Personal Cloud Services Will Be Integrated in Most Connected Devices by 2013: Gartner

(PresseBox) (Singapore, ) By the end of 2013, consumer cloud services for accessing content will be integrated into 90 per cent of all connected consumer devices, according to technology research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc.

Gartner managing vice president Andrew Johnson said that the emergence of personal clouds reflects the "4S experience", consumers' desire to store, synch, stream, and share their content on regardless of device or platform seamlessly.

"The shift to the personal cloud will accelerate rapidly in 2012 as consumers learn how to use new services on their devices," said Mr Johnson. "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 displaces by those that offer these services. Brands must stretch across multiple devices, platforms and services."

According to Gartner's definition, personal cloud allows consumers to seamlessly store, sync, stream and share using multiple connected devices such as smartphones, media tablets, televisions and PCs over the internet. Consumers have begun to adopt cloud-based services as part of their digital ecosystem, thanks to services such as Netflix, Google Apps, Amazon Music, Microsoft SkyDrive and Apple's iCloud. In a personal cloud, a TV show, for example, can be watched, left and resumed across multiple devices.

"The notion of personal cloud is not new, the refinement and diversity of services for consumers is," said Mr Johnson. "Online backup and synchronisation companies have been offering personal cloud for years. However, a big change has occurred during the past couple of years, with the growing adoption of mobile and portable devices that have limited internal storage and rely heavily on cloud services. What distinguishes the personal cloud from what came before is its ability to store, synchronise, stream and share as needed allowing consumers greater flexibility in choosing devices and platforms."

Gartner estimates that consumers will spend approximately US$2.2 trillion on digital technology products and services in 2012, or about 10 per cent of the average disposable household income. 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.

However, according to Gartner, growth is not the only opportunity.

"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 Mr 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."

However, traditional storage will not disappear overnight but will, however, be augmented by the consumer personal cloud. Gartner predicts that personal cloud will become widely adopted by 2015, but that in 2014 less than 10 per cent of consumers will use cloud services as their main storage.

Gartner's recommendations for technology vendors:

- Make personal cloud services a core part of your development efforts. Invisible and ubiquitous now, monetise later.
- Take the time to educate and evangelise cloud services to consumers. A key to consumer cloud services will be educating people about the role of the cloud, and how new business models such as subscription and streaming services can coexist with existing services they are familiar with.
- Service providers must deliver an invisible content synchronisation experience.
- Personal cloud services can't be tied to one specific device or platform. An invisible experience means it works on anything.
- Failure to protect consumer data, or a lack of service reliability, could lead to a consumer backlash and a co-dependence on local storage, on top of privacy and security concerns.

More information is available in the Gartner report "Consumers and the Personal Cloud". The report and related research is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/....

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