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Video, mobile driving big data surge

The amount of internet and IP traffic is expected to surge in the coming years, thanks in large part to the expanded use of video, mobile computing and Wi-Fi around the world. As a result, the internet will grow exponentially, increasing fourfold within the next four years, according to Cisco.

In its latest annual Visual Networking Index, Cisco forecasts annual global IP traffic to reach 1.3 zettabytes by 2016, increasing by 330 exabytes between 2015 and 2016 alone. Several factors play into this growth. The increasing number of devices, for example, is a huge driver. According to the report, by 2016, there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections around the world, including smartphones, tablets, traditional PCs and other machine-to-machine devices. By comparison, there were 10.3 billion network connections in 2011.

Somewhat related, the sheer number of internet users will also contribute to this growth. Cisco predicted that there will be 3.4 billion internet users by 2016, accounting for nearly half of the world’s population.

One of the big drivers, though, is video. According to Cisco’s estimates, 1.2 million minutes of video will travel across the web every second. That’s equal to 833 days or a hair over two years.

The video boom draws for a number of sources. Online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu can’t be ignored. And YouTube, as the second biggest search engine on the web, is a major contributor. But enterprise video is also an up-and-coming factor that is sure to become a huge part of video growth in the coming years.

These days, businesses are using video for any number of applications. Chief among them include employee training and engagement, videoconferencing and to host global yet interactive company meetings. Video has even become a major part of the recruitment process in some businesses.

The Virtual Networking Index echoes sentiments expressed by Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior at the recent Interop IT Expo and Conference in Las Vegas. Warrior told audience members that several megatrends, including mobile devices, cloud computing and video, would have a huge impact on internet traffic. Of these, video is expected to make the biggest impression, quadrupling its contribution by 2014.

As this trend unfolds, businesses are advised to embrace solutions that enable them to handle the influx of video on their network. For many companies, an enterprise content delivery network that transmits the highest quality video possible without adversely affecting the corporate network will prove to be the best solution.