By: David Hughes, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
Prediction 1: Devices will outnumber people 10:1 by 2025
Digital transformation is driving a proliferation of IoT devices and Machine to Machine (M2M) communications are growing rapidly. Today, connected devices outnumber people 5:1. Over the next three years, there will be 10x more connected devices as compared to people, making automated secure connectivity of IoT of paramount importance. Without an automated way to onboard, provision, and secure these devices, organisations will be left vulnerable to security breaches, which are continually growing in sophistication.
Prediction 2: Two clear paths to SASE emerge
As SASE deployments enter the early majority stage of the adoption lifecycle, the market will see a clear split in approaches. Small and medium size enterprises are likely to be attracted to the all-in-one SASE offerings, where simplicity and “one throat to choke” take priority over advanced capabilities. On the other hand, large enterprises will remain unwilling to compromise on security, reliability, or the quality of user experience. They will look to a dual-vendor approach, pairing a best-of-breed SD-WAN partner for on-prem security and WAN facing capabilities, with a fully-fledged cloud-delivered security partner delivering secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), and zero trust network access (ZTNA) services.
Prediction 3: The transition to Wi-Fi 6E will take off in 2022
While much of attention has been given to 5G cellular, on the campus and inside the enterprise, we are on the cusp of a fast transition to Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi 6E delivers high capacity with an additional 1200 MHz of new spectrum, while retaining backwards compatibility. Leading market intelligence firm 650 Group expects over 200 percent unit growth of Wi-Fi 6E enterprise APs in 2022, indicating that enterprise organisations recognise the potential of 6E, especially with the continued reliance on activities such as videoconferencing, telemedicine, and distance learning.
Prediction 4: Hybrid working will drive the rise of “microbranches” supercharged with AI automation
Even as the pandemic recedes, work-from-home is here to stay. This new normal will drive the emergence of the microbranch or “branch of one.” In the early days of the pandemic, organisations scrambled to expand VPNs and deploy remote access points (RAPs) to connect their locked-down workforce and implement pop-up testing kiosks. In 2022, we will see enormous growth for purpose-built microbranch offerings that combine enterprise-class Wi-Fi access with sophisticated multi-path WAN connectivity and advanced AIOps for reliability and consistent user experience. These microbranch offerings will securely extend the enterprise to the “branch of one”.
Prediction 5: The increased value on “services” will drive a step function increase in demand for infrastructure consumption models like Network-as-a-Service (NaaS)
There is a culture shift happening right before our very eyes – the increased value consumers are placing on “experiences” over “things” and the decline in needing to “own something” has already touched our everyday lives. This same shift will begin to play out in the enterprise as well in the coming year, with organisations being less focused on devices and capex and more focused on the business outcomes of their technology investments. Organisations want greater financial flexibility and cost predictability, while being able to increase IT efficiency and keep pace with innovation. A flexible infrastructure consumption model allows for all of this, and for those organisations that aren’t fully ready to take the plunge, flexible consumption models provide the option to “try before buying,” so that enterprises can adopt the new model – or not – at their own pace. This will drive a big increase in demand for consumption-based services like NaaS in 2022.