Marketers Brace For Machine-To-Machine Connections To Reach Nearly 14B By 2021

Cisco forecasts 1.3 billion more Internet users by 2021 -- totaling nearly 60% of the world's population and giving marketers much greater access to consumers. More than half of those connections will be machine-to-machine (M2M), the first time to ever cross the 50% mark.

M2M connections such as fitbits or Google Home devices will grow 2.4 times from 2016 to 2121 at a 19% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) to 13.7 billion or 51% of total global devices and connections and will account for 5% of total global IP traffic by 2021. 

Search will support the connection between machines as "things will now outnumber our personal devices," said Thomas Barnett, director of service providing marketing and thought leadership at Cisco. 

Smartphones at 11% CAGR will grow 1.7 times, followed by connected TVs, including flat-panel TVs, STBs, DMAs, Blu ray disc players and gaming consoles at 9% CAGR. Tablets will also grow at 5%.

Overall, global IP traffic growth will increase dramatically by 2021, growing from 96 Exabytes per month to 279 Exabytes per month in 2021, which is nearly equivalent to all the movies ever made crossing global IP networks every minute, said Thomas Barnett, director of service providing marketing and thought leadership at Cisco.



He said the really "mind boggling" number in the study released Thursday is the increase of live video streams and video viewing.

"New types of content have moved into live video streaming to provide brands the opportunity to place products," he said. "The intelligence of the network allows marketers to do more targeted ads and become more effective with the dollars they invest."

Live video will increase 15 times, accounting for 13% of all Internet video traffic. In fact, video viewing will make up 82% of all IP traffic. Both will require faster Internet speeds.

Global broadband speeds will nearly double, making it easier to transfer large files and stream video. The average global speeds will grow from 27.5 megabits per second to 53 megabits per second. In North America, that speed will grow to 74.2 megabits per second.

Marketers may not pay much attention to network speeds or where stored content lives, but they should. Network operators are moving the content to the "edge of the network" or content delivery networks, Barnett said.

Rather than streaming all the content for hundreds of thousands of miles from the user, providers such as Verizon and AT&T are building cloud platforms for delivery networks like Netflix that are in closer proximity to users.

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