Solution providers know that mobile technology is one of the main drivers of the IT industry’s growth. As a result they are enhancing their skill sets around device management, data integration, application management and, of course, security.

All eyes will be on these issues over the next month leading up to the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. To put things in perspective regarding what an enormous opportunity this is for the channel, research giant Gartner released its latest mobile traffic data growth estimates leading up to the event.

Mobile data traffic is expected to grow 59 percent this year, according to Gartner. A big part is video, which is only going to grow in influence, with mobile video expected to drive more than 60 percent of data traffic in 2018, according to Gartner.

“Newer and faster networks, a rise in the number of users of these networks, and more affordable 3G and 4G handsets will help to increase data traffic,” said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. “However, the key driver of data growth on a global scale is mobile apps, particularly mobile video apps. Although network speed and reliability are priorities for many mobile customers, it is really apps and content that are driving traffic volumes as people increasingly chat to friends and family, watch videos on the move, and listen to streamed music.”

It is why Apple announced record earnings just a week ago. It’s the consumerization of IT and taking those capabilities into the workplace.

Specifically, total terabytes for mobile traffic is expected to increase to 51.8 million this year, up from 32.5 million in 2014, according to Gartner. This is an enormous explosion of mobile data traffic considering it was less than 20 million terabytes just two years ago. By 2016 mobile data traffic is projected to grow to nearly 80 million terabytes, according to the research firm.

Gartner expects 4G service prices to decrease to 3G levels going forward but 3G will still dominate the landscape for the next five years. North America is expected to lead the charge into 4G with half of mobile users using 4G by 2018.

So what should solution providers and other companies focused on communications and technology do to capitalize on this growth and opportunity?

CSPs (communication service providers) will need to focus on creating new pricing with a focus on data access, such as shared plans. They will also need to refine the services they already provide, with a focus on creating richer, more immersive and more personalized experiences, to increase their customer numbers,” Ekholm said.

“As the mobile app market matures, app developers will have to sharpen their focus on the marketing and transparency of their apps, in order to retain customers. Gartner's research indicates that although affluent people and traditional early adopters are the leading users of new technologies and devices, younger, less wealthy people make greater use of mobile apps. Young people's greater acceptance of apps and mobile content will require app developers to adjust their techniques to address the differences between user groups,” she said.

Don’t be left behind.

Knock 'em alive!