Securing the Future of Cellular IoT Applications

David H. Deans
Technology | Media | Telecom
3 min readMar 22, 2024


The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand. According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, they forecast a 90 percent growth in cellular IoT devices by 2028, with the global number reaching 6.5 billion.

This exponential rise presents both exciting opportunities and significant challenges.

While the growth of cellular IoT unlocks a vast potential for innovation in smart cities, industrial automation, and remote monitoring, it also requires device management and security advancements.

Cellular IoT Market Development

Juniper’s research highlights the critical role of intelligent infrastructure management solutions. These platforms will empower the users to automate critical tasks such as device configuration, real-time security management, and optimized wireless connectivity.

The surge in cellular data usage, projected to reach 46 petabytes by 2028 compared to 21 petabytes today, further underscores the need for automation. This is where federated learning is advantageous.

Traditionally, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning models rely on centralized data storage, creating vulnerabilities for potential security breaches. Federated learning offers a secure approach by distributing the training process across devices at the network edge.

Scaling for Efficiency: The Need for Automation

The projected growth in cellular IoT devices translates into a vast network deployment, and also into a significant increase in the complexity of managing all those devices.

Imagine the challenge of manually configuring security settings, updating firmware, and optimizing connectivity for billions of devices. Juniper Research emphasizes the need for intelligent infrastructure management solutions to address this very complex issue.

These intelligent solutions leverage automation to streamline device management. Here are some potential functionalities based on the research findings:

  • Automated device onboarding: Streamlining the process of adding new devices to the network, eliminating manual configuration, and reducing the risk of human error.
  • Real-time security monitoring and updates: Continuously monitoring devices for security threats and automatically deploying updates to address vulnerabilities.
  • Dynamic connectivity utilization: Optimizing cellular network connections for each device based on factors like data usage patterns and signal strength.

By automating these tasks, intelligent infrastructure management solutions enable organizations to scale their IoT deployments efficiently, reducing administrative costs and ensuring the smooth operation of their connected devices.

Federated Learning: Securing Cellular IoT Infrastructure

Security concerns are paramount in the cellular IoT landscape. As Juniper Research rightly points out, ensuring data security — both in transit and on devices — is absolutely essential.

The research highlights the potential of federated learning as a key security advancement. Here’s a possible explanation based on the findings:

  • Traditional machine learning models often rely on centralized data storage. This creates a single point of vulnerability, as a data breach at this central location could compromise the entire system.
  • Federated learning offers a more distributed approach. Machine learning algorithms are trained directly on devices at the network edge, with only localized updates shared with a central server.

By limiting the exposure of sensitive IoT data, federated learning can reduce the risk of data breaches. This is particularly important for industries like healthcare and finance, where data security is paramount.

Outlook for Cellular IoT Applications Growth

“As the number of cellular IoT connections grows, it is imperative that both platforms and operators ensure data is secure in transition and on the device. A failure to do so will dissuade IoT users in industries with sensitive data from using a cellular IoT-based approach to connectivity,” said Alex Webb, research analyst at Juniper Research.

That said, I believe the predicted surge in cellular IoT devices presents a compelling opportunity. However, to fully harness its potential, stakeholders across the industry must prioritize the development and implementation of secure and automated device management.

By embracing advancements like intelligent IoT infrastructure management and federated learning, we ensure a secure and efficient platform, fueling further application development.

Originally published at https://blog.geoactivegroup.com.