By 2014, cellphones and other mobile devices will send and receive more data each month than they did in all of 2008. Three-fourths of the total will come from Internet access and nearly all the rest from audio and video streaming.
A big part of the increase in mobile data will come from cloud computing applications. Utility software (such as maps), will lead the way, followed closely by productivity tools (especially for sales, data sharing, and collaboration), then social networking and search. So predicts ABI Research, a telecom analysis firm in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
According to senior analyst Mark Beccue, the number of people subscribing to mobile cloud apps will rise from 71 million to nearly a billion by 2014. The firm defines an app as pertaining to the cloud when it "is no longer dependent on the device for data storage or processing power." Understood this way, much online-game playing doesn't take place in the cloud. Still, games will be the fifth most popular application area.
Asia will have by far the largest number of mobile cloud subscribers, but North America will pull in nearly as much in revenue, because high-paying enterprises will have a larger slice of the pie there.
But what will it be like for consumers? Beccue expects mobile banking to be big, and he says the cloud will also let us remotely "change thermostat settings, turn lights on or off, and record TV shows. [Security products maker] Schlage even has a keyless entry system that now lets you buzz someone through your front door via your phone."
This article originally appeared in print as "Forecast for Cloud Computing: Up, Up, and Away."