2 Billion Online Video Watchers Worldwide by 2017, New Cisco Forecast Says

The massive Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast (2012-2017), or VNI, published today and chock full of facts and projections, estimates that four years from now,  there will be 3.6 billion Internet users-- 48% of the world’s population.

(That’s up from about a third of the world, 2.3 billion, today.)

If you wonder what the world will be doing to occupy itself in 2017, apparently it will be shooting video, or watching it.

Globally, and not counting mobile, there will be nearly 2 billion Internet video users, double what existed just last year. The VNI says global network users will generate 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month, which is 6 million years of video per month, or 1.2 million video minutes every second or more than two years worth of video every second.

Or, if you’re bad at figures, just round that off to a “ridiculous amount of video.” Gigaom says that by 2017, online video will be more popular than social networking.

The Cisco stat dump must be irresistible to people who like to sprinkle the phrase “tipping point” into each and every conversation. This, after all, is kind of the aftermath of all that tipping, when all those itty bitty increases in human activity add up to one giant exclamation of wow, in whatever language or vulgar expression of amazement you choose.

Such as:

In 2012, 26% of Internet traffic originated with non-PC devices, but by 2017 the non-PC share of Internet traffic will grow to 49%. PC-originated traffic will grow at a 14% compounded annual growth rate, while other devices/connections will have higher traffic growth rates, some significantly so. TVs will grow 24% but tablets will grow 104% and smartphones 79% and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules (82%).

By 2017, the Cisco report says, the average Internet household worldwide will generate 74.5 gigabytes of traffic per month. By comparison, in 2012, the average Internet household generated 31.6 gigabytes per month.

Globally, the average household had 4.7 devices / connections (including M2M) in 2012; the average household will have 7.1 devices / connections (including M2M) by 2017.

By 2017, more traffic will traverse global networks than all prior "Internet years" combined. From 1984-2012, that added up to 1.2 zettabytes. In 2017 alone, it will be 1.4 zettabytes. Remarkably, the number of people who know how big a zettabyte is likely to stay just about the same. (I can helpful, but not too helpful, on that score. A zettabyte is 1021 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.  To give you a probably-still-not-too-helpful idea of how much that is, as of 2009, the entire Web was reported to contain about 500 exabytes, which is half a zettabyte.)

And here’s a trio of projections that ought to stop them dead at happy hour:

  • Content delivery networks, which includes live streaming, on-demand and social Web sites  will carry over half of total Internet traffic by 2017.
  • Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of Internet traffic by 2017.
  • Nearly half of total IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices (including tablets, smartphones, and televisions) by 2017.

Don’t get too excited. Because of global warming, by 2017, all of your devices will be either be fried or under water.

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