Virtual Reality Causing an Additional 21,000 PB of Traffic by '21

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Can the internet survive virtual reality? According to a forecast issued today by Juniper Research, virtual reality (VR) headset use will grow so significantly over the next four years (by over 650 percent) that they will use 21,000 petabytes of data by 2021. That's up from 2,800 PB this year. That figure is the equivalent of 3 billion hours of 4K streaming, Juniper notes.

Data requirements of VR devices will be greater than the demands of 4K devices by 2021, Juniper says, due to growing needs for better image quality and higher frame rates. To avoid network congestion, it recommends bringing network operators and broadband providers into the VR standards discussion now. Discussion points should include minimum frame rates and resolutions, as well as technologies to reduce data processing.

Juniper's research shows VR becoming more social. For example, Facebook and WeChat are creating social platforms for VR, and some VR games, such as "Star Trek: Bridge Crew," have social features.

In other VR news, ABI Research says 360° video, interactive video, and other immersive formats will generate $6 billion U.S. by 2022. Consulting firm Strategy Analytics says VR device owners in Western Europe are most likely to be between the ages of 25 and 44, while those in the U.S. are 33 to 44. More men than women own VR devices and intend to buy them in the future. For those intending to buy a VR device, the option of using VR to try other products before making a purchase is an attractive possibility. That information comes from the report "Virtual Reality: Who Are VR Owners and VR Intenders?"

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