Cisco: Mobile Data Traffic Set to Explode in the Next Five Years

How we access data – from corporate documents to personal photographs to the internet – is changing rapidly. In the past 15 years, we’ve moved from painfully slow dial-up connections (yes, cringe-worthy, we know) to high speed fixed broadband such as DSL and Ethernet, to the mobile broadband that now enables our increasingly “smart” phones and tablets. Think about it – just a few years ago, the fact that you could play Tetris on your Blackberry was pretty exciting. Now, people expect to be able to stream YouTube videos and access high-resolution pictures from their iPhones, iPads, and Androids.

The numbers back this up. According to market research firm Infonetics, in 2010 the number of mobile broadband subscribers surpassed the number of fixed broadband (DSL, PON, Ethernet) subscribers for the first time, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 3G and 4G mobile broadband enable mobile devices to rapidly access bandwidth hungry applications and data – the same applications and data once exclusively reserved to a computer. Now, there’s no reason to lug around a laptop or go find a desktop when you can just get it on your phone.

And people are taking that sentiment to heart. According to a report issued by Cisco yesterday, mobile data traffic will jump 18-fold between 2011 and 2016, up to 130 exabytes of traffic per year, or roughly the equivalent of 33 billion DVDs worth of data. Now that’s a lot of data. All of this data traffic will be enabled by the roughly 10 billion smartphones Cisco predicts will be in use by 2016 – or roughly 1.4 smartphones for every person on the planet at that time.

All of this data access is great, except for the fact that the data itself has to reside somewhere, and for all their great capabilities, it’s probably not going to be on your smartphone. According to research firm IDC, the volume of digital information will swell to 8 zettabytes by 2015, the equivalent of filling equivalent of filling eight billion of Apple Inc.’s priciest desktop iMacs to capacity. Chances are it will be on your work computer, your home computer (yes, computers – come on, as great as touch screens are, I sure wouldn’t want to be typing this blog post on one), perhaps a NAS storage drive, a server, or in cloud storage somewhere. The key is going to be accessing all that diverse storage on the same little handheld device. The five tiny gigabytes of storage you get with your free iCloud subscription isn’t going to cut it – not even close.

At TappIn, we’re here to help you out. With TappIn by GlobalSCAPE, it’s as though all that data stored across all of your computers, storage drives, and cloud services were simply stored on your smartphone. It’s right there at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere. So go ahead – use that mobile broadband!

– Doug Wheeler