Smartphone ownership and usage is at an all-time high, driven by expanding networks, reduced costs, and greater accessibility on a global scale. As a result of this mobile data usage is also rising rapidly, according to industry researchers at Ericsson. In their report published in June 2018, the IT giant looks at the statistics and trends that will drive the mobile industry between now and 2023. Their findings presenting some very interesting insights into global data usage and how it will develop in the future. So how will the mobile data landscape change over the next five years and how will this affect organizations?
The Age of the Smartphone
It will not come as a surprise to many that smartphones have quickly become the most commonly used technical gadgets globally, with the number of devices and subscriptions sold continuously increasing. By the end of 2023, Ericsson forecast that smartphone subscriptions will reach 7.2 billion. Cisco, another industry leader, similarly predict that by just 2021 there will be over 6.2 billion devices in circulation globally. This growth is likely to be a direct result of the enhanced performance, expansion of networks and lowering cost of high-performing devices, especially in emerging markets such as India and Brazil.
In recent months mobile devices have become the main platform for internet access and services, including messaging and communication, video and music streaming, and social media access for both personal and corporate use. So with mobile usage quickly overtaking desktop, what does this mean for businesses? As the market continuously grows and develops, the need for protection from potential threats and rising costs only becomes more important. In both an individual and a corporate setting, it is common practice to protect desktop devices from potential cyber attacks and to put controls in place to ensure users follow fair usage policies and keep costs low. Therefore, as mobile device usage increases and takes over from desktop, implementing similar controls on mobile is essential. Even more so, as mobile devices are increasingly being taken out of the corporate network and used for personal as well as professional business, limits and protections on usage are crucial.
Mobile Data Explosion
Due to this increase in smartphone usage, mobile data consumption is also predicted to skyrocket in the next five years. Today, 85% of total mobile data traffic is generated by smartphones, with this figure expected to reach 95% by 2023. Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2021, while traffic from mobile and wireless devices will account for more than 63% total IP traffic in this same year. Ericsson predict that in the next five years, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by eight times to 107 EB per month. These high volumes of data consumption will be heavily influenced by the introduction of 5G services in countries such as the US, Japan and China in the coming months.
Video traffic is reported as the fastest growing segment of mobile traffic, growing at an annual rate of 45% to reach 73% of all mobile traffic by 2023. This is likely due to increased viewing time, more embedded content in other media, and evolution towards higher resolutions. The increased usage of live video, augmented reality and virtual reality, which require faster connections and more bandwidth, are also expected to heavily impact this growth in data consumption.
Implications for Organizations
So what do these figures and the rising use of mobile data mean for mobile device users and organizations? As data usage levels increase, they becomes harder to control and manage leading to greater costs for the organization. Many mobile phone carriers and service providers do not have any data plans in place to accommodate the launch of 5G and the differences in data speeds and consumption that it will bring. This will pose quite the challenge for businesses as employees will be using greater amounts of data but without a reliable way monitor usage levels and data plans to match 5G speeds. Users could find themselves exceeding limits much faster and easier than they realize leading to ‘bill shock’ for the company from the extortionate costs of data bills. While the introduction of 5G networks and increased usage of smart devices will be extremely beneficial for organizations in terms of speed and productivity, visibility of corporate data usage will also be crucial to ensure devices are not being used for non-business purposes and accumulating unnecessary costs.
However, as well as providing comprehensive protection from cyber threats and malicious content, Corrata’s mobile data management solution offers businesses unrivaled visibility and control of data usage on employees’ mobile devices. Organizations can get real time visibility of data usage, set limits for individual employees, and enforce restrictions on non-business or data-heavy apps and websites to eliminate unnecessary mobile costs, as data usage levels seem to only be heading in one direction: upwards.