Quick Study

By Brian Robinson

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After Snowmageddon comes the Mobilpocalypse

The future of government communications is increasingly mobile, or at least that’s the assumption of all of the stories we read. Just as in the broader public world out there, government information in the future will be data-driven, and more and more of it will go to handheld communicators/computers.

So take a look at this recent report put together by networking giant Cisco Systems. Government CIOs need to pay particular attention.

Mobile data traffic will double every year through 2014, Cisco says, at a compound annual growth rate of 108 percent. That traffic will reach 3.6 exabytes (3.6 followed by a huge number of zeros) per month by 2014.

By then, two-thirds of the traffic will be taken up by video, which Cisco says already has the highest growth rate of any application category covered in the study.

What does this mean for government? Well, for a start, the network contracts that agencies are signing up for now and in the near future probably won’t be nearly robust enough. And you can bet that prices will be going up.

As a GigaOM story points out, by 2014 the average mobile broadband connection will be at around 7 gigabytes a month, compared to just 1.3 gigabytes now. Government won’t be able to dodge the bullet.

(A tip of the hat to GigaOM, which came up with the great Mobilipocalypse term; damn them!)

Expect both workarounds and true networking innovations over the next few years as people start to come to grips with this. One of the latter is this development that MIT is looking at, which harnesses the power of random to produce radically new network coding techniques.

The next few years will be a headache for CIOs but nirvana for the propellerheads.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM


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