According to Cisco, Saudi Arabia will have 194.2 million network-connected devices, and 30 million internet users by 2022.
The Cisco Visual Networks Index predicts that the number of Internet users worldwide will reach 4.8 billion by 2022, of whom 549 million live in the Middle East and Africa.
During (30 Years of Possible) event, Cisco celebrated the 30th anniversary of the launch of the World Wide Web by unveiling the highlights of the Visual Networks Index from forecasts and analyzes of trends and continuous changes that will change the digital landscape in the region and the world.
The Cisco Visual Networking Index report identified four key factors expected for IP traffic growth in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East and Africa by 2022:
- Increased number of Internet users: The number of Internet users in Saudi Arabia will increase from 24 million in 2017 to 30 million by 2022. This means that the proportion of Internet users in Saudi Arabia will rise to 82.6% of its population, compared to 73.2% of its population in 2017.Cisco estimates that the Middle East and North Africa will have 549 million users and will be the world leader in the highest growth rate of IP data traffic, up by 41% from 2017 to 2022.
- Increased number of network-connected devices: Cisco expects that there will be 2.5 billion network-connected devices in the Middle East and Africa, while each individual in Saudi Arabia will have the equivalent of 5.4 networked devices. In Saudi Arabia alone, the number of network-connected devices and access points will increase by 83.3 million by 2022 to a total of about 194.2 million devices.Non-computing devices are expected to have the largest share in increasing data traffic rates, due to the growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections at the highest rates, followed by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.Cisco predicts that enhanced connectivity will create new opportunities for artificial intelligence and machine learning across sectors and smart homes.
- Increasing broadband speeds: Speed of broadband communication is a major driver of growth in IP traffic. Cisco expects that the speed to be doubled more than three times from 2017 to 2022. The speed of broadband connections in Saudi Arabia is expected to increase from 12.2 Mbps in 2017 to 41.2 Mbps by 2022, to enable corporations and individuals to work more quickly and efficiently.As the connection speed continues to grow, downloading large files that require hours will take no more than minutes or later even no more than a few seconds. It is also expected that the average monthly data traffic generated by the user in Saudi Arabia will rise to 40 GB, an increase of 68% compared to 2017. The rate of data generated by households in Saudi Arabia will increase by 196% during the same period.
- Increasing content and media-rich applications: The share of media-rich content and data-intensive files is expected to account for 85% of the IP traffic in Saudi Arabia by 2022, up from 70% in 2017.The expected increase of 15% in media-rich Internet data traffic is attributed to the rapid growth of movie and television broadcasting services and the flow of music on the Internet, as well as the increasing popularity of online games in Saudi Arabia. The rise in the popularity of online games will lead to a fivefold increase in IP traffic from games in Saudi Arabia compared to 2017 figures.
“We know that the Internet is growing rapidly,” said Salman Faqih, CEO of Cisco Saudi Arabia.
Faqih added: “As a result of Saudi Arabia ‘s continued investment in infrastructure and the development of a thriving economy and a vibrant society in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the fastest and most powerful Internet will open up unprecedented horizons for individuals and various commercial and industrial sectors. Digital transformation is a vital force for economic growth; companies must adopt an innovative and proactive mentality”.
Faqih continued: “Denial of service attacks could account for up to 25% of the country’s total Internet traffic. By applying appropriate protection mechanisms, companies can protect themselves during the full sequence of attack before, during and after an attack”.
“In a country like Saudi Arabia that embraces innovation, the Internet is still changing our lives in different ways. Recognizing the changes that are taking place in the Middle East and Africa, governments, policy makers and service providers must continue to unify their efforts to create an accessible and secure Internet service that supports sustainable economic growth,” Faqih added.