This Year Mobile Devices will Outnumber Humans

Cisco recently shared some pretty interesting numbers about the growth of mobile devices around the world, how people use them and what this means to the existing infrastructure of the world wide web.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017 predicts that Internet enabled devices like smartphones and tablets will surpass 7 billion devices by the end of this year. The growth is especially strong in Asia, Africa and the Pacific region.

In terms of how people use their devices Cisco shares some pretty astonishing numbers. Over 50% off the worldwide mobile traffic comes from streaming videos and Cisco estimates that this number will go up to about 60% by 2017.

Also, mobile data consumption saw a huge jump in 2012. It rose by 81%, from monthly 189MB in 2011 to 342MB per month in 2012. For 2017 Cisco predicts that every smartphone user is going to consume 2.7GB per month.

The driving factor behind those numbers are smartphones and though they only count for 18% of the Internet enabled devices they make up 92% of the global mobile traffic. In comparison so called “featurephone” owners only make up 2% of the data smartphone owners use per month, about 6.8MB compared to 342MB.

Faster mobile networks like 4G also add to the consumption of larger amounts of mobile data. Although 4G networks only make up 0.9% of all mobile connections they already drive 19% of the total data traffic.

These numbers clearly show that people who have the possibility to own a smartphone and are connected to fast mobile networks make use of the features and benefits that come along with those devices extensively. They are increasingly using their those smart devices for more than making calls, checking email or the weather forecast. They get used to seeing their devices as pocket computers, capable of delivering information, entertainment and (language) learning on the go.

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