South Africa is forecast to see a massive jump in internet traffic as more people switch to smartphones and other smart devices.
This is according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index 2015, which predicts that there will be 27 million internet users in SA by 2019, up from just 15 million in 2014. Internet protocol (IP) traffic is also forecast to grow six-fold, representing an annual growth rate of 44%.
Cisco said that a significant percentage of that growth will centre on internet video consumption, with South Africans expected to download 43 billion minutes of video content by 2019.
“South Africans are well on their way to adopt video and by 2019 the citizens would have streamed 43 billion minutes of video content. This stat highlights that consumers and businesses alike are using rich media clips as they head towards the digital era with the Internet of Everything,” said Vernon Thaver, chief technology officer at Cisco South Africa.
Mobile video traffic in SA is also expected to grow at 73% as people increasingly stream video content to smartphones.
Research conducted by other organisations has also previously explained how important smartphones are to South Africa’s internet landscape.
In a study produced by Orange Horizons on the provision of Wi-Fi in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha near Cape Town, 94% of respondents said that their primary means of connecting to the internet was a smartphone.
Internet users in the areas are granted 3GB of data for free per day, but 50% felt that it wasn’t enough and wanted more access, the study found. Viewing social media, downloading content and streaming made up the most of the users’ activities, according to the study.
Meanwhile, Cisco’s research indicated that by 2019, smartphones will cement their position as the primary internet tool, commanding 30% (57.5 million) of all networked devices, up from 22% last year in South Africa.
The demand for video will also drive new internet video services which are expected to account for 78% of all IP traffic, the company said.
“Residential, business and mobile consumers continue to have strong demand for advanced video services across all network and device types, making quality, convenience, content/experience and price key success factors,” said the Cisco report.
Cisco also predicted that SA’s average broadband speed will grow to 10mbps in 2019, up from 3.5mbps, resulting in the correlated growth of machine to machine communications and smart TVs.
“We are entering into a very dynamic technological era and the rapid increase in connected devices will benefit a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, utilities, government, healthcare, sports and entertainment, education, in terms of increased efficiency, reduced costs, and, most important, improvement of the lives of citizens,” said Thaver.