Mobile video to grow almost 900% by 2021, Cisco predicts

Worldwide consumption of mobile video will grow nearly ninefold from 2016 to 2021, Cisco predicted, and will account for 78% of all mobile traffic by the end of that time period, up from 60% last year.

The technology giant said in its annual forecast that the number of global mobile users would increase from 4.9 billion last year to 5.5 billion in 2021, and the number of connected devices will grow from 8 billion to 12 billion. Worldwide mobile data traffic will see an annual run rate of 587 exabytes per year by 2021, up from 87 exabytes last year, marking an increase of roughly 700%.

Mobile video consumption will grow by 870% during that time, Cisco said, enjoying the fastest increase of any mobile application category. That growth will largely be driven by live video, which will represent 5% of all mobile video traffic by 2021.

“With the proliferation of IoT, live mobile video, augmented and virtual reality applications, and more innovative experiences for consumers and business users alike, 5G technology will have significant relevance not just for mobility but rather for networking as a whole,” said Doug Webster, Cisco’s vice president of service provider marketing, in a press release. “As a result, broader and more extensive architectural transformations involving programmability and automation will also be needed to support the capabilities 5G enables, and to address not just today’s demands but also the extensive possibilities on the horizon.”

Machine-to-machine devices will account for 29% of all mobile connections by 2021, Cisco said, up from just 5% last year.

Meanwhile, mobile usage will continue to gain steam in emerging markets but will grow slowly in more mature regions. Mobile uptake will increase by a compound annual growth rate of 4.1% in the Middle East and Africa over the next few years, for instance, and will increase by 3.2% annually in Asia Pacific. But it will increase in North America by only 1.2% per year, and in Western Europe by only 0.5% per year, Cisco predicted.