The availability of speedier Internet connections will likely transform a variety of products and services for businesses and consumers, according to research from Deloitte Global.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) predicts that the number of gigabit-per-second (gbit/s) Internet connections, which offer significantly faster service than average broadband speeds, will surge to 10 million by the end of the year, a tenfold increase. As average data connections get faster and the number of providers offering gigabit services grows, we expect businesses and consumers will steadily use more bandwidth, and a range of new data-intensive services and devices will come to market.
The expansion of gigabit connections will increasingly enable users to take advantage of high-speed data. For instance, the quality of both video streaming and video calling has already ticked up steadily along with data connection speeds over the past 10 years, and both services are now supported by billions of smartphones, tablets, and PCs. In the enterprise, significantly faster Internet speeds could enhance the ability of remote teams to work together: Large video screens could remain on throughout the work day, linking dispersed team members and enabling them to collaborate “side by side” even when they are thousands of miles apart.
Moreover, as available bandwidth increases, we expect many aspects of communication will be affected. Instant messages, for example, have already evolved from being predominantly text-based to incorporating photos and videos in ever-higher resolution and frame rates. Social networks, too, are hosting growing volumes of video views: As of November, there were 8 billion daily video views on Facebook, double the quantity from just seven months prior.¹
The expansion of gigabit services could reinvent the public sector and social services as well. A range of processes, from crowd monitoring to caring for the elderly, could be significantly enhanced through the availability of high-quality video surveillance. Crowd-control systems could use video feeds to accurately measure a sudden swarm of people to an area, while panic buttons used in the event an elderly person falls could be replaced by high-definition cameras.
Gigabit connections may also change home security solutions. Historically, connected home security relied on a call center making a telephone call to the residence, and many home video camera solutions currently record onto hard drives. As network connection speeds increase, however, cameras are likely to stream video, back up online, and offer better resolution and higher frame rates.² As video resolution increases and cameras proliferate, network demand will likely grow, too.
Additionally, some homes have already accumulated a dozen connected devices and will likely accrue more, with bandwidth demand for each device expected to rise steadily over time. There will also likely be a growing volume of background data usage, as an increased number of devices added to a network, from smartphones to smart lighting hubs, would require online updates for apps or for operating systems.
The Internet speed race is not likely to conclude with gigabit service. Deloitte Global expects Internet speeds to continue rising in the long term: 10 gigabits per second has already been announced, and 50 gigabit-per-second connections are being contemplated for the future.³ CIOs should maintain teams that can monitor the progress of bandwidth speeds—and not only those serving businesses and homes, but emerging gigabit options available via cellular networks and Wi-Fi hotspots as well.