GSMA: Mobile Big Data Revenues Set To Surpass Voice by 2018

Big Data’s pumped in some massive revenues for those fast enough to jump on the bandwagon, generating some $11.4 billion in 2012 alone, according to the latest Wikibon report. But this is only the beginning, as the burgeoning industry has just began flexing its muscles – by 2017, Big Data is expected to be worth as much as $50 billion a year.

One of the fastest growing segments in Big Data has to do with mobile data, with industry association GSMA predicting that revenues from this service will likely exceed those generated by voice call services by 2018, driven by consumer’s voracious appetite for ever-more connected devices.

The GSMA’s latest report, developed alongside PriceWaterhouseCooper’s, shines the spotlight on a number of facts that are set to “revolutionize people’s lives within the next five years”.

Among the biggest benefits we’re set to see are massive savings of up to $4 billion a year in the cost of healthcare in OECD countries thanks to the emergence of ‘mhealth services’, while an arguably even bigger impact will be the saving of one in nine lives thanks to the ability to contact emergency services via ‘connected cars’.

Connected devices will bring benefits in other areas too, such as education, where its expected that student drop-outs will be reduced by 8% (1.8 million children) thanks to mobile education services, while the environment will also benefit from a 27 million ton reduction in carbon emissions thanks to smart meters.

Meanwhile in developing nations, GSMA argue that mobile health services could save as many as one million lives in sub-Saharan Africa, while services like food transportation and storage will be improved due to mAutomative technology, helping to feed an additional 40 million people annually. Elsewhere, mobile education will enable an extra 180 million students in developing countries to further their education, while commute times could be reduced by up to 35% through the introduction of intelligent transport systems that rely on mobile networks.

Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer at GSMA, explains:

“’Mobile data is not just a commodity, but is becoming the lifeblood of our daily lives, society and economy, with more and more connected people and things. This is an immense responsibility and the mobile industry needs to continue collaborating with governments and key industry sectors to deliver products and services that help people around the world improve their businesses and societies.”

However, there are warnings that some countries may not be ready to make the most of the coming mobile data boom. Data center network operator Brocade told Mobile Today that in order for the public to benefit from the surge in data usage, organizations will need to collaborate and share networks and infrastructure:

“The report found that data could overtake voice revenues in the UK as early as next year, but the question we need to ask ourselves is, are we ready for it?,” warns Brocade in a statement.

Consumers are more than ready for it of course – one only has to look at the speed in which people are becoming increasingly dependent on their connected devices for their work, education and social lives to see the massive opportunities that are just beginning to open up. But the problem, according to Brocade’s Marcus Jewell, is that innovation remains siloed and could prevent many of these benefits emerging.

If we’re all to truly benefit from better connectivity we need schools, hospitals and businesses to talk to each other and collaborate by sharing infrastructure and networks,” explains Jewell.

“By starting to future-proof the way we carry data around now, businesses and public services will thrive in the mobile world. Those that don’t will be left out in the cold.”