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Cisco Sees 4x Growth in Online Video Traffic By 2020: Report
Video streamed to televisions, virtual reality streaming, and ultra-HD are all making huge gains, trends that will continue in the coming years.

Online video traffic will see a massive increase in the next few years, predicts the Cisco Visual Networking Index released today. Online video will show a four-fold increase from 2015 to 2020, the report says, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent. In 2014, global video traffic measured 25.0 exabytes per month. That will grow to 105.2 exabytes in 2019.

(If this is your first time hearing "exabyte," it's a billion gigabytes. It's one measure beyond petabyte.)

While video made up 68 percent of consumer internet traffic in 2015, that will rise to 82 percent in 2020. Video made up 44 percent of business online traffic in 2015, and will rise to 66 percent in 2020. In total, online video will make up 77 percent of all online traffic by 2019, rising from 59 percent in 2014.

Video streamed to TV sets grew by 50 percent in 2015 alone, and will see a 3.6-fold increase by 2020. Ultra-high definition video will also be a large chunk of traffic: UHD counted for only 0.8 percent of online traffic in 2014, but will leap to 12.4 percent in 2019. That's a 131.5 percent CAGR, Cisco points out.

One fast rising category is video surveillance traffic. Spurred by inexpensive home monitoring cameras, video surveillance will grow 10-fold by 2020. And the hot area of the moment, virtual reality, is also doing it's part: VR video traffic has shown a 4-fold increase in the past year, and will show a 61-fold increase by 2020.

“Video traffic is growing exponentially. But it’s not just the quantity of video that matters, it’s the quality of that content too," says Thomas Barnett, Jr., director of service provider thought leadership at Cisco. "Over 66 percent of internet video will be HD quality and nearly 16 percent will be UHD by 2020. We’re getting better video experiences, but there are also higher requirements and demands for service provider networks to support higher definition content.”

Last week, an Ericsson report predicted that video will make up 70 percent of mobile traffic by 2021.

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