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Human population soon to be outnumbered by its mobile devices

glassy wifi symbolOne of the major developments of recent years has been the growth in mobile internet-capable devices and a new mobile traffic forecast update by Cisco now predicts that the human population of planet Earth will be outnumbered by internet-connected mobile devices – smartphones, laptops and tablets – by the end of the current year.

That means more than 7 bn. mobile devices will be in use.

However, the rapid growth in connected devices will put the existing infrastructure under increasing strain, forcing ISPs to move their customers and networks over to the next-generation IPv6 system.

Cisco expects there to be huge growth in the use of mobile devices in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

The Cisco report highlights the dramatic change that is already happening in the field of mobile connectivity:

  • Mobile video already makes up more than half of the data transmitted worldwide. According to Cisco, two-thirds of data transmitted will be mobile video.
  • The average amount of data consumed by smartphone users increased by 81% from 189MB per month in 2011 to 342MB per month in 2012.
  • smartphones consumed 92% of global mobile data traffic, despite accounting for only 18% of the handsets in use globally. The typical “featurephone” only consumed 6.8MB of data traffic per month – 2% of the amount that the typical smartphone did.

According to Cisco, the rapid growth in 4G connections (for which auctions are now underway in the UK) generated a 19-fold larger amount of data traffic than a non-4G connection. Despite accounting for only 0.9% of all mobile connections – mostly of them in the USA – 4G connections already make up 19% of data traffic. Moreover, it is anticipated that the expected rise in such connections will contribute to huge increases in data consumption.