Booming video demand fuels rocketing rise in mobile data traffic | MWC 2017
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Cisco’s latest mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI) is out, showing that video will represent 78% of all mobile traffic by 2021, an 8.7-fold increase in mobile video from 2016 to 2021.
cisco vniIndeed, the eleventh mobile VNI showed that mobile video in fact will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application category. And, live mobile video will grow 39-fold from 2016 to 2021. Live mobile video will represent 5% of total mobile video traffic by 2021.

The VNI shows that in 2021, more members of the global population will be using mobile phones (5.5 billion) than bank accounts (5.4 billion), running water (5.3 billion) or landlines (2.9 billion). The total number of smartphones (including phablets) will be over 50% of global devices and connections (6.2 billion) — up from 3.6 billion in 2016.

This, along with major network speed improvements will translate into increased mobile data traffic seven-fold over the next five years—the lion’s share of which will be mobile video.

Mobile network connection speeds will increase threefold from 6.8Mbps in 2016 to 20.4Mbps by 2021, the study shows. 4G will support 58% of total mobile connections by 2021 — up from 26% in 2016 — and it will account for 79% of total mobile data traffic.

“With the proliferation of IoT, live mobile video, augmented and virtual reality applications, and more innovative experiences for consumer and business users alike, 5G technology will have significant relevance not just for mobility but rather for networking as a whole,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing at Cisco. “As a result, broader and more extensive architectural transformations involving programmability and automation will also be needed to support the capabilities 5G enables, and to address not just today’s demands but also the extensive possibilities on the horizon.”

At the same time, the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2016 to 2021) anticipates growth in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR headsets are going to grow from 18 million in 2016 to nearly 100 million by 2021 — a five-fold growth. And globally, VR traffic will grow 11-fold from 13.3 petabytes per month in 2016, to 140 petabytes per month in 2021.

AR traffic meanwhile will grow seven-fold between 2016 and 2021, from 3 petabytes per month in 2016 to 21 petabytes per month in 2021.

The broadcast and TV technology market is already aware of such trends and what they mean for the industry going forward. Fabrice Hamaide, president of Piksel, said that the trends uncovered by the mobile VNI underlines the fact that consumers expect to be able to view content on any device and at a time and place of their choosing and that providers needed to address such new demands quickly.

“Operators need to be sure that they can provide content to customers on the move at a quality they expect, as being able to reliably do so will become a key differentiator in a market where competition is fierce,” he remarked. “To put it simply, customers will not tolerate lapses in service, or substandard discovery and viewing experiences. As such operators need to very carefully consider how they are taking and showcasing their content on mobile devices and ensure that quality of service metrics are collected and analysed to identify issues before they could cost subscribers.”