Cisco released their Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update just the other day and they have adjusted their predictions for online video usage over the next five years. Due to rapid uptake of tablets, smartphones and the expected superphones, they predict that mobile video will account for some 4.65 exabytes of traffic per month in 2015.

Google Android and Apple’s iOS are certainly leading the charge in regards to consumption of online video on mobile devices and tablets are set to make a huge contribution to the mobile video consumption rates as well. After all, this is the so-called year of the tablet, right?

Mobile Video Consumption

Cisco says that global mobile data traffic grew 2.6-fold in 2010. That’s three years in a row that mobile data nearly tripled. That’s a whole lot of mobile data usage growth. Video was 49.8% of mobile data at the end of 2010 and Cisco believes it will grow to 52.8% this year and be 66.4% in 2015. Check out the massive amount of bandwidth that mobile video will take up. Remember, this graph is thousands of petabytes so that will be 6.3 exabytes of mobile video per month in 2015.

Cisco Mobile data usage 2010-2015

Remember, YouTube delivers over 200 million video views per day to mobile devices. Cisco VNI forecast shows that mobile video has the highest growth rate of any application category. Booya for us! Right?!

66.4% of all mobile data usage in 2015 is predicted to be about 4.2 exabytes per month. Huh, I’m scratching my head on how big that it. It’s roughly 4.50971566 × 109 gigabytes

Yeah, if we used 25Mbps for HD streaming video, 1GB is about 5 minutes. So 4.2 exabytes is like 43,000 years of full 1080i streaming HD video…per month.

Analysts say there will be 5.6 billion mobile connected devices in 2015. so that’s like 4 minutes per device per month. Of course, the majority of mobile streaming video is not full 1080i HD, so you can expand that number because it’s far from accurate. If we go to 15Mpbs (720p) it expands to 71,000 years a month, or 6.7 minutes per device per month. If we drop it to a more usable web streaming bitrate of say 2Mbps it jumps to 50.3 minutes per device per month.

Other trends Cisco predicts in mobile video 2010-2015 include:

  • High-definition video will be more prevalent, and the proportion of streamed content as compared to side-loaded content is also expected to increase with average mobile network connection speed.
  • The amount of long-form video viewed on mobile devices will grow as battery life and processing power advances.
  • The shift towards unicast from broadcast video will affect mobile networks as much as it will affect fixed networks. Internet radio and Internet video are unicast, meaning that there is one data stream per user, unlike broadcast, where one stream serves many users. The shift from broadcast to unicast means that traffic can increase dramatically even while the total amount of time spent watching video remains relatively constant.

Cisco concludes their whitepaper with:

Mobile data is well on its way to become a necessity. The next 5 years are projected to provide unabated mobile video adoption…

Unabated, what a fantastic word. I’d like to see unabated adoption of ReelSEO as the online video news source… .

The introduction of laptops, tablets, and high-end handsets onto mobile networks is a major generator of traffic, because these devices offer the consumer content and applications not supported by the previous generation of mobile devices. As shown in Figure 4, a single laptop can generate as much traffic as 515 basic-feature phones, and a smartphone creates as much traffic as 24 basic-feature phones.

Figure 4. High-End Devices Can Multiply Traffic

Average traffic per device is expected to increase rapidly during the forecast period, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Summary of Per Device Usage Growth

Device Type 2009 2010 2015
Nonsmartphone 1.5 3.3 54
E-reader 5 11 245
Smartphone 35 79 1,272
Portable gaming console Not available 250 879
Tablet 28 405 2,311
Laptop and netbook 1,145 1,708 6,522
M2M module 3 35 166

Source: Cisco VNI Mobile, 2011

The Take Away

mmm... Chinese foodIf you’re pushing video content out via the Interwebs and want to keep your audience growing and connected to your content, you will need to make sure that your video is available via all manner of mobile devices. Services like’s new I wrote up) are certainly going to help you keep atop all of that but you are going to make sure that you are ready for the deluge of mobile video demand. Tablets, Android, iOS, iPads, smartphones and superphones are all going to help fuel this growth. Make sure you video is ready to go. Speaking of ready to go.

Kung Pao! I’m out!

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2010–2015