In the past few years, the word "cloud" has become a buzzword for companies unsure of where their future markets are headed. Despite the word itself meaning whatever business want, the cloud storage industry has actually become a major tech segment - especially for the consumer market.
Market research firm ABI Research today released a new report showing that personal cloud storage data will reach 685 petabytes by the end of this year. This massive amount of data will continue to grow at an accelerated pace throughout the next five years, reaching 3,520 petabytes in 2018.
This data growth reflects the growth of individual cloud storage accounts. ABI estimates that active personal cloud storage accounts will number more than 1 billion by the end of 2013 - almost double the number seen just last year. The number of accounts is also set to grow quickly, with predictions topping 3.6 billion accounts within five years.
“Various factors are contributing to the rapidly increasing personal cloud uptake, including the consumerization of enterprise IT and multiple device ownership," said Aapo Markkanen, senior analyst at ABI. "For storage needs, the most far-reaching driver is the expansion and improvement of camera technologies. In particular, cameras embedded in smartphones have generated large amounts of high-resolution image and video content. This trend toward ubiquitous cameras is only set to intensify, as camera capabilities gain traction in wearable computing and the Internet of Things.”
Though Markkanen believes hardware will drive cloud storage needs, the software behind the industry is set for a very competitive few years. Services such as Dropbox will have to compete with hardware manufacturers such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Samsung as they rope consumers into their own personal cloud storage solutions through free offers and OS-level integration.