It’s time for Mobile World Congress 2018, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry with more than 94,000 mobile enthusiasts expected to attend. Western Digital will be there to share insights and innovations that enable mobile data to thrive. But first, what are this year’s biggest trends in mobile? How is data changing amid the data revolution that’s happening right now? How can data help drive the amazing innovations in mobile technology that touch our everyday lives?
The Data Revolution
Data generated by connected devices is projected to grow 2x in the next two years to 114 YB (yes, yottabytes!) by 2020, according to ABI Research. While mobile devices and personal computers may not be growing at that pace, the behind-the-scenes technologies that make them shine are driving demand for higher capacities, faster and more secure storage solutions. Technologies such as application processors, imaging sensors, higher speed connectivity and software are all at the heart of the data revolution that requires the ability to capture, preserve access and transform an ever-increasing amount and diversity of data.
5G and AI Open New Possibilities
In the mobile sector, the approval of the initial 5G New Radio (NR) specifications in December 2017 by the 3GPP marks a major milestone in the 5G era. Imagine the impact 5G will have on user experience. In a 3G world, it might take 26 hours to download a two-hour movie (~4.5GB) to a mobile device at 384 Kbps*. In 4G, that same movie could be downloaded in six minutes at 100 Mbps*, which might still be too long for me to bother if I’m racing between flights at an airport. But, on 5G, I could be able to download it in less than 5 seconds at 10 Gbps*, which would certainly change how I use my mobile device!
Mobile Data is Getting Smarter with AI
As if the promise of 5G is not exciting enough, the advancement of mobile CPUs with “on-device” artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities brings on a whole new world of user experience. Your smart phone is getting smarter. AI has already become a part of our daily life with applications like voice recognition and image processing. Coupled with 5G, the massive data collected through on-device sensors and online transactions will make smart phones even smarter and more responsive to our changing lifestyles. The on-board storage where data and context reside will also enable augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. In the medical field, doctors will be able to perform surgery overlaid in real-time. Shoppers will order lunch at the mall by clicking on their phone as they walk to a restaurant.
AI, 5G and smart devices are intertwined as in an analogy of the human body: AI is the brain, the 5G network provides the backbone and neural system that enables smart devices to work as a muscle to deliver incredible user experience. For all of this to happen on smart devices, faster and higher capacities are required for data processing at the edge.
The Rise of Video and Imaging on Mobile Devices
Along with AI trending toward the mainstream and the anticipation of faster 5G networks is the trend toward increased viewership of video on mobile devices. Mobile video is projected to increase sevenfold from 2016 to 2021, reaching 49 exabytes per month by 2021. This means video has the highest growth rate of any mobile data category, making up 78% of mobile data traffic by 2021.
Today around 70 percent of consumers watch TV and video on a smart phone, twice as many as in 2012, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab’s TV & Media 2017 study. The study also says smart phones make up one-fifth of total viewing with approximately six hours a week spent watching TV and videos on mobile devices. Some people opt for viewing streamed content on a mobile device instead of owning a TV!
Over the past few years we’ve seen the evolution of Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) to now 4K and eventually 8K resolutions. Just as we see in the surveillance space, higher definition video requires increased capacity to support these enhanced views, whether by Content Delivery Network or live to your mobile device. Today’s mobile phones are increasingly storing HD video, multi-shot and panoramic photos. Not far ahead will be 4K video, 3D photos and more AR/VR. Larger on-device capacities to store all of this data types are inevitable!
The Explosion of Mobile Apps and App Sizes
Another trend in mobile, as evidenced by a quick glance at any consumer’s smart phone, is the sheer volume of mobile apps downloaded, and the increasing size of them. Mobile apps are taking up more storage space than ever before. Popular social media platforms as well as mobile phone providers have recently upped their capacities for users to store mobile apps. Entry-level compute capacities on laptops and tablets are also increasing to accommodate the increase in mobile apps and their sizes.
Creating Environments for Mobile Data to Thrive
To address these trends in mobile, Western Digital has recently introduced its most advanced UFS and e.MMC storage solutions, which will be on display at Mobile World Congress: the intelligent, new iNAND® 8521 and iNAND® 7550 EFD. When designed into smartphones and thin, lightweight computing devices, they accelerate the possibilities of a wide range of demanding data-centric applications, including augmented reality (AR), high resolution video capture and rich social media experiences, as well as emerging AI and Internet of Things (IoT) experiences at the “edge.”
Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. Everywhere data is captured, preserved, accessed and transformed, we’re leading the charge to unlock its potential. From advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions create environments where the flow of information leads to smarter decisions, breakthrough discoveries and deeper connections.
Join us at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona to learn how to make mobile data thrive! And, while many of us are Mobile World Congress, we’ll also be sharing our flash-based storage solutions optimized specifically for IoT, industrial and automotive applications at Embedded World, Nuremberg, Germany from February 27 – March 1.
*Based on required maximum data rates per ITU Requirements for IMT-Advanced Radio Interfaces and 4.5 GB of data for a two-hour movie.
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Jackie is Director of Product Marketing for Mobile and Compute product lines with an MBA from UCLA and BS in Engineering from Tsinghua Uni.