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If you are a long-time reader of the State of the Internet Report, you are like familiar with the terms “Broadband”, “High Broadband”, and “4K Ready” as they have historically been used in the report. (For specific definitions, see the blog post at http://akamai.me/sotimetrics) When you read the First Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet Report, you’ll see that we’ve phased out the usage of these terms in favor of speed-specific references.

Global Connectivity in Q4 2014

Global connectivity demonstrated continued positive annual growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, as shown by Akamai's Internet connectivity metrics. These metrics include average connection speed, average peak connection speed, broadband adoption, high broadband adoption, and 4K readiness. For additional insight into the various metrics covered within the report, refer to the State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? blog post.

Americas Connectivity in Q4 2014

The Americas region showed extremely positive year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, as shown by Akamai's Internet connectivity metrics. These metrics include average connection speed, average peak connection speed, broadband adoption, high broadband adoption, and 4K readiness. For additional insight into the various metrics covered within the report, refer to the State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? blog post.

EMEA Connectivity in Q4 2014

The EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region showed strong, positive year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, as shown by the connectivity metrics published in Akamai's State of the Internet Report. Nearly every country in the region showed positive gains, often led by Turkey's substantial annual growth across a variety of metrics. These metrics include average connection speed, average peak connection speed, broadband adoption, high broadband adoption, and 4K readiness. For additional insight into the various metrics covered within the report, refer to the State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? blog post.

Situational Performance in Q4 2014

In June 2013, Akamai announced the latest release of Ion. Ion is designed to meet the unique challenges of optimizing the desktop and mobile Web experience. One feature of Ion is a capability known as Real User Monitoring (RUM). RUM takes performance measurements from real Web users to provide developers with insights into performance across a multitude of devices and networks. Ideally, RUM is used in tandem with synthetic testing to generate a comprehensive picture of a user's Web experience to help developers best calibrate their applications.

Asia Pacific Connectivity in Q4 2014

The Asia Pacific region showed very positive year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, as shown by the connectivity metrics published in Akamai's State of the Internet Report. With the exception of China, nearly every surveyed country showed positive growth rates across every metric. These metrics include average connection speed, average peak connection speed, broadband adoption, high broadband adoption, and 4K readiness. For additional insight into the various metrics covered within the report, refer to the State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? blog post.
Some of us remember when Amazon introduced the concept of online shopping to the masses, sparking countless debates around the water cooler: How long would Amazon last? Would customers buy in to the idea of purchasing goods on a computer, sight unseen? How would this impact brick-and-mortar stores? Which would survive? While some of these questions have been answered, for others, the jury is still out.
We are more connected than ever before. Mobile devices are ubiquitous, WiFi availability is on the rise, and consumers are accessing information from multiple devices, networks, and locations across the globe. To learn more about the impact the hyperconnected world is having on consumers, Akamai commissioned the 2014 Consumer Web Performance Expectations Survey to build the Performance Matters series.
It's exciting to see how Web Performance is increasingly going mainstream. More conferences have performance talks, more organizations have performance teams, more business goals include performance requirements... It's fun to see what used to be a small community of passionate speed fanatics grow and expand into the broader web tech world. 

With this broader adoption, it's critical that we also scale how we educate about web performance. We need to expand from one-on-one education, or even conference presentations, to great education content that can be consumed anywhere, anytime. Google's Web Fundamentals section about web performance, and Ilya Grigorik's Udacity Web Performance Course are great examples of doing just that. 


The Internet Will Never Be the Same

Yesterday, the Internet changed: Google has implemented its long awaited algorithm changes to search results. From now on, websites that appear in the search results will be evaluated and ranked on a new data point: mobile friendliness.

google-mobile-update.png
 
We have been blogging about how the world is becoming an increasingly mobile place, and that it will continue to be even more so. We've gone so far to consider that perhaps people should no longer consider mobile as a separate category. Many organizations have responded by adopting strategies to align with their customers or end-users' mobile lifestyles. For those who have been procrastinating, the pressure to change and adapt to mobile user has drastically increased today.  If you do not have a mobile friendly site, not only your customers will abandon your site due to sub-standard performance, but Google will penalize you with your site's search rankings.
 
If you are one of the few organizations who have still yet to cater to your mobile users, your business will suffer. Fear not, however, you do have options. If you work with a content delivery network (CDN) vendor, such as Akamai, you can work with them to help ensure your business is well suited for mobile audiences.  These solutions will help optimize website performance on a per-user and per-device basis.

In addition, you should use Responsive Web Design (RWD) principles when developing your sites. Sites employing RWD operate on a single code base and render content based on end-user's device characteristics, presenting them with an optimized and consistent experience across all browsers and devices. This is what the Google algorithm is looking at when they apply the label "mobile-friendly."
 
That said, RWD is not easy and only solves part of the problem. If not implemented properly, RWD can significantly impact performance and page load speed due to over-downloading. Why? Though there is an operational benefit to having a single code base, it also means that mobile devices download the entire page code and then adjust the way its presented based on the respective device capabilities. Without proper RWD implementation, you may end up getting better rankings on Google searches for mobile friendliness, but end up frustrating end users and increasing abandonment rate. It's also important to keep in mind that Google is testing a "slow" label for search results. Soon enough, being mobile-friendly won't  be enough, your site will have to perform above certain standards (that Google has yet to make public) or risk getting tagged with the "slow" label. 
 
So, what can you do? Work with web performance professionals to ensure your site is: 

1) Optimized to deliver consistent experiences across devices and
2) Fast enough to meet users rising performance expectations

One particular area of focus to help optimize web sites for mobile is images.  Akamai has created a reporting tool that can give you quick and easy insight into how well your site is optimized for the delivery of images to mobile devices. You can request a full Performance Insights report here.

In the new mobile world, delivering consistent, high performing experiences isn't just an option, it's a necessity. 

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Berk Veral is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai
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