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Zero Trust, blockchain, 6GHZ superhighway amongst next year's top tech predictions

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Wed 15 Dec 2021

The Extreme Networks leadership team has announced its top predictions for 2022.

Key senior technology management from the company have issued their predictions for 2022, providing advice to enterprises on trends in the year ahead for Zero Trust, blockchain, Wi-Fi, AIOps, cloud and 5G adoption.

Organisations will see proactive efforts around Zero Trust initiatives

Michael Rash, distinguished engineer, security, Office of the CTO, says if you're thinking like an attacker, from your perspective, the past couple of years has seen some spectacular successes from the offence side of the Internet landscape. 

"The SolarWinds hack, the compromise of HashiCorp GPG signing keys via the Codecov incident, and the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline are notable examples," he says.

"Juxtapose these events with the incredible marketing machine behind Zero Trust technologies, and you end up with two opposing spectrums. If Zero Trust means anything, my prediction for 2022 is that such organisations should see some protective effects. 

He says the key is identifying trends over time and trying to eke out data on the effectiveness of Zero Trust, and he says 2022 will start to provide some visibility into best practices.
 
2022 will see blockchain as a primary mechanism for protecting personal data and smart city infrastructure

"As smart cities come closer to full development, we will see progress in several areas," says distinguished principal engineer, Office of the CTO, Ed Koehler.

"Blockchain technologies will become much more prevalent and will be used to protect information integrity within smart city infrastructure, as well as to personal data like health records," he says.

"Blockchain will also play a role in protecting digital identities as we see them used more frequently. Further, as nation-states and political forces evolve in the concepts of cyber warfare, supply chain attacks and attacks against critical infrastructure will increase."
 
Wi-Fi is everywhere and here to stay!

David Coleman, director of wireless, Office of the CTO, says Wi-Fi has long been woven deeply into the cultural fabric of daily living, enhanced education, business operations, entertainment, and much more. 

"I bet that while you are reading this quote online, you are connected to Wi-Fi right now," he says. 

"So the trend we will see in 2022 is Wi-Fi continuing to grow as the predominant solution for secure wireless connectivity and mobility in the enterprise."

Building the 6GHz superhighway

Coleman says countries across the globe will continue to adopt the 6GHz superhighway that Wi-Fi 6E is built upon. He says this superhighway provides a reliable path for the evolution of enterprise Wi-Fi which is tied to the constant growth of cloud computing, mobile connectivity, big data, AI, and the Internet of Things. 

Santa will come bearing several Wi-Fi 6E/6 GHz toys on his sleigh

According to Jeevan Patil, senior director of Product Management, consumer devices like the Samsung Ultra S21 and Google Pixel are paving the way for 6E in the enterprise. 

"Lookout for Santa this Christmas and into CY22 as he brings 6 GHz capable toys under your Christmas Tree first in the form of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You can expect 6 GHz channels to open up soon worldwide."

AIOps will lead to reimagining the very notion of work

Over the last decade, the explosion of digitalisation coupled with an exponential increase in the size of data, the use of cloud, and the availability of cheap processing power have made AIOps accessible to everyone," says director of Product Management, Marko Tisler.

"The future of Network Operations does not entail Human vs AI - but rather supports humans with expanded skillsets and scope, with AI in a supporting role. Future NetOps engineers will increasingly collaborate with AIOps tools such as Extreme CoPilot and work together to program in new goals, help the machine learning and AI interpret the data, and help AI tools understand the business processes, so teams can better respond to the identified anomalies, alerts, and recommendations."
 
Distributed cloud will offer users the best of both worlds

Bill Lundgren, portfolio architect, Cloud, Data, and App Operations, says that historically, managing solutions either in the cloud or on-premise were two completely disparate offerings, each with pros and cons. 

"With on-prem management, your data, software updates, and configurations remain private and fully in your control because they are kept local to your site," he says.

"With cloud management, information is stored at the cloud vendor or infrastructure vendor's site. In the future, Distributed Cloud will increasingly offer the best of both worlds by bringing the power and flexibility of the cloud to on-premise, private servers. Your cloud offering and associated data will reside in your premise, providing local compute, full control and the operational benefits of the cloud."

Cloud and SaaS products will see two major evolutions

"I see two major evolutions for cloud and SaaS products in 2022," says Lundgren. 

"First, given the wide-spread adoption of data privacy and protection legislation across the US states individually and in other nations, along with the numerous ransomware and other security events over the last 12 months, (Solar Winds for example), I foresee the market (especially the US market) becoming increasingly focused on audited and proven solutions. 

"Secondly, given the growing adoption of AI and machine learning in various SaaS products, coupled with GDPR and other data privacy concerns, I believe 2022 will be the year that organisations begin to implement mechanisms like homomorphic encryption to protect sensitive data while allowing machine learning and AI processing to take place and keeping the data secure."
 
Home networking is dead. Long live home networking!

Nicholas Cope, principal, head of User Experience Research, says that with the age of The Infinite Enterprise upon us, it will become more and more commonplace for everyday people to build and maintain remote home networks. 

"Individuals working from home have taken on many of the jobs of network engineers and administrators as part of their daily routine. By defining, mapping, and analysing the tasks these new at-home engineers and admins are doing, we'll create consumer-centric experiences that help everyone maximise the value of their at-home networks. Home networking needs to be simple, secure, and swift."

AR/VR will be used more regularly for support and professional services

"As remote work becomes the norm, there will be increased demand to interact beyond Zooms 2D," says head of Design, Wendy Kastner.

"Imagine support services and service professionals being able to see more than just your screen: Having a network issue? The support technician can view inside your network. Feeling under the weather? Your doctor can virtually examine you. Want to try on clothes without leaving your bedroom? Your personal shopper can set up your virtual dressing room."

She says these technologies will all continue to evolve throughout 2022.
 
5G adoption will not progress as much as some think

Marcus Burton, cloud and wireless architect, Office of the CTO, says in 2022, most of the 5G noise will remain the same, but the killer app will still elude us. 

He says public network rollouts will continue worldwide, but no one will notice, other than the icon on the phone changes. 

"Private 5G will still mean 4G LTE until the end of the year (development delayed by chip shortages). However, we'll see interesting 5G developments for enterprises."

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