The continuing rise of mobile edge computing, 5G and IoT security, hot topics for 2019

Mobile edge computing

In the coming year, companies will look to better come to terms with the data efficiency and security issues generated by widespread mobile working and the arrival of IoT within the enterprise. As a result, mobile edge computing is showing signs of exerting real influence across a number of sectors. Such solutions not only reduce strain on the cloud by processing data on the edge, but also play an integral role in perimeter security by ensuring data communication is locally translated to a communication protocol before being sent to the organisation’s network core. With organisations looking to integrate this edge-focused element to their mobile infrastructure, BI Intelligence estimates that 5.6 billion business-owned devices will use edge computing for data collection and processing by 2020.

As edge computing develops, so too will the solutions used to collect and manage this data. This year has seen the arrival of business-targeted IoT solutions such as Assisted Reality (AR) smart glasses, which can have a significant impact in delivering mobile hands-free working across a number of sectors, from manufacturing and engineering to transport and logistics. This combination of 5G, IoT and mobile edge computing will undoubtedly drive further innovation in this space, and we can expect to see even more IoT devices arrive within the enterprise in the coming year.

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5G is on the horizon and closer than ever before, with 340 million connections expected as soon as 2021 according to CCS Insight. Due to its faster speeds and increased capacity over 4G, 5G has the ability to provide enterprises with greater mobile and remote working capabilities, enabling staff members to work faster, more efficiently and more productively across various locations.

But beyond traditional mobile working, 5G will also enable organisations to fully take advantage of IoT solutions, 70 per cent of which will run on cellular technology by 2022, according to Ericsson. The ability of 5G to act as a catalyst in driving forward the next-generation of IoT devices and services therefore cannot be understated. Coupled with the rise of trends such as mobile edge computing – which will also benefit from its capabilities – we’ll undoubtedly begin to see IoT 5G-enabled solutions enter the enterprise in the coming year and beyond. Smart glasses are arguably leading the way in this respect, with research from Toshiba finding that 82 per cent of IT decision makers plan to deploy such devices within the next three years, 40 per cent citing the arrival of 5G as a key factor in driving this growth.

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While the acceleration of mobile working is providing organisations with enhanced productivity and connectivity, security naturally remains a top priority for IT leaders. Managing an ever-growing number of internet-connected touchpoints within the age of IoT and mass data proliferation, it’s no surprise that 62 per cent of European IT leaders consider data security a top priority, according to Toshiba’s Maximising Mobility research. This is mirrored by the evolving methods of cyber criminals, who are not only increasing the number of attacks directed at organisations but also diversifying their techniques, as per SonicWall’s 2018 Cyber Threat Report.

With IoT cited as a new battleground, businesses will need to consider new and innovative approaches to security. Biometric authentication is increasingly being used for data protection purposes in addition to or in place of traditionally more insecure passwords or pins. Biometric fingerprint scanners or IR-cameras, for example, offer a higher degree of certainty of a user’s identity – and don’t leave behind the digital signature patterns that cybercriminals use to hack into employee’s accounts and steal sensitive data. Beyond this though, many organisations are turning to mobile edge computing solutions for more robust mobile security – enabling data communication to be locally translated to a communication protocol before being sent to the organisation’s network core via the cloud.

Nick Offin, is Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Toshiba Northern Europe.

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Michael Baxter

.Michael Baxter is a tech, economic and investment journalist. He has written four books, including iDisrupted and Living in the age of the jerk. He is the editor of and the host of the ESG...

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