Cisco projects an 18-fold jump in mobile traffic from wearable devices by 2019.
While wearables are still undergoing a shift from niche to mainstream, Cisco predicts the rapidly-growing popularity of the devices will surge over the next few years. According to the company’s Visual Networking Index report, there will be more than half a billion wearable devices in use every day come 2019. Evident by the sheer volume of manufacturers both big and small seen throughout CES 2015, paired with the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch and the rising use in Android Wear devices, it seems inevitable that the world will soon enter a state of ubiquity when it comes to body-adorned technology.
In fact, Cisco forecasts that 578 million wearable devices will be in use around the over the next four years, up from just 109 million last year. That’s a fivefold increase, but more enormously, the flooding of units will result in 18 times the amount of mobile data traffic. However, a majority of that information will filter through users’ smartphones. Global traffic from wearable devices will account for 1.1% of total mobile data traffic by 2019, compared to 0.6% at the end of last year.
Of course, Cisco’s number doesn’t just refer to smartwatches, it encompasses items like wearable cameras and scanners, smart glasses, heads-up displays, health monitors, fitness trackers, electronic clothing, and so forth. Still, considering that wearable technology is a relatively new genre, the notion that 578 million of them will be strapped onto people’s bodies in just four years time is rather impressive. Regionally, North America will have the largest regional share of wearables, with 33% share by 2019, while Asia Pacific will come in just below at 32%.
“The phenomenal growth in smarter end-user devices and M2M connections is a clear indicator of the growth of IoE, which is bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable,” Cisco explains. “Both M2M and wearable devices are making computing and connectivity very pervasive in our day-to-day lives.”
In addition to the huge wearable increase, Cisco expects to see smartphone ownership continue to rise to 5.2 billion by 2019 — that’s nearly a billion more smartphone users than today. Naturally, as more people use the Internet on smartphones and wearables, data usage is also expected to rise dramatically. People used around just 30 exabytes of data in 2014, but that’s set to jump exponentially to 292 exabytes before 2020 arrives.
“Consider the impact that an 18-fold traffic growth could have on network architecture as myriad fitness trackers, smart watches, smart glasses, sports accessories and healthcare devices connect,” writes Rob Lloyd, Cisco President of Development and Sales. “Mind boggling? Maybe, but these consumer devices are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this explosion of connectivity. We expect the total number of connected things to reach 50 billion by 2020 – almost six times the forecast number of connected mobile and wearable devices combined.”
Indeed, almost half a billion (497 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2014 alone, while global mobile devices and connections last year grew to 7.4 billion, up from 6.9 billion in 2013. Smartphones accounted for 88 percent of that growth, with 439 million net additions in 2014. In 2014, on an average, a smart device generated 22 times more traffic than a non-smart device.
“But note one thing: this isn’t just about the Internet coping with a large volume of new connections. Networks need to get smarter so that they are capable of creating dynamic connections, delivering the right service to the right person or device, and identifying – from among the trillions of packets of digitized information flowing across them – the precise pieces of data which can keep a product delivery on time, win a customer or keep citizens safe,” Lloyd adds. “The network is the platform on which everything digital will connect.”
By the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and come 2019, there will be nearly 1.5 mobile devices per capita. Overall, there will be 11.5 billion mobile connections by this time. Of those, 8.3 billion will come from personal mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. The remaining 3.2 billion connections will stem from M2M communications, which Cisco places smartwatches, wireless wearable cameras and fitness trackers in this category.
By 2019, Cisco predicts that more than 69% of the world’s population will use mobile devices.That’s around 5.2 billion people out of a forecasted population of 7.6 billion. As you can imagine, the increase in mobile users will lead to an uptick in global wireless data traffic, which Cisco anticipates a tenfold increase over the next four years. Last year global wireless data traffic tallied 30 exabytes. That figure should reach 292 exabytes by 2019, Cisco stated.
More than half of all traffic from mobile-connected devices will be offloaded from to a fixed network by means of Wi-Fi devices and small-cell networks each month by 2019, the company believes.
“Much mobile data activity takes place within users’ homes. For users with fixed broadband and Wi-Fi access points at home, or for users served by operator-owned femtocells and picocells, a sizable proportion of traffic generated by mobile and portable devices is offloaded from the mobile network onto the fixed network… Our mobile offload projections include traffic from both public hotspots as well as residential Wi-Fi networks.”
Want to read more? You can access the entire study here. The evolution of IoT, including wearables and mobile devices, is now at a point that it will require a comprehensively redesigned approach to security threats in order to ensure its continuous growth and expansion. With the amount of data on the rise how can we be sure to secure the Internet of Streams?