Riding the mobile wave

Get ready for an explosion in mobile data traffic volumes and speed.

Cisco is predicting that mobile data traffic will jump nearly 11-fold over the next four years and reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes of data by 2018, up from 1.5 exabytes last year.

But how much is 190 exabytes of data, anyway? Well, it's 190 times all of the IP traffic generated in 2000, 42 trillion images, or 4 trillion video clips.

This mobile data explosion will be fueled by the growth in connected devices, which are expected to top 10 billion by 2018, up from 7 billion in 2013; faster mobile network speeds, which are forecast to zoom at an average of 2.5 Mbps by 2018, up from 1.4 Mbps in 2013; a jump in mobile users to 4.9 billion by 2018, up from 4.1 billion in 2013; and the increasing use of mobile video, which is expected to make up more than two-thirds of mobile data traffic by 2018, up from 53 percent of traffic in 2013.

In addition, Cisco expects more than half of mobile connections will be "smart" connections by 2018, up from 21 percent in 2013.

Most of the mobile data traffic will run across smartphones, laptops and tablets, with M2M traffic making up only 5 percent of mobile data traffic in 2018.

Also, mobile cloud traffic will increase 12-fold between 2013 and 2018, a 64 percent compound annual growth rate.

While there were only 21.7 million global wearable devices in use last year, by 2018, there will be 176.9 million wearable devices for a 52 percent compound annual growth rate, predicts Cisco.

What these predictions mean is that resisting mobility is not an option for enterprises in the future. Opposing the trend will only leave your company far behind the curve. The task for the CIO and IT team is to ensure that their firm stays ahead of the technology, instead of being overwhelmed by it. - Fred