Friday, December 11, 2009

The Average American Consumes about 34GB of Data Daily

According to an article in the New York Times on Dec 9, UCSD has issued a report indicating that the average American consumes about 34 GB of data per day. This is up about 350% over nearly three decades ago. Are we going to drown in all this data? Can we keep up with the growth of data consumption?

I would imagine that if you had asked one of our founding fathers how they would cope with travelling at 60 mph they would have said that it would have been between difficult and impossible to function at that speed. Certainly if you asked if they could steer a vehicle at that speed you would have been looked at is if you were crazy. Yet, here we are. We think nothing of getting in the car and travelling at that speed. We watch the roadside whizzing past us and don't get too excited about it.

With data consumption it is the same thing, once you get used to dealing with that speed, you really don't feel like it's all that much to deal with.

What I do find interesting are a number of side issues relative to this point that should merit some attention. AT&T appears to be considering "limiting" the unlimited data plan for their iPhone. Particularly in the San Francisco and Manhattan markets. They claim that some iPhone "hogs" are consuming inordinate amounts of data with certain video applications. See this article or this really funny article on this point.

The other notable point is that the cable industry wants to set limits to the amount of data that they provide at the base rate to their customers at about 5GB per month. If this were to be accomplished we would find ourselves having to ration our consumption of data or pay exorbitant rates to get a "full" daily dosage of data.

Whatever your feelings about these developments, one thing is very clear. The amount of data that we will be consuming as the years roll on is going to increase dramatically. This is sort of a form of data pollution. The video density is becoming higher and higher. The number of devices we use this data on is increasing. Our appetite for higher density data on these types of products is increasing dramatically.

What do you think this will mean to our future technology developments? I'd like to hear from you about this.

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