The Need for Speed…
I have been in this industry for far more years than I care to shout about but to give you a clue my first experience involved listening to a collective of service providers from across the industry evangelising about a fantastic broadband service that would provide staggering 1Mb downloads (for the price of a small car!). Obviously many things have changed but even back then it was all about speed and the amazing things you can do with a fast broadband connection.
Having recently spent time at a technology event (IP Expo North), I had the opportunity to listen to some interesting insight from James Kretchner, CTO at Akamai Technologies Inc which handles 35% of all worldwide internet traffic. It is clear that some 9 years on from my entry to this market, speed is still critical. The old adage of “build it and they will come” is very true - the more bandwidth that is supplied the more it will be consumed. However, none of this is news, the insightful part was around the adoption of mobile data and the way that businesses have come to rely on dependable fast connectivity.
Back in 2008 the primary use of a mobile phone was to make phone calls and send a text message or two. There were a handful of smart phones and email devices available in the market but availability of these was very much limited to the few rather than the many. Just a few years later a smart phone has now become as critical to modern day life as…a car! (Maybe more). So much so that there the penetration rate of smartphones is now 61% of all UK adults.
The use of a mobile device has however seen a significant swing. The graph below (Total Monthly Global Mobile Voice and Data as Measured by Ericsson) shows the growth in total bandwidth use for voice traffic across mobile has flat lined, however when compared to the staggering increase in data traffic across a mobile network you can easily see the seismic shift in how mobile devises are now used along with the increased adoption rate.
GM Speed blog IP Expo chart
By the end of 2019 Ericsson is forecasting that there will be a tenfold increase in data bandwidth. This is as a consequence of the rapidly increasing number of mobile data subscriptions.
Why? Because people are using their mobile devices to remotely manage networks and applications, make VoIP and video calls, use CCTV applications, shop, update social media and now even change the temperature of their home whilst on the other side of the world!
The speed of websites are also becoming even more critical, if a web pages takes just a few milliseconds longer to load then this could cost a business a sale. The world’s biggest internet companies are not exempt from this. A few years ago Google had an increase in the latency on their search engine of just 500miliseconds this impacted the traffic going through their search engine so much that they saw a 20% reduction in traffic. Amazon saw a latency increase of just 100miliseconds, which resulted in Amazon seeing their revenue decline by 1%. When you consider the revenue figures for Amazon this is a significant number of pounds and pence. All for a few milliseconds!
It’s not just about how quick you can get to a website and complete an action, it’s just as critical to ensure that any services either physical or in the cloud that are reliant on connectivity load quickly and provide a smooth, efficient service for users regardless of how they are connected. Your customers’ need for speed just keeps growing and if you can’t keep up with their expectations, they won’t complain, they’ll simply look elsewhere. Fast.