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NZ mobile data traffic to increase eight-fold by 2017

Mobile just one aspect of the 'data deluge' CIOs have to prepare for, according to speakers at the Cisco Live in Melbourne.

New Zealand’s mobile data  traffic growth is forecast to increase eight-fold in the next five years.

This equates to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50 percent, says Dr Robert Pepper, vice president for global technology policy at Cisco.

Pepper presented the ANZ figures from the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) at the Cisco Live Conference in Melbourne.

In Australia, the report forecasts a six-fold increase over a five-year period (2012 to 2017), or a CAGR of 40 percent.

By mobile device growth, the report says smartphones will account for 54 percent of the share by 2017 in New Zealand. The other sources are other portable devices (0.3 percent), tablets (3.1 percent), laptops (6.6 percent), machine to machine (29 percent) and non-smartphones (7.4 percent).

Pepper says the four drivers for data consumption growth across the network have been more users, more devices per user, faster speeds on networks and more media rich content.

In Australia and New Zealand, everybody who is going to be connected is connected he says, so the variables in these two countries are driven by more connections, the type of devices and faster mobile speeds and apps.

“We are in a very sophisticated market where people are already connected,” says Pepper.

So what is driving this growth? The short answer is video and cloud services, he says.

In organisations, cloud and cloud services are becoming increasingly important, says Pepper.

It is about being competitive as a company, or as a country, says Pepper.

CIOs, whether in enterprise, university or government, tend to be the managers of data for large organisations.

“The ability to have a network that is ready to support advanced cloud becomes extremely important for any CIO,” says Pepper. The network must be “adaptable”, able to support cloud services within the organisation, between organisations and across networks.

He says an industry where this shift is clearly seen is sports. In the United States, he says sports stadiums and major sports leagues have CIOs.

“One of the trends we are seeing is whenever a new stadium is built it is becoming a smart stadium,” he says. Wi-fi is deployed throughout the stadium to support all the communications for the fans who come to watch the game.

You manage the data traffic differently, he says. Ordinarily, people will be downloading data. But in a major sports event,  the system must cope with 6000 people sending photos of the game simultaneously.

 

More changes ahead

The impact of connectivity and growth of data – both for enterprises and SMBs - was also highlighted in other sessions at the conference.

Carlos Dominguez, senior vice president at Cisco, says the last 20 years have been the “most incredible times” for change. “We are living in exponential times.”

This is seen in the 1969 moon landing, where the computing power of the lunar module is equivalent to a Gameboy that came out in 2000.

“We have had unprecedented change in the last 25 years,” he says. “We have a choice of whether to embrace it or fight it.”

The change has impacted business and leadership. “Every business, whether retail or mining, are being rebooted, being changed exponentially.”

He says the latest IBM CEO survey finds technology topping the list of external factors that could most impact organisations in three to five years. This is the first time it has happened since IBM started the survey in 2004.

If you are working in web programming, online marketing, or mobile phone, your job did not exist 20 years ago, he adds.

The technology that is disrupting everything is the “notion of connectivity”.

Before this, the majority of people lived in a “local world” and lived and died within 30 miles where they were born.

But technology has changed the world dramatically in waves, starting from 1990, when there were three million users of the internet, to what is now referred to as ‘internet of everything’.

“People are talking to people, people are talking to machines. Machines are talking to machines.” You have to use a systems approach, he says. – combining people, data and processes – to turn this data into wisdom.

Dominguez says there is US$14.4 trillion at stake from industries that can make use of this information.

In manufacturing, for instance, the data can be used for more intelligent machines that send out alerts if there is a failure in the factory. Retailers can get real time market and assessments. Location based analysis can predict where people are going, which areas can get more visitors which may change the way they do product placements.

The challenge is that the internet of things means trillions of sensors are going to be connected. “How do you handle security?”

Privacy is another issue. Dominguez emphasised the need for building trust with customers as the latter sign up for a service. “You understand what your customers are doing without violating privacy,” he says. “Companies that haven’t built the trust with the people they serve are not going to monetise their data.”.

Dominguez says organisations – even small and medium businesses - can benefit from the trend by understanding how it can affect the business and provide opportunity to do something different, and have a “leg up” against competitors.

“If you are an SMB and not leveraging social media to communicate, you are missing an incredible opportunity,” he says. He says tools like Webex  are becoming affordable. “What are your assets, what technologies that are available should you be using?”

“The train has left the station, you have to adjust or be left behind,” says Dominguez. “Do not imagine the world through a lens we know, but what is possible and what is coming.”

Divina Paredes attended the Cisco Live Conference in Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.

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