Cisco sees 'near doubling' of online video users by 2016

The number of online video users will nearly double, from 792 million, to 1.5 billion, in 2016, according to the annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) compiled by Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Video, the report said, account for 51 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2011 and that percentage should go up to 54 percent in 2016. Toss in TV streamed on the Internet, video-on-demand and P2P traffic and video will account for 86 percent of all Internet traffic in 2016, the San Jose, Calif.-headquartered company said.

Naturally, to get all this traffic there has to be a way to connect and the report also forecasts that global Internet connections will jump, from 10.3 billion in 2011, to 18.9 billion in 2016, fueled by Web-connected devices like smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, TV sets and "handheld devices," an apparent catch-all category for anything that's left.

Smartphone data usage alone is expected to soar from 110 megabytes a month to 1.7 gigabytes a month in the ensuing years.

The final impetus will be spurred by the improved video quality that comes from faster connection speeds that move from an average of 9 Mbps in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016. With those kinds of speeds, consumers can expect that 79 percent of all Internet video will be in high definition by 2016.

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