The world will break the Zettabyte barrier in 2016

Ghanaian cinema may have already shown us that 2016 is going to be an awesome year, but this week networking technology company Cisco released its Visual Networking Index Forecast which makes some big predictions about data traffic in the year 2016 that are pretty mind-blowing themselves.

Cisco's VNI whitepaper is built upon reputable third-party analyst projections, in-house forecasts, and hard data collection, and it is part of the company's initiative to track the growth of "visual networking," or the use of video as the central communicative and entertainment medium over IP connections, including TV-over-Internet, social video, and video on demand.
In it, Cisco makes a number of noteworthy predictions:

Global IP traffic will exceed a Zettabyte for the first time- Cisco predicts approximately 1.3 Zettabytes of traffic will pass through the global pipeline in the year 2016. This is approximately 109.5 exabytes of traffic per month, or 12.5 petabytes every five minutes.


There will be three times as many connected devices as there are people- In 2011, there was one connected device per capita. Cisco says this will triple by 2016. It's well on track to meeting Swedish network technology company Ericsson's own goal of making 50 billion connected devices by 2020, or 7.3 connected devices per capita (based upon today's global population.)

Wireless end user traffic will exceed wired- . In 2016, wired devices will account for 39 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 61 percent of IP traffic.

All Non-PC devices will grow at a much faster rate than PCs- Cisco says PC-originated traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of just 26 percent from 2011 to 2016, while TVs will grow at a CAGR of 77 percent, tablets will grow at 129 percent, smartphones at 119 percent, and machine-to-machine modules will have a growth rate of 86 percent.

Online gaming is the fastest growing segment of consumer Internet traffic- In 2011, Cisco says online gaming (that is, casual online gaming, networked console gaming, and multiplayer virtual-world gaming and not the downloading of games) generated approximately 67 Petabytes worth of consumer Internet traffic per month. In 2016, that will have blown up to 440 Petabytes a month, showing a 46 percent compound growth rate, a faster growth than file sharing, internet video, VoIP, Web surfing, e-mail, and general data exchange.

Long-form video and Live Internet TV will peak in 2015 and decline- Cisco predicts long-form content streaming (that is, any video over seven minutes in length) and live streaming television events on the web will grow to generate a peak combined total of 22,340 Petabytes of traffic in 2015, and then begin to decline in 2016. Cisco predicts all other forms of video (short-form, ambient/webcam, Internet PVR, Mobile video, etc.) will continue unabated growth into 2016.

Cisco's Whitepaper can be downloaded here.

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