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More consumers to be connected to cloud by 2013 – Gartner

Veronica C. Silva | March 9, 2012
Personal cloud services with more diversity will be made available through mobile devices.

Not only enterprises are moving into the cloud. Consumers too are availing themselves of cloud services, and Gartner sees more personal cloud services being made available through mobile devices.

Market analyst firm Gartner said cloud services will be commonly used by consumers by 2103. The firm forecasts that 90 percent of all connected consumer mobiles will be connecting to the cloud by then.

The shift will grow rapidly this year, said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president, Gartner, as consumers try to learn how they can use cloud computing services. This spells opportunities for the industry.

"As cloud services become part of people's lives, device vendors and platform providers must integrate cloud services in order to win customers in 2012 or risk being displaced by those that offer these services. Brands must stretch across multiple devices, platforms and services," said Johnson in an industry briefing held recently in Singapore.

In with the new

The concept is not new as consumers have already been accessing content through such services as Netflix, Google Apps, Amazon Music, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Apple's iCloud. What's new is the refinement and diversity of services for consumers, said Johnson. Cloud services also have the ability to store, synchronise, stream and share digital content as needed, and this ability provides consumers more flexibility in choosing their devices and platforms, he added.

This consumer demand for personal cloud services is going to drive the market for digital technology products and services to reach about US$2.2 trillion by the end of this year, representing about 10 percent of the average disposable household income, according to Gartner estimates.

By 2015, consumers will spend some US$2.8 trillion worldwide on connected devices, the services that run them and content that is transferred through them. By that time, Gartner predicts that personal cloud will become widely adopted by 2015.

But the effect of consumer preferences will mean more than simply bringing in market opportunities.

Market dynamics

"Inside the spending envelope, market dynamics will collapse some markets while creating others that expand the captured revenue. Providers of consumer devices, services and content must anticipate the risk of sweeping changes to their business models," said Johnson. "The personal cloud will force technology providers not only to rethink how they approach markets, but also, more importantly, how they define markets. 'Emerging' and 'mature' markets are no longer useful market segmentation."

But Gartner does not expect the traditional storage business to easily go away. Personal cloud services will simply augment by consumer personal cloud. By 2014, Gartner predicts that less than 10 percent of consumers will use cloud services as their main storage.

To prepare for the market shakeup, Gartner advised vendors to make personal cloud services part of their development efforts, and to educate customers on how consumers can make use of cloud services. Gartner also reminded vendors of the need for security and protection of personal data on the cloud.


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