The desire to share content and to access it on multiple devices will lead consumers to storing a third of their digital content in the cloud by 2016, Gartner, Inc, reports. The percentage of consumer content stored in the cloud will also rise to 36pc in 2016, up from 7pc in 2011.
"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," said 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."
The increased adoption of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets is allowing users to capture huge amounts of photos and videos. Gartner predicted that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives, network attached storage and cloud repositories.
Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016, Gartner predicted.
Social media sites which offer free storage space for photos and videos for social sharing will meet most of consumers’ cloud storage needs in the near term.
Verma said that while online backup services are the most well-known cloud storage providers, their total storage allocated to consumers and "prosumers" is small relative to that maintained by social media sites.
Consumers are expected to first try the basic package that is offered free by online backup companies. These services will be offered as apps on tablets, smartphones and broadband-connected TVs because of partnerships between original equipment manufacturers and online storage and sync companies.
Cloud service providers will also increasingly offer cloud storage.
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