The Middle East and Africa is poised for major IP
traffic growth, according to Cisco.
Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast predicts 4.8 billion Internet users to
be connected globally by 2022 – out of which 549 million will be living in the
Middle East and Africa.
“Cisco Connect: Say Hello to the Future” event on March 12, held at the
Atlantis The Palm resort at the end of Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah, Cisco
celebrated 30 years of the World Wide Web by sharing insights from the VNI
Forecast to predict trends and behaviours evolving in the digital landscape in
the region and globally.
VNI Forecast predicts four key drivers of IP traffic growth in the MEA region
1. A 9% increase in the number of Internet users
number of people using the Internet will grow from 23% of the region’s
population in 2017 to 32%.
features high on the national agendas of most of the region’s countries. Cisco
estimates that the MEA region will have approximately 549 million Internet users
and account for the highest growth rate in IP traffic worldwide, with a 41%
increase from 2017.
2. An increasing number of connections
predicts there will be approximately 2.5 billion devices connected to the
network, equating to 1.4 networked devices per capita in MEA.
devices will drive 91% of regional Internet traffic by 2022. With projected
average mobile network connection speeds to grow by as much as 28%, smartphones
in particular are expected to make up 79% of Internet traffic in MEA, with 1.2 trillion
connected smartphones by 2022. Cisco anticipates the enhanced connectivity to
create new possibilities for AI and machine learning across industries and in
3. Faster broadband speeds
broadband connection speed is a key enabler for IP traffic growth, Cisco
predicts the speeds will increase more than two-fold, from 2017 to 2022.
it is expected that broadband speeds in MEA will increase from 7.8Mbps in 2017
to 20.2Mbps by 2022 – enabling businesses and individuals to operate with
greater speed and efficiency. As this speed continues to increase, large
downloads will go from taking hours to a matter of minutes and eventually,
4. More media-rich content and applications
terms of rich media, data-heavy files and videos are anticipated to make up 81%
of the MEA region’s IP traffic by 2022, up from 65% in 2017.
predicted 16% increase in media-rich Internet traffic can be partially
attributed to the rapid growth of OOT film, television and music streaming
services in MEA. As online gaming also continues to grow in popularity, Cisco
predicts that the region will experience a five-fold increase in Internet
gaming traffic from 2017, making up 1 percent of total IP traffic in MEA by
Commenting on Cisco’s VNI Forecast and the changes predicted to affect MEA,
Cisco Middle East and Africa vice president David Meads said: “It is
undeniable that the Internet is growing at an exponential rate. As governments
continue to invest in infrastructure, a faster and stronger Internet opens the
doors to unprecedented opportunities for individuals and industry alike.”
more. “Digitisation is a critical force for economic growth, so businesses
must adopt a mindset that is proactive, rather than reactive. DDoS attacks can
represent up to 25% of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are
occurring. By implementing the appropriate cyberdefence mechanisms,
organizations can protect themselves throughout the full attack continuum –
before, during and after an attack.”
Meads also added: “With nations such as the
UAE championing innovation, the Internet has, and continues to change our lives
in an infinite number of ways. Recognising the changes that are affecting MEA,
government, policymakers and service providers must continue to unite in their
efforts to create an accessible Internet that is available to the masses,
underpinned by a secure framework to aid sustainable growth.”
March 12, 2019, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the
“World Wide Web”, Tim Berners-Lee’s ground-breaking invention.
In just thirty years, this flagship
application of the Internet has forever changed our lives, our habits, our way
of thinking and seeing the world. Yet, this anniversary leaves a bittersweet
taste in our mouth: the initial decentralized and open version of the Web,
which was meant to allow users to connect with each other, has gradually
evolved to a very different version, centralized in the hands of giants who
capture our data and impose their standards.
We have poured our work, our hearts and a lot
of our lives out on the internet. For better or for worse. Beyond business uses
for Big Tech, our data has become an incredible resource for malicious actors,
who use this windfall to hack, steal and threaten. Citizens, small and large
companies, governments: online predators spare no one. This initial mine of
information and knowledge has provided fertile ground for dangerous abuse: hate
speech, cyber-bullying, manipulation of information or apology for terrorism –
all of them amplified, relayed and disseminated across borders.
control: between Scylla and Charybdis
Faced with these excesses, some countries
have decided to regain control over the Web and the Internet in general: by
filtering information and communications, controlling the flow of data, using
digital instruments for the sake of sovereignty and security. The outcome of
this approach is widespread censorship and surveillance. A major threat to our
values and our vision of society, this project of “cyber-sovereignty” is also
the antithesis of the initial purpose of the Web, which was built in a spirit
of openness and emancipation. Imposing cyber-borders and permanent supervision
would be fatal to the Web.
To avoid such an outcome, many democracies have
favored laissez-faire and minimal intervention, preserving the virtuous
circle of profit and innovation. Negative externalities remain, with
self-regulation as the only barrier. But laissez-faire is no longer the
best option to foster innovation: data is monopolized by giants that have
become systemic, users’ freedom of choice is limited by vertical integration
and lack of interoperability. Ineffective competition threatens our economies’
ability to innovate.
In addition, laissez-faire means being
vulnerable to those who have chosen a more interventionist or hostile stance.
This question is particularly acute today for infrastructures: should we
continue to remain agnostic, open and to choose a solution only based on its
economic competitiveness? Or should we affirm the need to preserve our
technological sovereignty and our security?
a third way
To avoid these pitfalls, France, Europe and
all democratic countries must take control of their digital future. This age of
digital maturity involves both smart digital regulation and enhanced
Holding large actors accountable is a
legitimate and necessary first step: “with great power comes great
Platforms that relay and amplify the audience
of dangerous content must assume a stronger role in information and prevention.
The same goes for e-commerce, when consumers’ health and safety is undermined
by dangerous or counterfeit products, made available to them with one click. We
should apply the same focus on systemic players in the field of competition:
vertical integration should not hinder users’ choice of goods, services or
But for our action to be effective and leave
room for innovation, we must design a “smart regulation”. Of course, our goal
is not to impose on all digital actors an indiscriminate and disproportionate
Rather, “smart regulation” relies on
transparency, auditability and accountability of the largest players, in the
framework of a close dialogue with public authorities. With this is mind,
France has launched a six-month experiment with Facebook on
the subject of hate content, the results of which will contribute to current
and upcoming legislative work on this topic.
In the meantime, in order to maintain our
influence and promote this vision, we will need to strengthen our technological
sovereignty. In Europe, this sovereignty is already undermined by the prevalence
of American and Asian actors. As our economies and societies become
increasingly connected, the question becomes more urgent.
Investments in the most strategic disruptive
technologies, construction of an innovative normative framework for the sharing
of data of general interest: we have leverage to encourage the emergence of
reliable and effective solutions. But we will not be able to avoid protective
measures when the security of our infrastructure is likely to be endangered.
To build this sustainable digital future
together, I invite my G7 counterparts to join me in Paris on May 16th.
On the agenda, three priorities: the fight against online hate, a human-centric
artificial intelligence, and ensuring trust in our digital economy, with the
specific topics of 5G and data sharing.
Our goal? To take responsibility. Gone are
the days when we could afford to wait and see.
Our leverage? If we join our wills and
forces, our values can prevail.
have the responsibility to design a World Wide Web of Trust. It is still within
our reach, but the time has come to act.
Audiovisual Heritage of the UN News came up with this call to action for all to try and ‘bring to life’ any audio-visual recordings of their life, be it private or public, all presumably for posterity’s sake.
Old, grainy film and video footage from years gone by, not only stirs powerful memories – it’s also a vital resource for future generations, the United Nations cultural agency has highlighted, urging everyone to safeguard audio-visual heritage and make archives more accessible.
These images and sounds recorded on film, video and audio tape, “feed into our collective memory and establish links between generations”, Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in her message marking the official World Day for Audio-visual Heritage.
“[However,] this memory, which has remained alive and is essential to historians, scientists and ordinary citizens seeking knowledge of their past, is nonetheless fragile,” she added, noting the increasing neglect of archives which are made up of what is now obsolete analogue media, like LP records and quarter-inch audio tape.
Focusing this year on the theme, “Your Story is Moving,” UNESCO, in partnership with the Coordinating Council of Audio-visual Archives Associations (CCAAA), is calling on everyone to showcase personal and family archives.
“Bringing them out of lofts and cellars, sharing slices of life, moments captured on film or videotape, can bring alive, with emotion, an existence that has become a thing of the past,” continued Ms. Azoulay in her message.
“Heritage is not an inanimate object; it is full of meaning, significance and all the emotions that have accompanied the lives of past generations,” she added.
Alongside events globally to mark the World Day, UNESCO is also appealing on everyone to share their stories with the hashtag #AudioVisualheritage to bring their own “moving stories” to the world.
Preserving world history at the UN
In this special video, take a peek into the work of our expert UN archivists, as they protect tens of thousands of records documenting the history of diplomacy from the last century, preserving them for future generations.
Marked annually, on 27 October, the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage aims to raise awareness of the importance of audio-visual documents, redouble efforts to safeguard them and promote greater access to archives.
The World Day is a commemoration of the adoption, in 1980, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images by the 21st UNESCO General Conference.
In this episode of The Anthill podcast we talk to historians, future thinkers, designers and sci-fi watchers about our love of predicting what’s to come.
We talk to somebody who does it for a living, Anders Sandberg, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, who explains how he got into future studies, and what it’s like predicting the future as a day job. Thankfully, not all doom and gloom.
Back in the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes predicted the future of work would leave us more time to sit back and relax. With robots taking on more and more menial tasks, he thought technology would reduce the working week to just 15 hours and the rest of our time would be devoted to leisure.
So why haven’t we got there yet? As we hear from Martin Parker, professor of organisation and culture at the University of Leicester, it will take more than just robots to make this happen; society will need to be entirely reorganised in the process. Meanwhile, Ursula Huws, professor of labour and globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire, identifies four areas where jobs will boom – in spite of all the robots.
We delve into the history of how our ancestors imagined the future too. Selena Daly, assistant professor in Italian Studies and an expert in the Italian futurists, tells us the story of the avant-garde art and cultural movement started by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti a few years before World War I. Both destructive and provocative in its vision, it’s a case study in how visions of the future can get wound up in politics.
Helping us to track other visions of futures past, Nick Dunn, professor of urban design at Lancaster University who runs its Imagination design research lab, reveals his favourite dystopian and utopian visions for what future cities could look like. And Amy Chambers, who researches science communication and screen studies at Newcastle University, explains how both utopias and dystopias in science fiction have been used to help imagine a better future. Today, she says, science fiction on the small screen is taking the idea of AI and running with it, creating a range of near futures that we can all be scared of.
This most beautiful article produced and published on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Common Dreams and written by Nika Knight, staff writer about Thousands Marching for Native Nations, a movement of populations reacting to the newly elected president of the United States standing for the Big Oils forcing their way with a pipe-line through indigenous lands in the Dakota plains.
We would take this opportunity to remind that the right of marginalised indigenous individuals as well as communities are almost unknown or unheard of in the MENA region populations. The very best example that could laid out for illustration would be the Kuwaiti Bidoons that are by the way found in pockets in almost all countries of the Gulf, Palestine and North Africa.
We recommend reading the article in its original setting for a better appreciation of the embedded message of justice, and eventually provision of some equity as it were in our consumption of the environment.
The march began at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters and ended at Lafayette Square, in front of the White House. En route, demonstrators erected a tipi at the Trump Hotel to “reclaim stolen land”:
Afterward, the rights and land defenders marched on to the White House:
The march culminated in a rally at Lafayette Square. Indigenous people and protesters spoke, prayed, played music, and repeated calls for environmental justice, sovereignty, and a meeting between President Donald Trump and leaders of tribal nations.
“Standing Rock was just the beginning, “said a journalist with Indigenous Rising Media, speaking to a plaintiff in one of the multiple lawsuits against the U.S. government for permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction.
A live broadcast of the march and rally can be found here. Throughout the day, participants and journalists are also posting photos and videos of the action under the hashtag #NativeNationsRise:
Thomas Baekdal in his “Something to think about” blog, has written and published this article on September 5th, 2016. Where are Baekdal Plus subscribers from is not only about the origins of his subscribers, pondering on whether in this day and age it matters that much, Thomas quite rightly pointed out that the Internet accessible now to billions is having bearings on the conventional media as well as on the ensuing trans-border cultural mutations. Baekdal expresses loud and clear how for the sake of ease of communication, the media are increasingly published in English for reach, spread and for future growth.
One of the things that often defines a digital native is that they have no country. Traditional media companies are all country-based. We often hear that traditional publishers are ‘expanding into [insert country]’, as if they are not already there.
Digital natives don’t think like this, because they are global by default. A US YouTuber would never say, “I want to expand into Canada,” because they are already in every country in the world.
I wrote much more about this in my recent newsletter, which you can see here (and if you aren’t getting it already, do add yourself to the list).
Another place I see this is looking at this site, Baekdal Plus. My audience comes from all over the world (although some countries are dominating more than others), and it’s quite interesting to look at.
The way I run my business simply wouldn’t be possible 10-15 years ago. Baekdal Plus is 100% digital, but only 3% of audience is coming from my own country. 97% is coming from other countries, which I would not have been able to reach before the internet.
But let me show you the data.
There many ways we can measure an audience. Do we just look at the traffic, or do we look at conversion (which in my case means subscribers)? Well, let’s look at both.
Here is a graph illustrating which countries my audience is coming from if you look at unique visitors.
As you can see, I have a ton of traffic coming from the US, but keep in mind that the US is also a country with 318 million people, so it’s not really surprising that this one country stands out.
When we instead look at this per capita, now we see that most of my traffic is coming from countries that are close to my own (Denmark/Northern Europe) and/or English speaking.
Notice how I have just as much traffic from Australia as from the US, when compared per capita. Language is more powerful than distance in the connected world.
But notice how people from almost every single country in the world visit this site. The only ones missing are a few countries in Africa, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Eastern Europe… and North Korea.
This would have been impossible just 15 years ago.
But I’m not really interested in unique visitors, because I don’t make any money just from the traffic. Baekdal Plus is monetized by subscriptions, so it’s far more relevant to me to look at that.
So, here is the same map but for all ‘conversions’, being both actual subscribers and people signing up for a free trial.
Yes, the US is dominating Baekdal Plus in a big way. About 60% of all my subscribers and free trials come from the US.
But again, because the US is so big, it is kind of hard to see what’s going on everywhere else. So here is the same data excluding the US.
What you see now is that the UK and Belgium are my two largest (non-US) countries in terms of where my subscribers are coming from. Next are Norway and Sweden. Then comes Australia, followed by my own country (Denmark), Germany, Canada and Brazil.
Yes, Brazil. How awesome is that?
You will also notice that I’m getting more and more subscribers from India and Indonesia, which is just brilliant.
Africa is a bit of a problem though, and so is China. I have a few important subscribers in Hong Kong, but because of China’s media laws, it’s impossible for me to make Baekdal Plus relevant for them.
I want to mention Turkey here as well. As you can see above, I do have a number of subscribers in Turkey, which I find to be very interesting. Or rather, I used to have subscribers in Turkey, but not anymore.
As you may know, Turkey has decided to close down its internet to global players by forcing, for instance, payment providers to operate entirely within its borders (similar to what is happening in China). And as a result, PayPal has been forced to stop all payments from my subscribers in Turkey.
It’s yet another example of how Turkey is destroying itself and hurting not just the media industry, but also the tech industry. It’s really sad to see.
So, I’m unable to get any new subscribers from Turkey, and my existing subscribers cannot renew their subscriptions (although what I have done is to extend their subscriptions indefinitely, so that all my current Turkish subscribers are getting Baekdal Plus for free).
So, thank you Turkey for being an idiot.
The above map, however, shows you all conversions, regardless of whether people are currently active subscribers or not. So what if we just look at the active subscribers?
Well, here you go:
Again, the US is dominating. Not as much as before though. While 60% of all free trials and subscribers are from the US, only 29% of all active subscribers are from the US.
But while the US is awesome, let’s exclude it from the data so that we can see the pattern everywhere else, which looks like this:
Again, we see that the UK and Belgium are huge countries for Baekdal Plus, but Sweden is not far behind. Then comes Norway and Germany, followed by Australia and Canada. Brazil is pretty high up as well. Spain, France and India are pretty good too, as well as Mexico and Argentina.
But look at Denmark. My own country has almost dropped off the map, and I have nowhere near as many subscribers coming from my own country as the countries around me.
As I said before, only 3% of my annual revenue is coming from media companies within my own country. 97% comes from other countries. And you simply couldn’t do this 10-15 years ago. This is what happens when you live in the connected world.
So, when I define my location as ‘global’ on Twitter, that’s really what I am. I may live in Denmark, but my work, my analysis, my business… and in many ways also my culture… does not.
For instance, I was recently introduced by a Swedish magazine as a ‘Danish media analyst’, but I’m not. There is nothing specifically Danish about my work or analysis.
The next generation
Anyway, this was just a bit of data fun that I wanted to share with you. What’s interesting about this, though, is the larger trend.
Fifteen years ago, none of this would have been possible. But today, it’s not just possible for me, but also for many other digital native publishers. And if we look 15 years into the future, this will become the new normal.
And a big part of this is because of language. The countries with a very high English proficiency are also where we see most of the digital natives. And every young person today is growing with the internet, social media, blogs, and other channels, where communicating isn’t defined by any specific country nor the local language.
Already today, people don’t really think about what country someone is from before they follow them on Instagram. We only look at what they do, who they are, and why they are sharing things.
The older generation is still mostly just following people locally because of old habits and existing networks, but the younger generation isn’t really defined by country anymore, and especially not in countries where English proficiency is very high.
We see this even more with magazines and newspapers from English speaking countries. More and more of their audience is what is usually referred to as ‘out of market’, as people are reading their publications from outside their old markets.
Local newspapers in the US, for instance, are slowly turning more and more national, and UK magazines are increasingly focusing on the entire English speaking population of the internet, as opposed to just the UK population.
And, of course, digital natives are doing all of this by default. Here is the most popular YouTuber in Norway. Yes, she is obviously creating all her videos in English, because that’s the only thing that makes sense.
As you can see in the map above, real English proficiency is still only a thing in parts of Europe and a few other places, but if you live in any of those places, it is becoming increasingly important to look at publishing in English as a key driver of future growth.
If you are a Norwegian magazine, for instance, does it really make sense to continue to publish in Norwegian and only reach a maximum of 5 million people, or would it make more sense to create a more global magazine in English just like the popular Norwegian YouTubers are already doing?
That’s the shift that is currently happening.
Of course, if you live in France, where English proficiency generally is still low, it’s too soon to make that shift. I would not recommend to a French magazine to do what I would tell a Norwegian magazine.
But, again, this is a generational thing. The future generation in France will have grown up communicating in English with all their friends, so whether something is in French or in English won’t really matter to them.
That’s why we call this a transitional trend. Our world is transitioning from a country-based media industry, to an interest based media industry. And this change is happening faster in countries with a high proficiency in English, because it allows being global by default (which is impossible for an Italian magazine).