More than a third of digital content stored in cloud by 2016

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 02-07-2012

Growing consumer demand to share and access content on multiple devices will drive consumers to store a third of their digital content in the cloud by 2016, new research from Gartner is predicting.
The “Forecast: Consumer Digital Storage Needs, 2010-2016” report reveals that there will be a substantial leap in cloud-based consumer content storage, from just 7% in 2011 to 36% by the end of 2016. Gartner expects that there will be a commensurate surge in consumer digital storage needs from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories. Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016.

"Historically, consumers have generally stored content on their PCs, but as we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage," explained Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner. "With the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices."
In terms of types of cloud based services, Gartner believes that consumers will first try the basic packages offered free by online backup companies, generally available as apps on tablets, smartphones and broadband-connected TVs. Going forward it then expects to see cloud service providers (CSPs) increasingly offer cloud storage, providing the foundational experience for consumers to start using cloud storage as part of the personal cloud. Even though the analyst expects on-premises storage to remain the main repository of consumer digital content, Gartner predicts that its share will progressively drop from 93% in 2011 to 64% in 2016 as the direct-to-cloud model becomes more mainstream.
“Local storage will become further integrated with home networking, presenting opportunities for local storage providers to partner with home networking and automation service providers,” Verma added. “Cloud storage will grow with the emergence of the personal cloud, which in turn will simplify the direct-to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the cloud. As storage becomes a part of the personal cloud, it will become further commoditised. Therefore, online storage and sync companies need to have a strategic rethink about their future approach.”