Smart devices to outnumber humans by 2017

Large smartphone and people

The number of smartphones, tablets, laptops and internet-enabled devices will reach 10 billion by 2017, meaning there will be more smart devices on the planet than humans.

So claims research by networking giant Cisco, which found that the increase in mobile usage would be greatest in developing markets such as Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2012 to 2017 said the growth in devices will put infrastructure under strain and result in ISPs shifting customers to IPv6 to cope with the ever-expanding number of devices connecting to the internet.

It estimated that mobile data traffic would reach 11.2 exabytes per month, or 134 exabytes per year, by 2017. Cisco said smartphones, laptops and tablets would account for 93 per cent of global mobile data traffic by 2017.

A growing number of these devices would be internet-connected monitors, such as ones used for "smart metering", video surveillance, building maintenance and automation, healthcare and consumer electronics, the so-called "internet of things," Cisco added.

These devices will represent five per cent of 2017 global mobile data traffic.

Global mobile data traffic will continue its truly remarkable growth, increasing 13-fold over the next five years, to reach an amount more than 46 times the total amount of mobile IP traffic generated in 2010, according to Doug Webster, Cisco vice president of service provider networking marketing.

"With such dramatic mobile adoption we are rapidly

approaching the time when nearly every network experience will be a mobile one and, more often than not, a visual one as well," he added.

"This trend is a result of the seemingly insatiable demand by consumers and businesses alike to achieve the benefits gained when connecting people, data, and things in an internet of everything."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.