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IoT, M2M and DDoS to dominate digital future – Cisco report

One billion more internet users expected online by 2021.

By Ellie Burns

Cisco has today painted a picture of the digital future – a landscape which is set to see an explosion in internet traffic, IoT, M2M connections and DDoS attacks in the next five years.

Cisco’s 12th Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast has projected significant increases in internet users, with over one billion more internet users expected online by 2021. The rise of internet users from 3.3 to 4.6 billion, however, still leaves 42% of the world unconnected to the internet.

Another key global trend found in this year’s index is the boom in IoT and the related area of M2M.

By 2021, the IoT will represent half of the total 27 billion devices and connections in the world, with IoT connections set to increase from 5.6 to 13.7 billion. For the first time in the 12 years Cisco has been running the index, M2M connections supporting the IoT are expected to be more than half of the total 27.1 billion devices and connections globally.

This means that M2M will account for five percent of global IP traffic by 2021. Driving this growth will be innovations in key areas like the connected home, smart cars and healthcare, with the latter set to be the fastest-growing industry in this space, growing 30% annually thanks to a rise in connected applications such as health monitors and medicine dispensers. Connected car and city applications will have the second-fastest growth with 29%.

Cisco jasper IoT Three

“This new research from Cisco confirms that we’re moving from the Internet of Things, to an Internet of Everything,” said Lee Nolan at Insight UK.

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“With IoT connections set to double by 2021, we’re witnessing a technology revolution that is set to rival the birth of the PC, even the mobile. It encompasses everything, and has huge implications for every sector. From manufacturing to retail, and especially healthcare as the research shows –  where it can be used to track patients and equipment – IoT is penetrating every aspect of our lives.”

Businesses should be looking at the potential boom in the IoT as a key future revenue maker and yet another disruptive technology which will bring benefits for businesses big and small. Fujitsu’s Conway Kosi said:

“The growth of the Internet of Things represents an exceptional opportunity for businesses in every sector. We’re already seeing organisations embracing disruptive changes to traditional business models.

“For example, advanced equipment manufacturers are using the IoT to deliver ongoing services for their customers, such as alerting them when equipment needs maintenance before an actual fault occurs or where equipment can be redeployed more efficiently. It’s no surprise then that 75% of business leaders think their sector will fundamentally change by 2021.”

READ MORE: 13 leading companies in M2M

Other key takeaways from the index included the continued dominance of video in IP traffic and overall internet traffic growth, as well as the continued boom in streaming and live video internet. Although these findings are somewhat unsurprising, the spotlight put on the growth of DDoS was something to sit up and take notice of and, as Fujitsu’s Conway Kosi believes, a vital metric highlighting the implications of a connected world.

“The exponential growth of connected devices has important implications. Businesses will need robust networks and cybersecurity provisions, to make use of connected devices effectively and securely.

“To gain the most benefit from the IoT, businesses should seek to take a holistic approach from the outset, working with technology partners to not only understand the possibilities of the Internet of Things, but determine the most effective way to get there. The time is now,” Mr Kosi said.

Cisco predicts that DDoS attacks will become so effective as to take most organisations offline, with the average DDoS attack size increasing steadily and approaching 1.2Gpbs.DDoS

In 2016, DDoS attacks grew a massive 172% and are forecast to increase 2.5-fold to 3.1 million by 2021. For Darren Anstee, CTO at Arbor Networks, the report’s findings throw further weight behind the belief that the stakes have changed when it comes to DDoS.

“As more businesses have adopted cloud and mobility, they have become dependent on the connected world. We use Internet services for everything – from paying for goods and services, to communicating with our partners, customers and suppliers.

“The weaponisation of DDoS botnets,  some leveraging IoT devices, has led to a step change in the scale, frequency and complexity of the attacks out there today. Arbor data shows that almost 1:2 enterprises were targeted last year, with higher proportions of government and financial organisations seeing attacks,” said the CTO.

“Putting the right defences in place is therefore imperative.”


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