end of 2023.
The increasing number of internet subscribers, expanding mobile data traffic, and growing government emphasis on enhancing telecommunications infrastructure to meet the users’ demand for seamless connectivity would drive the market to a great extent in the region.
Further, the region is expected to be the early adopter of 5G services in areas such as AR/VR, autonomous driving, and AI owing to the high customer digital engagement.
IEEE released the results of a survey of CIOs and CTOs in the U.S., U.K., China, India and Brazil regarding the most important technologies for 2021 overall, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the speed of their technology adoption and the industries expected to be most impacted by technology in the year ahead.
2021 most important technologies and challenges
Which will be the most important technologies in 2021? Among total respondents, 32% say AI and machine learning, followed by 5G (20%) and IoT (14%).
Manufacturing (19%), healthcare (18%), financial services (15%) and education (13%) are the industries that most believe will be impacted by technology in 2021, according to CIOs and CTOS surveyed.
At the same time, 52% of CIOs and CTOs see their biggest challenge in 2021 as dealing with aspects of COVID-19 recovery in relation to business operations. These challenges include a permanent hybrid remote and office work structure (22%), office and facilities reopenings and return (17%), and managing permanent remote working (13%).
However, 11% said the agility to stop and start IT initiatives as this unpredictable environment continues will be their biggest challenge. Another 11% cited online security threats, including those related to remote workers, as the biggest challenge they see in 2021.
Technology adoption, acceleration and disaster preparedness due to COVID-19
CIOs and CTOs surveyed have sped up adopting some technologies due to the pandemic:
- 55% of respondents have accelerated adoption of cloud computing
- 52% have accelerated 5G adoption
- 51% have accelerated AI and machine learning
The adoption of IoT (42%), augmented and virtual reality (35%) and video conferencing (35%) technologies have also been accelerated due to the global pandemic.
Compared to a year ago, 92% of CIOs and CTOs believe their company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster. What’s more, of those who say they are better prepared, 58% strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness.
When asked which technologies will have the greatest impact on global COVID-19 recovery, 25% of those surveyed said AI and machine learning.
The top two concerns for CIOs and CTOs when it comes to the cybersecurity of their organization are security issues related to the mobile workforce including employees bringing their own devices to work (37%) and ensuring the IoT is secure (35%). This is not surprising, since the number of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots and drones is increasing dramatically.
34% of CIO and CTO respondents said they can track and manage 26-50% of devices connected to their business, while 20% of those surveyed said they could track and manage 51-75% of connected devices.
With enterprise 5G maturing, the importance of private networks for the enterprise domain will continue to grow.
According to ABI Research, the demand for private network deployments will be driven primarily by heavy industry verticals. Industrial manufacturing, energy production (including mining, oil and gas, and logistics) alone will generate private network revenues of $32.38 billion by 2030, representing half of the $64 Billion overall private network revenues.
“These findings show the importance of private networks, particularly for automating mission- or even life-critical use cases, that require the highest possible network reliability and availability and are characterized by a high degree of network integrity to prevent data from leaving the enterprise premises,” says Leo Gergs, Research Analyst for 5G Markets at ABI Research.
“Enterprises that require network slicing capabilities to separate mission-critical from non-mission-critical use cases within the same physical network will turn to private networks.”
What’s causing the surge in private network demand?
Two main factors are causing the surge in private network demand. Gergs explains, “First, there is a huge rise in demand for automation and enterprise digitization. What has started with Industry 4.0 is now exacerbated by the aftermath of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
“Enterprises in industrial manufacturing, logistics, and oil and gas are now accelerating their digitization plans to reduce their dependency on manual labor availability and increase the resilience of their business operations against sudden disruptions to supply chains. The second is the addition to the demand-side effect.”
Gergs continues, “The market for private network deployments will also benefit from a supply-side effect. The freeze of Release 16 gives enterprises the much-needed reassurance of 5G capabilities for enterprise-grade connectivity, which allows chipset and module manufacturers to grow the device ecosystem for compatible hardware.
“The maturing device ecosystem, in turn, drives down prices per module and therefore makes the deployment of private 5G network more cost-efficient, which will spur additional interest from enterprises.”
A durable business strategy is key
There is a growing number of private network offerings emerging on the market to address this rising opportunity. While private network operators like Ambra, Citymesh or Edzcom are threatening traditional CSPs’ market share by monetizing managed services other than connectivity, hyperscalers like AWS, Google, and IBM are launching their private network offerings in co-creation efforts with telco players.
In addition, software companies like Athonet or Quortus benefit from trends toward network virtualization, which allows them to offer a virtualized core network either through System Integrators or to enterprises directly.
“These breathtaking developments show the amazing pace at which this market is evolving. Against this backdrop, it is important that all players in the enterprise connectivity domain develop a durable business strategy to profit from this rising market,” concludes Gergs.
The introduction of 5G will change the way we communicate, multiply the capacity of the information highways, and allow everyday objects to connect to each other in real time.
Its deployment constitutes a true technological revolution not without some security hazards. Until 5G technology has definitively expanded, some challenges remain to be resolved, including those concerning possible eavesdropping, interference and identity theft.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, are emerging as enablers for supporting many applications and services, such as precision agriculture, search and rescue, or in the field of communications, for temporary network deployment and their coverage extension and security.
Giovanni Geraci, a researcher with the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) at UPF, points out in a recent study: “On the one hand, it is important to protect the network when it is disturbed by a drone that has connected and generates interference. On the other, in the future, the same drones could assist in the prevention, detection, and recovery of attacks on 5G networks”.
The study poses two different cases
First, the use of UAVs to prevent possible attacks, still in its early stages of research, and, secondly, how to protect the network when disturbed by a drone, a much more realistic, as Geraci explains: “A drone could be the source of interference to users. This can happen if the drone is very high up and when its transmissions travel a long distance because there are no obstacles in the way, such as buildings”.
The integration of UAV devices in future mobile networks may expose the latter to potential risks of attack based on UAVs. UAVs with cellular connection may experience radio propagation characteristics that are probably different from those experienced by a terrestrial user.
Once a UAV flies well above the base stations, they can create interference or even rogue applications, such as a mobile phone connected to a UAV without authorization.
Using drones to improve 5G security
Based on the premise that 5G terrestrial networks will never be 100% secure, the authors of this study also suggest using UAVs to improve 5G network security and beyond wireless access.
“In particular, in our research we have considered jamming, identity theft, or ‘spoofing’, eavesdropping, and the mitigation mechanisms that are enabled by the versatility of UAVs”, the researchers explain.
The study shows several areas in which the diversity and 3D mobility of UAVs can effectively improve the security of advanced wireless networks against eavesdropping, interference and ‘spoofing’, before they occur or for rapid detection and recovery.
“The article raises open questions and research directions, including the need for experimental evaluation and a research platform for prototyping and testing the proposed technologies”, Geraci explains.
The global number of industrial IoT connections will increase from 17.7 billion in 2020 to 36.8 billion in 2025, representing an overall growth rate of 107%, Juniper Research found.
The research identified smart manufacturing as a key growth sector of the industrial IoT market over the next five years, accounting for 22 billion connections by 2025.
The research predicted that 5G and LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) networks will play pivotal roles in creating attractive service offerings to the manufacturing industry, and enabling the realisation of the ‘smart factory’ concept, in which real-time data transmission and high connection densities allow highly-autonomous operations for manufacturers.
5G to maximise benefits of smart factories
The report identified private 5G services as crucial to maximising the value of a smart factory to service users, by leveraging the technology to enable superior levels of autonomy amongst operations.
It found that private 5G networks will prove most valuable when used for the transmission of large amounts of data in environments with a high density of connections, and where significant levels of data are generated. In turn, this will enable large-scale manufacturers to reduce operational spend through efficiency gains.
Software revenue to dominate industrial IoT market value
The research forecasts that over 80% of global industrial IoT market value will be attributable to software spend by 2025, reaching $216 billion. Software tools leveraging machine learning for enhanced data analysis and the identification of network vulnerabilities are now essential to connected manufacturing operations.
Research author Scarlett Woodford noted: “Manufacturers must exercise caution when implementing IoT technology, resisting the temptation to introduce connectivity to all aspects of operations. Instead, manufacturers must focus on the collection of data on the most valuable areas to drive efficiency gains.”
Attacks on IoT devices continue to rise at an alarming rate due to poor security protections and cybercriminals use of automated tools to exploit these vulnerabilities, according to Nokia.
IoT devices most infected
The report found that internet-connected, or IoT, devices now make up roughly 33% of infected devices, up from about 16% in 2019. The report’s findings are based on data aggregated from monitoring network traffic on more than 150 million devices globally.
Adoption of IoT devices, from smart home security monitoring systems to drones and medical devices, is expected to continue growing as consumers and enterprises move to take advantage of the high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and fundamentally new networking capabilities that 5G mobile networks enable, according to the report.
The rate of success in infecting IoT devices depends on the visibility of the devices to the internet, according to the report. In networks where devices are routinely assigned public facing internet IP addresses, a high infection rate is seen.
In networks where carrier-grade Network Address Translation is used, the infection rate is considerably reduced, because the vulnerable devices are not visible to network scanning.
Cybercriminals taking advantage of the pandemic
The report also reveals there is no let up in cybercriminals using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal personal data through a variety of types of malware. One in particular is disguised as a Coronavirus Map application – mimicking the legitimate and authoritative Coronavirus Map issued by Johns Hopkins University – to take advantage of the public’s demand for accurate information about COVID-19 infections, deaths and transmissions.
But the bogus application is used to plant malware on victims’ computers to exploit personal data. “Cybercriminals are playing on people’s fears and are seeing this situation as an opportunity to promote their agendas,” the report says. The report urges the public to install applications only from trusted app stores, like Google and Apple.
Bhaskar Gorti, President and Chief Digital Officer, Nokia, said: “The sweeping changes that are taking place in the 5G ecosystem, with even more 5G networks being deployed around the world as we move to 2021, open ample opportunities for malicious actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities in IoT devices.
“This report reinforces not only the critical need for consumers and enterprises to step up their own cyber protection practices, but for IoT device producers to do the same.”
Operator‑billed revenue from 5G connections will reach $357 billion by 2025, rising from $5 billion in 2020, its first full year of commercial service, according to Juniper Research.
By 2025, 5G revenue is anticipated to represent 44% of global operator‑billed revenue owing to rapid migration of 4G mobile subscribers to 5G networks and new business use cases enabled by 5G technology.
However, the study identified 5G networks roll-outs as highly resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic. It found that supply chain disruptions caused by the initial pandemic period have been mitigated through modified physical roll-out procedures, in order to maintain the momentum of hardware deployments.
5G connections to generate 250% more revenue than average cellular connection
The study found that 5G uptake had surpassed initial expectations, predicting total 5G connections will surpass 1.5 billion by 2025. It also forecast that the average 5G connection will generate 250% more revenue than an average cellular connection by 2025.
To secure a return on investment into new services, such as uRLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication) and network slicing, enabled by 5G, operators will apply this premium pricing for 5G connections.
However, these services alongside the high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G will create data-intensive use cases that lead to a 270% growth in data traffic generated by all cellular connections over the next five years.
Networks must increase virtualisation to handle 5G data traffic
Operators must use future launches of standalone 5G network as an opportunity to further increase virtualisation in core networks. Failure to develop 5G network architectures that handle increasing traffic will lead to reduced network functionality, inevitably leading to a diminished value proposition of its 5G network amongst end users.
Research author Sam Barker remarked: “Operators will compete on 5G capabilities, in terms of bandwidth and latency. A lesser 5G offering will lead to user churn to competing networks and missed opportunities in operators’ fastest-growing revenue stream.”
Business support systems (BSS) are necessary to provide the fast-changing requirements in 5G and enhance customer experiences, a Frost & Sullivan research reveals.
They also help communication service providers (CSPs) deliver personalized service experiences for consumers and businesses.
BSS market could experience a slowdown
Vendors have introduced advanced BSS features, including the ability to support flexible deployments (core and edge) and options for network slice lifecycle management, which are critical in helping CSPs deliver on multi-partner business models.
However, due to COVID-19, the global BSS market is estimated to experience a slowdown in the short term, whereas the long-term outlook remains positive.
“It is evident that BSS can significantly drive efforts to help organizations address key concerns such as introducing digital services and enabling customers to personalize their service experience,” said Vikrant Gandhi, Senior Industry Director, Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.
“However, businesses from across many other industry verticals are still relatively early in their digitization efforts and are facing issues similar to those of CSPs in the early days of their digital transformation efforts.”
Gandhi added: “Given the evolving situation, it is more critical than ever for wireless networks to function reliably and support the connectivity requirements across the board. BSS vendors are supporting existing 4G (and earlier generations) network services that currently drive the majority of their revenue.
“Going forward, while the wireless industry remains a priority for BSS vendors, they are also able to align BSS solutions to meet the needs of communications, financial services, healthcare, and media and entertainment companies, as well as government entities.”
BSS vendors can partner with CSPs to create immense growth prospects
- Pioneer new price plans and partner-based business models such as B2B, B2C, and B2B2X for 5G success.
- Introduce AI-driven BSS and customer experience solutions that help CSPs deliver differentiated 5G services.
- Leverage cloud-native principles and support flexible deployments (core and edge) to help operators monetize different features of the network and create new opportunities.
- Implement a robust 5G policy that can set performance characteristics, including quality of service (QoS) and latency. With 5G, the policy can control networks and services down to the device level to ensure the best customer experience while managing valuable network resources.
5G is set to deliver higher data transfer rates for mission-critical communications and will allow massive broadband capacities, enabling high-speed communication across various applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.
According to a study from CommScope, only 46% of respondents feel their current network infrastructure is capable of supporting 5G, but 68% think 5G will have a significant impact on their agency operations within one to four years.
Of the respondents who do not feel their current infrastructure is capable of supporting 5G, none have deployed 5G, 19% are piloting, 43% are planning to pilot, and 52% are not planning or evaluating whether to pilot 5G.
Costs reported as top barriers to 5G implementation
According to the report, ongoing and initial costs are reported as top barriers for federal agencies wishing to implement 5G – 44% believe initial/up-front costs will be the biggest barrier and 49% are concerned about ongoing costs.
“This study indicates that federal agencies are at the beginning stages of 5G evaluation and deployment. As they are looking to finalize their strategy for connectivity, agencies should also consider private networks, whether those are private LTE networks, private 5G networks, or a migration from one to the other to ensure flexibility and scalability.”
Desired outcomes for federal agencies
Remote employee productivity (40%) is one of the top desired outcomes for federal agencies looking to implement 5G, along with introducing high bandwidth (39%), higher throughput (39%) and better connectivity (38%).
Additional findings from the study include:
- 32% hope that 5G will make it easier to share information securely and 32% would like to see easier access to data
- 82% plan to or have already adopted 5G with 6% having already deployed 5G, 14% piloting 5G and 62% evaluating/planning to pilot 5G
- 71% are looking at hardware, software or endpoint upgrades to support 5G
- 83% believe it is very/somewhat important for mission-critical traffic on the agency network to remain onsite while 64% feel it is very/somewhat important
Policymakers should focus on five critical success factors in order to ensure the US continues to build its emerging 5G economy, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Drawing on an in-depth analysis of the factors that secured America’s leadership of the 4G economy, the study concludes that spectrum availability and wireless network deployments, along with broader economic factors such as a pro-investment and innovation business climate, private sector R&D, and workforce readiness are key to expanding a country’s 5G penetration rate and 5G-powered economic growth.
“A country’s 5G progress shouldn’t be based on misleading snapshots in time such as the number of 5G subscribers or the amount of 5G base stations deployed in a given quarter,” said Enrique Duarte Melo, a BCG managing director and senior partner and lead author of the report.
“Policymakers should instead look at how these factors—network coverage, spectrum availability, the quality of the innovation ecosystem, business climate, and technology talent—will blend together to drive 5G penetration and make 5G use cases widely available throughout society.”
Spectrum is the foundation of mobile wireless service, and particularly for 5G networks, providers need a mix of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum.
The study finds that the US has made significant amounts of low- and high-band spectrum available, but lags in crucial midband spectrum.
Widespread network deployment is critical to laying the foundations of a 5G economy and achieving high levels of wireless penetration—the number of active 5G subscribers per capita.
The study finds that US telecom companies have invested seven times more than Chinese companies and that from 2020 to 2025, US operators are expected to invest over $250 billion to build 5G networks, more than any other country.
Strong R&D investment and IP protection will help spur the development of innovative new 5G services as well as cross-industry collaboration.
The study finds that US technology and telecom companies spend significantly more on R&D, as a percentage of sales, than other global competitors. On an absolute basis, US wireless companies invest five times as much as Chinese companies.
Capital expenditures and investment and an openness to risk-taking, combined with business-friendly policies, will create an environment conducive to wireless innovation and entrepreneurship.
The study finds that the US ranks in the top three nations on key drivers of new business creation and ranks first for entrepreneurship. It’s also home to 12 of the world’s top 30 cities for startups and serves as a startup hub for key 5G technologies like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
A workforce with digital and technical skills will provide countries the expertise to build state-of-the-art wireless networks and develop new 5G applications.
The study finds that the US’s ability to attract the best global talent has promoted innovation and that training and retraining employees in tech-related certifications and degrees will be critical.
Further, the study finds that that the foremost impact of 5G will be the services and applications unlocked by powerful and ubiquitous 5G networks.
Emerging markets have always been behind developed countries in adopting the latest generation mobile networks, with a few exceptions. While it would be safe to assume that emerging markets would also lag in 5G adoption, global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, finds that emerging countries will have faster than expected 5G subscriber adoption.
The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5G subscriptions in emerging markets is estimated to be 26% between 2020 to 2030, an impressive rate considering the global CAGR of 5G subscriptions is only a slightly higher 28% in the same period.
“The pace of the 5G rollout in emerging markets will be expedited by a combination of regulatory enablement, enabling technologies, such as edge computing and OpenRAN (ORAN), and the broader use cases that 5G brings forward,” explains Miguel Castaneda, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.
Contributing factors spurring emerging countries’ 5G adoption
The underlying impediments on nationwide 5G deployment in emerging countries are based on the capital-intensive 5G infrastructure and the declining financial health of the emerging markets’ telecommunications sector. These factors are compounded when considering the additional logistical and financial factors for countries such as Vietnam or Thailand that have larger rural populations. Operators in these countries need to exhaust all options that can help alleviate the financial burden of 5G rollout.
Emerging countries should also pay heed to factors that contribute to the growing impetus of 5G rollouts. Changing consumer demographics, the proliferation of smartphone usage, and affordable 5G devices have spurred an exponential increase in emerging countries’ data consumption.
Despite having a rural population of around 65%, ABI Research forecasts India’s mobile data traffic, based on 1.2 billion subscribers, to balloon to 160.4 Exabytes by 2025. This figure exceeds the combined mobile data traffic of developed countries like South Korea, United Kingdom, and Germany in the same year, which is 159.7 Exabytes. “Emerging countries that strongly rely on agriculture or manufacturing production would also stand to benefit from the digital transformation capabilities of 5G enterprise,” Castaneda points out.
This surge in data consumption, device affordability, and potential of broader use cases should therefore prompt regulators and operators in adopting proactive strategies in establishing their respective 5G networks. Countries such as India and Vietnam are building their own 5G ecosystem through local telecommunication and software vendors.
Developments and innovations in fixed wireless access (FWA) create more financial incentives for 5G rollout into rural regions and helps governments in emerging markets to fulfill their national coverage plans. 5G-enabling technologies such as distributed edge computing, the ORAN initiative, and network slicing have given emerging countries more tools in accelerating the pace of a more digitalized economy.
Regulators also play a critical role as they can initiate enabling policies and initiatives to improve the business case of 5G rollout for financially strapped operators in these emerging countries.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the social fabric and economic activities of our countries, emerging markets are constantly reminded of the importance of a connected world. 5G will address the issue of supply chain resiliency and provide new business models in enterprises. These deployments can serve as a great complementary technology for key national initiatives, such as the Thailand 4.0 Smart City Initiative, India’s Smart City Mission, and the Vision of Indonesia 2045,” Castaneda concludes.
67% of business and IT managers expect the sheer quantity of data to grow nearly five times by 2025, a Splunk survey reveals.
The research shows that leaders see the significant opportunity in this explosion of data and believe data is extremely or very valuable to their organization in terms of: overall success (81%), innovation (75%) and cybersecurity (78%).
81% of survey respondents believe data to be very or highly valuable yet 57% fear that the volume of data is growing faster than their organizations’ ability to keep up.
“The aata age is here. We can now quantify how data is taking center stage in industries around the world. As this new research demonstrates, organizations understand the value of data, but are overwhelmed by the task of adjusting to the many opportunities and threats this new reality presents,” said Doug Merritt, President and CEO, Splunk.
“There are boundless opportunities for organizations willing to quickly learn and adapt, embrace new technologies and harness the power of data.”
The data age has been accelerated by emerging technologies powered by, and contributing to, exponential data growth. Chief among these emerging technologies are Edge Computing, 5G networking, IoT, AI/ML, AR/VR and Blockchain.
It’s these very same technologies 49% of those surveyed expect to use to harness the power of data, but across technologies, on average, just 42% feel they have high levels of understanding of all six.
Data is valuable, and data anxiety is real
To thrive in this new age, every organization needs a complete view of its data — real-time insight, with the ability to take real-time action. But many organizations feel overwhelmed and unprepared. The study quantifies the emergence of a data age as well as the recognition that organizations have some work to do in order to use data effectively and be successful.
- Data is extremely or very valuable to organizations in terms of: overall success (81%), innovation (75%) and cybersecurity (78%).
- And yet, 66% of IT and business managers report that half or more of their organizations’ data is dark (untapped, unknown, unused) — a 10% increase over the previous year.
- 57% say the volume of data is growing faster than their organizations’ ability to keep up.
- 47% acknowledge their organizations will fall behind when faced with rapid data volume growth.
Some industries are more prepared than others
The study quantifies the emergence of a data age and the adoption of emerging technologies across industries, including:
- Across industries, IoT has the most current users (but only 28%). 5G has the fewest and has the shortest implementation timeline at 2.6 years.
- Confidence in understanding of 5G’s potential varies: 59% in France, 62% in China and only 24% in Japan.
- For five of the six technologies, financial services leads in terms of current development of use cases. Retail comes second in most cases, though retailers lag notably in adoption of AI.
- 62% of healthcare organizations say that half or more of their data is dark and that they struggle to manage and leverage data.
- The public sector lags commercial organizations in adoption of emerging technologies.
- Manufacturing leaders predict growth in data volume (78%) than in any other industry; 76% expect the value of data to continue to rise.
Some countries are more prepared than others
The study also found that countries seen as technology leaders, like the U.S. and China, are more likely to be optimistic about their ability to harness the opportunities of the data age.
- 90% of business leaders from China expect the value of data to grow. They are by far the most optimistic about the impact of emerging technologies, and they are getting ready. 83% of Chinese organizations are prepared, or are preparing, for rapid data growth compared to just 47% across all regions.
- U.S. leaders are the second most confident in their ability to prepare for rapid data growth, with 59% indicating that they are at least somewhat confident.
- In France, 59% of respondents say that no one in their organization is having conversations about the impact of the data age. Meanwhile, in Japan 67% say their organization is struggling to stay up to date, compared to the global average of 58%.
- U.K. managers report relatively low current usage of emerging technologies but are optimistic about plans to use them in the future. For example, just 19% of U.K. respondents say they are currently using AI/ML technologies, but 58% say they will use them in the near future.
There are clear benefits of 5G SIM capabilities to protect the most prominent personal data involved in mobile communications, according to the Trusted Connectivity Alliance.
Addressing privacy risks
The IMSI, known as a Subscription Permanent Identifier (SUPI) in 5G, is the unique identifier allocated to an individual SIM by an MNO. Despite representing highly personal information, the IMSI is exposed to significant security vulnerabilities as it is sent unencrypted over-the-air in 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.
Most notably, ‘IMSI catchers’ are readily and inexpensively available and can be used to illegally monitor a subscriber’s location, calls and messages.
“To address the significant privacy risks posed by IMSI catchers, the 5G standards introduced the possibility for MNOs to encrypt the IMSI before it is sent over-the-air,” comments Claus Dietze, Chair of Trusted Connectivity Alliance.
“But as the standards state that encryption can be performed either by the SIM or by the device, and even be deactivated, there is potential for significant variability in terms of implementation. This creates scenarios where the IMSI is not sufficiently protected and the subscriber’s personal data is potentially exposed.”
Managing IMSI encryption within the 5G SIM
Given these scenarios, the white paper recommends that MNOs consider limiting the available implementation options to rely on proven, certified solutions. Of the available options, executing IMSI encryption within the 5G SIM, which refers to both the SIM or eSIM as defined by Trusted Connectivity Alliance as the Recommended 5G SIM, emerges as a comprehensive solution when examined against a range of key criteria. This includes ownership and control, the security of the SIM and its production process, and certification and interoperability.
“Eurosmart fully supports the Trusted Connectivity Alliance position on subscriber privacy encryption, and agrees it should be managed within the 5G SIM. If we consider the direct impact on the security and resilience of critical infrastructures and essential services, and the requirements of the NIS directives, it is also apparent that a robust regulatory response is warranted to support these recommendations,” adds Philippe Proust, President of Eurosmart.
“We therefore contend that regulatory measures should be implemented to define an ad hoc security certification scheme addressing IMSI encryption within the 5G SIM under the EU Cybersecurity Act. In addition, it should be a requirement for the IMSI to be encrypted within the 5G SIM, and for the 5G SIM to be mandatorily security certified to demonstrate its capabilities.”
Claus concludes: “Managing IMSI encryption within the 5G SIM delivers control, best-in-class security and interoperability to prevent malicious and unlawful interception. And with 5G creating a vast array of new use-cases, SIM-based encryption is the only viable way to establish interoperability across emerging consumer and industrial IoT use-cases and, ultimately, enable a secure connected future.”
While 5G sometimes seems like the panacea for just about everything, it will likely intensify the already common friction between NetOps and SecOps teams that will take part in deployments and operations of the 5G mobile network. Besides faster speeds, lower latency, greater coverage and ultra-reliable mobile services across new radio spectrums, 5G brings tectonic changes in mobile architecture and enables totally novel applications with highly complex requirements.
One of the major changes in 5G architecture is the virtualization and network slicing that makes NetOps and SecOps monitoring and control even more challenging. Even the idea of fully understanding a network and all that it includes becomes more difficult and perplexing.
Additionally, a likely surge in the use of IoT devices and mission-critical applications demanding low latency communications adds complexity and complications. These challenges apply to both security and networking. Specifically, the threat surface will be increased as more devices will be connected to more cells.
Just to highlight the tip of the iceberg, we need to consider the fact that some IoT devices likely have lower security capabilities and are even subject to physical security risks as many small cells that will be used indoors and outdoors on lights, signs, storage areas and other infrastructure. Some of these may be cameras, proximity sensors and other kinds of detectors.
As a result, NetOps and SecOps teams will need greater network visibility, assessment tools and security measures. Most of all, teams will need a far greater level of agility to stay ahead of such dynamic changes, both to the network itself, the traffic utilizing it, and the connected elements that can start from machine to machine elements, such as operational technology sensors and controllers, and go far beyond to augmented reality applications.
These new conditions aggravate the traditional networking and security challenges and threaten to intensify the friction between the organizations. 5G standardization has an enhanced security framework over 4G, but there are various new implementations and complexities of design, and NetOps and SecOps teams need to come together to achieve greater agility and accommodate changes and challenges to their new mobile networks more quickly and more efficiently. Today’s means of resolving these differences need to evolve, as teams are already overworked and under-staffed and generally slow in making or accommodating changes to the network.
In new 5G deployments, there will be two options for enterprises:
1. Connect to a public 5G mobile network that’s owned and operated by a mobile operator.
2. Deploy and operate its own private 5G network with non-licensed radio spectrum, known as 3GPP release 16. This is a new standard that will be a new alternative to Wi-Fi and LTE networks with special purpose-build requirements for private industrial networks. This mode can be operated as an outsourced deployment or using a consultancy service or a “build it yourself” model that will probably be more feasible for companies as the technology matures.
Many large industrial and manufacturing enterprises with mega-sites or even multiple sites that will require private mobile interconnections, will select the second option to enable their mobile private communications and reduce dependencies with more control to adapt the mobile network to their business processes and special requirements. Some of the most attractive 5G use cases will justify this trend and will streamline a digital transformation of old industries that are still lagging behind.
Being in control of quality, coverage and operational requirements will drive internal teams to collaborate based on corporate directives and foster security measures on people, processes and connected elements and applications. Organizations putting a premium on security will push enterprises to lean towards private 5G enterprise networks because of the complete segregation it offers. Since 5G slicing that is performed on a public network might share the same physical infrastructure with virtual slices that logically separate customers, sharing the same physical infrastructure by multiple customers will be still a valid concern.
New forms of network virtualization brought by 5G – and specifically private 5G – present new requirements for monitoring, management and security. In particular, the dynamic nature of creating a new slice or segmentation in a mission-critical environment, seemingly out of the blue, or reverting back or changing existing ones calls for constant vigilance. The rise of virtualized computing presented its challenges to security, and new solutions and practices arose to meet them. In much the same way, these virtualized networking practices will create new security challenges and solutions.
5G network slicing is a paramount challenge and operational teams will need to collaborate on having clear procedures that impact both mobile and wireline infrastructure. Additionally, new technology adaption takes time and requires careful planning to inspect various dynamic scenarios that not necessarily known before.
As 5G unlicensed networking will be adapted gradually by the enterprise as a private 5G local area network, it’s hard to know what changes to plan for, so the best planning must be in the form of creating far more streamlined NetOps and SecOps teams that can work together under the same corporate directives to accomplish business objectives and insure top security posture.
This is a new paradigm shift for Enterprise to adopt novel mobile technology and accelerate digital transformation. Organizations will gain new, important capabilities, but they will also be presented with new challenges. Embracing these factors requires evolving from old ways of distancing NetOps and SecOps with opposing roles to more co-team relationships where both can work together more effectively.
Edge computing is a foundational technology for industrial enterprises as it offers shorter latencies, robust security, responsive data collection, and lower costs, Frost & Sullivan finds.
In this hyper-connected industrial environment, edge computing, with its solution-agnostic attribute, can be used across various applications, such as autonomous assets, remote asset monitoring, data extraction from stranded assets, autonomous robotics, autonomous vehicles, and smart factories.
Multi-access edge computing market growth rate and revenue
Despite being in a nascent stage, the multi-access edge computing (MEC) market – an edge computing commercial offering from operators in wireless networks – is estimated to grow at an astounding compound annual growth rate of 157.4%, garnering a revenue of $7.23 billion by 2024 from $64.1 million in 2019.
“The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them,” said Renato Pasquini, Information & Communication Technologies Research Director at Frost & Sullivan.
“Going forward, 5G and MEC are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and also enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business (B2B) segment of telecom service providers using the platform.”
Pasquini added: “From the perspective of the MEC ecosystem, software—edge application and solutions—promises the highest CAGR followed by services—telecom operators’ services, cloud providers’ infrastructure-as-a-service, and edge data center colocation services.”
Growth prospects for MEC market participants
It is predicted that approximately 90% of industrial enterprises will utilize edge computing by 2022, presenting immense growth prospects for MEC market participants, including:
- Telecom operators should work on solutions and services to meet the requirements for connected and autonomous cars.
- System integrators should provide end-to-end solutions, which would be a significant value addition for enterprises because 5G requires specific skillsets.
- The combination of 5G and the new specialized hardware-based mobile edge compute technologies can meet the market’s streaming media needs now and in the future.
- Telecom operators must partner with cloud providers and companies with abilities related to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision to design solutions for autonomous cars, drone delivery, and others.
- Companies in the MEC space must capitalize on the opportunity for innovation and new developments that utilize 5G and MEC, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which can also be applied to games.
A global research report by Lenovo highlights the triumphs, challenges and the consequences of the sudden shift to work-from-home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic and how companies and their IT departments can power the new era of working remotely that will follow.
The study looks at how employees worldwide are responding to the “new normal” after 72 percent of those surveyed confirmed a shift in their daily work dynamic in the last three months. Employees feel more connected and more productive than ever before as they WFH, but the data shows financial, physical and emotional downsides for the global workforce.
“This data gave us valuable insights on the complex relationship employees have with technology as work and personal are becoming more intertwined with the increase in working from home,” commented Dilip Bhatia, Vice President of Global User and Customer Experience at Lenovo.
“Respondents globally feel more reliant on their work computers and more productive but have concerns about data security and want their companies to invest in more tech training. We’re using these takeaways to improve the development of our smart technology and better empower remote workers of tomorrow.”
Productivity, connectivity, and IT independence increase
Survey respondents around the world are embracing working away from the office – yet feel more connected to their devices than ever as the ‘office’ becomes wherever their technology is.
- Eighty-five percent of those surveyed feel more reliant on their work PCs (laptops and/or desktop computer) than they did working from the office.
- 63 percent of the global workforce surveyed feel they are more productive working from home than when they were in the office.
- Fifty-two percent of respondents believe they will continue to WFH more than they did pre-COVID-19 – even after social distancing measures lift.
This new confidence in working remotely has increased organizations’ need for customizable, modern IT solutions to be deployed at scale. Seventy-nine percent of participants agree that they have had to be their own IT person while working from home, and a majority of those surveyed believe employers should invest in more tech training to power WFH in the future.
WFH during the pandemic: Productivity can come with downsides
In such a quick, dramatic shift to WFH that the pandemic brought on, workers say they have had to make personal investments on tech when their employers have not.
- Seven-in-ten employees surveyed globally said they purchased new technology to navigate working remotely
- Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed have had to partially or fully fund their own tech upgrades
- US respondents say they have personally spent an average of $348 to upgrade or improve technology while working at home due to COVID-19 – roughly $70 higher than the global average ($273), and the second-highest among 10 markets surveyed
New ways of working have also brought on a set of literal aches and pains. Seventy-one percent of workers surveyed complain of new or worsening conditions, including headaches, back and neck pains, difficulty sleeping and more.
Having a proper WFH setup is important to minimizing discomfort, including proper furniture and a larger-sized external monitor that can ergonomically adjust to natural eye-level.
Making time for breaks is also important since many built-in workday breaks for office workers (stretching, getting up to get coffee, going out for lunch, etc.) occur in different rhythms while working remotely.
Along with physical ailments, workers around the world identified other top challenges to the WFH experience: reduced personal connections with coworkers, an inability to separate work life from home life, and finding it hard to concentrate during work hours due to distractions at home.
Training and implementation of high-quality video conferencing capabilities such as noise-cancelling headphones and webcams on the work PC, tablet or phone can help employees feel more connected with colleagues and feeling less distracted at home.
Naturally as technology has powered WFH around the world, surveyed workers also expressed overall concerns overall around security and being heavily reliant on tech connectivity to get the job done.
Employees of all ages agree their top tech-specific concern is how it makes their companies more vulnerable to data breaches. As a result, enhanced security will need to be built into employees’ hardware, software and services (including deployment, set-up and maintenance) from the get-go and is especially critical within today’s remote work environment.
The study also offers important guidance to employers around the world to embrace the new technology normal beyond the pandemic and into the future.
Flexibility isn’t just expected, it’s required
Overall, surveyed employees globally expressed mixed feelings about work in a post-COVID world – while some employees expressed being happy (27 percent) and excited (21 percent) about working from home forever, others feel neutral (22 percent) and conflicted (17 percent).
In light of this, it is more important than ever to give employees flexibility and the required tech to WFH so they don’t have to spend their own money on tech upgrades for work.
Tech should facilitate balance, collaboration, multi-tasking
Although most respondents say tech makes them efficient and more productive, employees identified other ways that tech could improve to help them gain an advantage at work:
- Help them better maintain work life balance
- Make it easier for employees to collaborate with others at outside companies and organizations
- Assist with multi-tasking and switching gears between projects more frequently
- Automate some of their daily tasks
More 5G, please!
Although emerging technologies may have been a new subject in the past, employees are now expressing excitement about the role it plays in improving the WFH experience.
When asked which emerging technologies would have the most positive impact on their job within the next few years, employees ranked 5G wireless network technology and AI/ML as their top choices.
When implementing these technologies, companies should seek employee input on where these can make the most impact within their jobs. 5G provides a strong and more secure connection while giving employees the ability to move around, while AI can help automate routine responsibilities.
A majority of employees have also expressed they are hopeful that emerging technologies can help improve work/life balance.