The infographic below shows Cisco’s predictions for the short range future of the internet based on data usage patterns.
The analysis of traffic types is the interesting part. It looks like Asia-Pacific will be consuming world intellectual property without paying; Europeans will be talking to one another; Africa will be barely aware of it all; and North America will be watching video, playing games, and buying things.
Sound about right?
Maybe not. Things do change, even in the short term. Trends to police and tax data usage and online commerce can still succeed in curbing, if not ruining the enterprise for sellers and buyers alike, not to mention thieves. Tax-starved governments, greedy ISPs, greedier telecoms, wealthy copyright holders and their lobbyists, and failures to plan social safety nets for displaced workers can all conspire to throttle down the communications renaissance that is now going on.
There is no question that Internet usage will continue to expand, but the nature of the Internet is in question. Will it be a free and democratic place, or will old order governmental and property agents succeed in suppressing its potential and taming its influence? For those who have given little thought to these matters, the Electronic Frontier Foundation might be a useful place to start.