The spread of mobile has been something quite amazing in the last few years. We went from a world where no one had an internet capable phone to one where around a quarter of the world’s population are regularly accessing the internet from their mobile devices. Already one of the biggest parts of mobile bandwidth is video. With youtube being heavily mobile optimised and more and more sites embedding videos as broadband and mobile internet connection speeds constantly climb, and our insatiable appetite for cat videos, mobile video is only set to grow.
Network equipment maker Ericsson have just published their latest report on the state of mobile and according to them, mobile video is on its way to total domination in about four years time. According to the report, mobile traffic for voice has remained about the same, but mobile data has in the space of 2 years grown four times the numbers we were seeing in Q1 2011.
The numbers for video are even more impressive, with Ericsson estimating that by 2018 video will account for over half of all mobile traffic:
Social networking and web browsing are looking to even out in their share of mobile traffic and music streaming, whilst small now, is set to grow as well.
Of course, all of this is driven by the rollout of LTE (4G) and the promise of the versions of mobile internet that will follow being even quicker. Ericsson estimate that by 2018 around 60% of the planet will be 4G capable and this will contribute to the massive amount of video being consumed. And with the rise of Vine, Snapchat, and other short video and image sharing platforms, this is a part of the industry that is about to explode; even if Vine can apparently be Rick Rolled.
All of this points to one thing, that apps in the future will benefit from including more and more video options as standard. Mobile networks are getting to the point where they are viable alternatives to broadband at home (non-fiber optic of course), and the mobile app development world would do well to keep up with these changes.
UPDATE 2017: Cisco is now expecting that by 2020, over 75% of mobile traffic will be video.