Are 5G mobile networks imperative?
Yes and no. "4G makes streaming and watching videos on social networks far easier," says Shah. "Streaming video at an ultra-high speed is great, but video should also be able to be consumed and enjoyed on slower networks." She thinks that mobile networks and tech companies need to start working together to generate ways of making video creation and consumption more efficient, so less bandwidth-hungry.
Video compression or just shorter videos?
Video doesn't compress very well, but there are ways around bottlenecks. "A locally stored cache will help for business broadcasts – such as the CEO address to an organisation – as this will reduce the amount of traffic over the WAN," says Lees.
However, could smarter, perhaps even automatic, editing of amateur videos be the answer? Shah thinks everyone should have software to create short, compelling videos. "We're currently developing big data to unlock the best parts of video footage, as well as making video more searchable," she says. "This, in itself, is a huge advancement in compression technology."
Video's impact on smartphones
Smartphones are also affected – nobody wants a 'buffer-face'. With growing screen sizes and increased pixel density, most handsets are now purchased primarily to view video, from short clips on YouTube, through to longer episodes on iPlayer, or entire films on Netflix. According to Ofcom's 'Adults Media use and Attitudes Report 2014', 22% of mobile phone users have watched a TV programme on a mobile phone.
"Video's impact on hardware can be just as great, even if those effects are usually concealed within the tight confines of our handsets," says Abby Francis, Mobile Tech Expert at Mobiles.co.uk, who thinks that video has had other, less obvious effects on smartphone technology. "With video being quite processor-intensive, it's not surprising to hear consumers complain about battery life," she says. "Although this hasn't resulted in longer battery life, it has helped to emphasise the importance of wireless charging and fast charging."
Could video kill off the written word online?
Video reviews, hasty pieces to camera and vod-casts could be dressed up as 'the future of the web', but the current resurgence of long-form articles kills that claim dead. However, video does offer a tempting 'out' for a crowded internet. "Attention spans are decreasing and with so much information bombarding us at all times, video is the medium that enables the transmission of large amounts of information quickly and succinctly," says Shah, who thinks that video content needs to be indexed and searchable for it to expand.
What about 4K video?
For those worried about how networks will cope with the current surge in video consumption, you ain't seen nothing yet. According to ACG Research, 4K streaming video services – which consume three to four times more bandwidth than HDTV – will grow from 2% in 2014 to 12% in 2018.
"It's surprising to think that YouTube had support for 4K way back in 2010, but it will be interesting to see how video consumption trends change when 4K becomes more widespread throughout 2015," says Francis. Few smartphones have 4K displays, but that's not a deal-breaker; they're increasingly being used to stream HD content to larger screens.
"It's not going to be the phone screen that's going to be the promoting factor in 4K," says Francis. "It's going to be what you want to do with videos captured on your phone in 4K, and how you distribute that media."
The coming era of 4K means some agile thinking is in order. "Our networks need to be ready to evolve and support this surge in streaming if we are to successfully meet the requirements of users in this new age of the on-demand experience," says Kelly. "Agility is key to support high-bandwidth content on multiple devices via a multitude of means for different audiences."
Shah thinks that the bottleneck presently exists between capturing and sharing content, and that all video needs is to be better indexed and searchable, but she's under no illusion about what happens next to the popularity of video, saying: "The real explosion is yet to come."