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Are you set for the data traffic explosion?

Image credit: iStockphoto/cybrain

Over the last few years, the amount of information pinging back and forth between devices around the world has skyrocketed. Given that almost all of us now have powerful connected computing gadgets in our pocket at all times, this is hardly surprising, but as even more people get equipped with devices like smartphones, it’s clear the transformation is far from finished.

In fact, data traffic growth is set to get even faster over the next few years. According to a new forecast for Cisco, traffic is set to almost triple by 2020, driven by the introduction of around ten billion connected devices over the next five years.

A data-driven world

The firm’s latest Visual Networking Index forecast that by 2020, there will be 4.1 billion global internet users – accounting for 52 per cent of the world’s population.

What’s more, people are doing more with their devices when they get online. A study by Ericsson found that in India, for example – where takeup of smartphones has been particularly rapid – average mobile data consumption per user is expected to increase five-fold by 2021, reaching around 7GB per month.

But it’s not just human interactions that will boost data traffic. Cisco noted that the Internet of Things will also be a key factor in the explosion of data being generated in the coming years. It stated: “Applications such as video surveillance, smart meters, digital health monitors and a host of other M2M services are creating new network requirements and incremental traffic increases.”

Opportunities for businesses

This huge increase in data offers businesses a huge chance to improve their services and deliver an experience their customers really want. For instance, with so many people broadcasting their thoughts and opinions to the world via social media wherever they are, careful analysis of this can help firms spot trends and react to potential problems before they become a major issue.

But this is just the start. IoT sensors could alert firms to equipment that needs maintenance, track employees’ location throughout the day or offer more accurate information into energy usage, among a whole host of other things.

Of course, to make the most of this, businesses will need the right technology in place to gather this data, store it effectively and ensure it’s available to the right people whenever it’s needed.

Get this right, and firms will be well-placed to take advantage of the new era. As Doug Webster, vice-president of service provider marketing at Cisco, stated: “The digital transformation is happening now for billions of consumers and businesses users across the globe.”