Skip to Content
Uncategorized

The Machines Are Talking a Lot

The rise of sensors, surveillance cameras, and other automated devices can be seen in a new analysis of Internet traffic.
February 14, 2012

As one of the leading manufacturers of the equipment that routes data around the Internet, Cisco Systems is in good position to know just how many 0s and 1s go zipping around all day, every day. Today it released an annual analysis of how much Internet usage is growing on mobile devices, and the report produced some staggering numbers.

For example, Cisco estimates that the amount of data that was ferried to and from mobile devices last year was eight times greater than the data on all of the Internet in 2000. Global mobile data traffic is expected to see an 18-fold increase between 2011 and 2016. Not surprisingly, video is a big reason: Cisco expects there to be 7.6 exabytes of data flowing to mobile devices every month in 2016, about 70 percent of the total of 10.8 exabytes of data per month. (An exabyte is more than 1 billion gigabytes and equivalent to 250 million DVDs, if that helps you wrap your mind around it.)

But you might be surprised by the second-leading source of the expected surge in traffic. It won’t come from people, but from machine-to-machine communications, or “M2M.” Think of sensors in cars and in appliances, surveillance cameras, smart electric meters, and devices still to come, monitoring the world and reporting to each other and to centralized computers what they’re detecting. The chart below, reprinted from the Cisco report, shows just how extreme the jump in machine-to-machine communications could be. It is expected to grow, on average, 86 percent a year, and by 2016 it is expected to reach 508 petabytes a month, or half a billion gigabytes.

Source: Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011-2016

Keep Reading

Most Popular

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

pig kidney transplant surgery
pig kidney transplant surgery

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.