Unified Communications

The Next 40 Years of the Internet? One Word: Video

by Suraj Shetty, Cisco Systems, January 29, 2010

Video will be the driving force behind a total transformation of user experience

Internet history teaches us that service innovation follows bandwidth expansion in a ‘virtuous circle’ of development. Application continues to drive bandwidth and bandwidth will drive new applications.

In 1995, 56k accelerated walled garden services from AOL and online bulletin boards. From 1997 to 2000, broadband speeds of 512k-1MB and the introduction of NetScape gave birth to the World Wide Web. In early 2000 with 2MBs, came peer-to-peer file sharing, online games, music downloads and Napster. In 2005, bandwidth of 2 - 5MBs brought us Web 2.0, MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube. Today, a speed of 10 - 50 MBs brings us HD IP TV and VoD. 

With history the best predictor of the future, what should we expect from the next 40 years of the Internet?  Video will completely reshape the Internet and its use. Video will be the driving force behind a total transformation of the user experience. 

Users will immerse themselves in video-based interactions anywhere, anytime, on any device. Today’s Web 2.0 and TV services will merge into a unified, ubiquitous, interactive, social, and media-rich experience for a new breed of viewer/user.

In five years, annual global IP traffic will reach two-thirds of a zettabyte (the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs = 1 zettabyte) and the sum of all forms of video will exceed 91 percent of global consumer traffic. A prediction—annual global IP traffic will reach a yottabyte (250 trillion DVDs) within 40 years!

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