In particular, the emerging mobile applications must be integrated, flexible, and adaptable to constantly changing business conditions. This is the new normal in many fast-paced industries. That being said, are you ready for the mobile data deluge that's inevitable?
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index global mobile data traffic forecast for 2013 to 2018, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold over the next four years and reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes by 2018.
The projected increase in mobile traffic is partly due to continued strong growth in the number of mobile Internet connections -- such as personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections -- which will exceed 10 billion by 2018 and be 1.4 times greater than the world’s population (the United Nations estimates 7.6 billion people on the planet by 2018).
Exploring the Global Mobile Data Traffic Drivers
From 2013 to 2018, Cisco anticipates that global mobile traffic growth will outpace global fixed traffic growth by a factor of three. The following trends are driving mobile data traffic growth:
- More mobile users: By 2018, there will be 4.9 billion mobile users, up from 4.1 billion in 2013.
- More mobile connections: By 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices/connections -- including eight billion personal mobile devices and two billion M2M connections, up from seven billion total mobile-ready devices and M2M connections in 2013.
- Faster mobile speeds: Average global mobile network speeds will nearly double from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps by 2018.
- More mobile video: By 2018, mobile video will represent 69 percent of global mobile data traffic, up from 53 percent in 2013.
Smart Devices and Open Cloud Applications
Globally, 54 percent of mobile connections will be smart connections by 2018, up from 21 percent in 2013. Smart devices and connections will have advanced computing capabilities and a minimum of 3G connectivity.
Smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive about 94 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2018. M2M traffic will represent five percent of 2018 global mobile data traffic, while basic handsets will account for 1 percent of global mobile data traffic by 2018. Other portable devices will account for 0.1 percent.
Mobile cloud traffic will grow 12-fold from 2013 to 2018 -- that's a 64 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Hybrid (public/private) cloud technology will gain momentum as more cloud service deployments include open standards-based technology.
Key Regional Growth Projections
In terms of mobile data traffic growth rates over the forecast period, the Middle East and Africa region is projected to have the highest regional growth rate. Below is how each of the regions ranks in terms of growth rate by 2018:
- The Middle East and Africa will have a 70 percent CAGR and 14-fold growth;
- Central and Eastern Europe will have a 68 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- Asia-Pacific will have a 67 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- Latin America will have a 66 percent CAGR and 13-fold growth;
- North America will have a 50 percent CAGR and eight-fold growth; and
- Western Europe will have a 50 percent CAGR and seven-fold growth.
In terms of mobile data traffic generation, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to generate the most mobile data traffic.
"Global mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing nearly 11-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount in 2018 that is more than 57 times the total amount of mobile data traffic just a few years ago in 2010. Such growth is not only indicative of mobility becoming a critical characteristic of almost every network experience and the value consumers and businesses alike place on it, but it also represents the immense opportunities ahead for service providers who sit at the center of the Internet of Everything," said Doug Webster, Vice President of Products and Solutions Marketing at Cisco.