Cisco Predicts Massive Increase in Data Consumption by 2018

If Cisco’s predictions are correct, wearable technology is about to experience a massive growth spurt. The company projects that by 2018, 177 million wearables will make a sizeable contribution to the amount of data consumed around the world. In its annual report on mobile broadband growth, Cisco projects the 10 billion mobile connections around the world will blast through 190 exabytes of data — 11 times the amount consumed in 2013.

According to The New York Times, the explosion of data use will largely be due to “a big build-out of advanced mobile networks, pervasive smartphones and an explosion of video.” It also points to big changes in consumption — particularly, via which kinds of devices data is consumed.

“Cisco doesn’t know how to quantify it yet, but wearable computers like Google Glass seem to be the biggest data pigs of all,” the article says. “Two billion of the 10 billion mobile connections in 2018, Cisco said, will come from machine-to-machine communications.” That includes asset tracking devices, GPS in cars, and wearable devices like smartwatches, Google Glass, and various health monitors.

Thomas Barnett, who let the Cisco study, called Google Glass the “wild card,” since it is not yet widely available. But in one experiment, his team found that Glass wearers searched the Internet, took pictures and video, and sent enough messages to use around 7 gigabytes a month — “25 percent more than the next largest consumer in 2018, the tablet,” according to NYT.

Overall, Barnett’s team predicted there will be 177 million wearables partly responsible for the projected data growth by 2018. That’s up significantly from 2013’s mere 22 million. Other major factors for the growth include video, which will likely make up 69 percent of the mobile use. Binge viewing and quality Web content will also be big contributors.

“So is the growing popularity of pre-roll advertisements, along with person-to-person video chatting,” the article says.