The cloud has always been in a key pillar of digital transformation—and it is fast becoming one of the enablers of tomorrow’s mobile world.

According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI) 2015-2020, cloud traffic will represent 92 percent  of total data center traffic globally by 2020.

mobile networkIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that an increasing number of applications and workloads are moving to the cloud. Due to the ability of cloud infrastructure to scale quickly and efficiently, cloud operators are delivering a growing variety of services to businesses and consumers alike.

In Asia Pacific, cloud adoption is already in overdrive and will continue to gain traction. The region is set to outpace the rest of world with a 31.6 percent CAGR in cloud data center workloads from 2015 to 2020. Key market forces and trends driving today’s cloud momentum include:

The world has gone mobile

Mobile trafficSmartphones have quickly become the main “communications hub” for many people across the Asia Pacific region, especially in countries such as India. Consumers and business users are increasingly using their mobile devices to access cloud-enabled applications such as collaboration, social networking and video streaming. Mobile data traffic in Asia-Pacific is set to increase 7-fold from 2016 to 2021 to make up a quarter of total Internet traffic. Of that traffic, 92 percent will be from cloud services, up from 85 percent in 2016*. This shift means that mobile users’ quality of experience will be increasingly dependent on the mobile network’s ability to deliver cloud services with high bandwidth and low latency.

Consumer workloads are growing fast, driven by video applications

Video and social networking will dominate consumer workloads. Globally, video streaming alone will account for 34 percent of total consumer workloads by 2020. In the region, video is already the majority of fixed and mobile traffic and will continue to grow by 9-fold between 2016 and 2021[1]. As the transition to 5G networks takes shape, video will be one of the primary beneficiaries with faster speed and improved quality for end-users. 5G networks will also further enable new applications such as augmented and virtual reality.

Rise of machines and IoT connections

Cloud services are also accelerated by the unprecedented amount of data traffic being generated by not only people, but also machines and IoT connected devices. As more data, business processes and devices become connected, 47 percent of all connected devices in Asia Pacific will be M2M connections1. For service providers, the ability to create M2M connections can generate significant new business opportunities in the B2B and enterprise market segment. Service providers will need to leverage hybrid cloud enviroments to build these IoT platforms to allow for service agility and capability exposure to enterprises.

Powering transformation through cloud innovation

Just as Asia Pacific is gearing up for cloud transformation, service providers need to ensure their mobile networks are cloud ready, and equipped with the agility to cope with the sheer volume and complexity of cloud-enabled workloads. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is another significant game-changer in redefining network architecture and service delivery, empowering service providers to unlock greater efficiency, capacity and reduced costs.

Along with the increased significance of the cloud, the explosion of mobile-ready devices and IoT connections also mean service providers need to ensure faster, more reliable mobile services – a promise that future 5G networks can deliver upon, by taking the benefits of NFV and network slicing concepts.


Are your networks ready for 5G?

To handle the increased amount of network traffic generated, service providers need to look at streamlining their infrastructures to ensure they can deliver IP-based services profitably. Some of the technologies that service providers should consider include:

  • Leaf-spine architectures to flatten the tired architecture of data centers to better support the increasing number of mobile connections
  • Software-defined networks (SDN) which separate the control and forwarding of data center traffic to streamline mobile data flow and address any bandwidth bottlenecks
  • Network function virtualization (NFV) which virtualizes a variety of network elements to bring in more network programmability and automation that facilitate new service innovations

Combined, they will give service providers the flexibility and agility to adapt to evolving user demands, as well as server, networking and IT needs. They also facilitate faster time-to-market of new services to accommodate upcoming trends such as the proliferation of IoT.

Cisco GCI estimates that by 2020, over 40 percent of all within-data-center traffic will be transported via SDN/NFV networks. Service providers looking to remain competitive will need to create service differentiation through these technology tools and approaches.

With our full suite of solutions and network innovation, Cisco is well positioned to help service providers in Asia Pacific prepare their networks infrastructure for 5G.

The possibilities of 5G are endless, and we look forward to helping you discover more greater opportunities.
Download our Service Provider Strategy whitepaper or contact us today to find out how we can help you lay the groundwork for mobile success.


*Source:  Cisco VNI Forecast Highlights Tool


Andrew Mackay

Head of Mobile Solutions

Asia-Pacific Region