Huawei predicts 100B connections by 2025, producing 175 zettabytes of data per year

SHANGHAI--Huawei has added its voice to the growing chorus of companies predicting massive growth in the communications sector: The Chinese company said that, based on a new global survey of business executives, it now expects a total of 100 billion connections (both human and machine) by 2025, a figure that includes 8 billion smartphones. Huawei said that 90 percent of those connections would come from intelligent sensors. Interestingly, Huawei also said the United States is ranked second in--just behind Germany--in terms of which countries are best positioned to take advantage of the growth in the information and communications sector.

"We're still in the initial stage of full connectivity," said William Xu, a Huawei executive in charge of marketing, here at the company's cloud computing event. "It is our hope that the GCI will not only indicate ICT investment and development in various countries and industries but, more importantly, serve as a reference for industry policymakers and enterprise decision-makers."

Huawei's findings are part of the vendor's new "Global Connectivity Index," or GCI, which the company said is a "quantitative assessment of a country's efforts and achievements in the drive towards ubiquitous broadband."

The index is essentially the Chinese vendor's answer to the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report and Cisco's Visual Networking Index, both of which are widely cited by those in the telecommunications industry for growth figures. Specifically, Ericsson predicts that mobile data traffic between 2013 and 2019 will grow ten times, to close to 20 exabytes per month. And Cisco predicts 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020. That Huawei is releasing its own index reflects its desire to continue to play in the same league as the world's largest telecom technology providers. Indeed, Huawei is already the world's second largest provider of network infrastructure and the world's third largest smartphone vendor.

Huawei's GCI is based on surveys of around 1,000 business executives--including those in agriculture, education, financial services, government and other industry segments--in 25 countries. The countries include Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Mexico, Germany, the United States and the UK, and represent 68 percent of the world's population.

In its survey, Huawei found that technologies including cloud computing, the Internet of Things and new wireless network technologies will help drive new connections. And the company said that those connections will result in new services and technologies: For example, the firm predicted "body-area networks" that will monitor patients' organs and health will lead to better healthcare. Separately, it predicted connected stadiums for sporting events will capture every element of the game, including players' viewpoints, for those on-site or watching remotely.

All of those connections will generate enormous amounts of data, Huawei predicted. The company said the average Internet user consumes about 16 GB per month, and in 2025 that number will more than triple to around 50 GB per month. The result, Huawei said, will be 176 zettabytes of data produced in 2025 globally, up from 3.8 zettabytes last year.

Huawei's GCI also evaluated specific countries and how they are positioned to take advantage in the growth of connections. The firm ranked Germany, the United States, the UK, Chile and Japan, in that order, as those countries best positioned for the coming growth. Huawei pointed out Chile as a relative surprise in the top-five list, explaining that the country is working to build "a complete digital ecosystem." Huawei said the country's government has invested around 0.9 percent of GDP into telecommunications, and its mean broadband download speed is 14 Mbps. Huawei also said that, on average, each consumer in Chile will download 60 percent more apps every year to 2018.

For more:
- see this Huawei report

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