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The Future of the Internet: Video Via Lots of Mobile Gadgets

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Internet,mobile,video,YouTube,GoogleInternet video will comprise more than half of all Internet traffic, wireless devices will become the predominant way to surf the Web, and there will be more networked devices than people on this planet within the next few years. So says a Cisco Systems annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) report issued Wednesday to highlight the presence and consumption of digital video and social networking services on the Internet.

The VNI, which Cisco has issued for the past four years, indicates that by the end of next year Internet video—currently found primarily on YouTube, Hulu and Netflix—will be more than 50 percent of consumer (as opposed to business) Internet traffic. This is up from 40 percent of consumer Internet traffic in 2010 and is expected to rise to 62 percent by the end of 2015. The figure excludes video shared via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks—such as BitTorrent and eDonkey—which used to be the predominant way of sharing video online (global Internet video traffic surpassed global P2P traffic in 2010). The report indicates there will be so much video online in 2015 that it would take more than five years just to watch the amount of video that will cross global Internet-Protocol (IP) networks every second in 2015.

Whereas 3 percent of Internet traffic originated with non-PC devices last year, this will grow to 15 percent by 2015. In fact, traffic from wireless devices will for the first time exceed traffic from wired devices by 2015, when wired devices will account for 46 percent of IP traffic, while WiFi and mobile devices—including smart phones, laptops, tablets and other portable gadgets—will account for 54 percent of IP traffic. To provide some perspective, wired devices accounted for 63 percent of IP traffic last year.

Cisco also reports that there will the equivalent of two networked devices per person in 2015, up from a single networked device per capita in 2010. This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be carrying both a smart phone and a tablet with them—the report factors in Web-enabled consumer electronics such as digital picture frames and set-top boxes. Not surprisingly, the amount of data generated per person will increase at a faster rate however, from 3 gigabytes last year to 11 gigabytes in 2015.

Much of this has to do with the way new devices make Internet access, particularly data-heavy video files, more useful and convenient. Tablets, for example, are used not only as computers and communication devices but also as personal televisions and movie screens. And smart phone makers, led by Apple and Google, are promoting video chat as a means of communication. Microsoft’s recent $8.5 billion purchase of voice and video communications provider Skype Global is meant to keep them in the video chat game as well.

Image courtesy of Christian Rummel, via iStockPhoto.com





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  1. 1. frankblank 1:51 am 06/2/2011

    Well, the development so far hasn’t made Americans any more informed or intelligent. So I would prophesy that all of this will lead to the equivalent of participatory TV with unlimited drivel.

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  2. 2. jtdwyer 12:15 pm 06/2/2011

    I agree wholeheartedly. This is a direct consequence of not applying usage based charges for internet access. Anyone who only uses the internet for email and text content will be subsidizing continuous video entertainment for the bored.

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  3. 3. kristi276 4:14 pm 06/2/2011

    There will be more e-devices in the next five years that there are people on the planet? We are having a difficult time dealing with e-waste at this time, and we are going to create even more e-waste in the next five years. Does anyone have plans in how we are going to deal with all of the toxins produced by all of this mess, or are we going to ship it all to Africa and other third world countries and let them deal with our garbage? If these countries start to generate the amount of e-waste that we already produce, then where are we going to place our e-trash; the moon?

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  4. 4. icecubemedia6 6:05 am 06/3/2013

    Internettvideo helps to watch online in your smartphones and computers.One increasingly popular part of social media is Internettvideo.There are several ways a business can use a video online to its advantage. Video can be used to describe a product or service in detail, without any confusion.

    Internettvideo

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