Consumer cloud storage on the rise, study says

While the cloud is gaining momentum in the private sector, the business world is not the only place it is picking up speed. Consumers are beginning to appreciate cloud storage environments and are adopting the technology with new vitality.

This was highlighted in a recent study by IHS iSuppli, which found that more than 375 million consumers were subscribed to online storage services in the first half of 2012, approximately 75 percent of the market firm's projected total for the year. These numbers will continue to grow in the coming years, with the number of subscribers eventually reaching 1.3 billion by 2017.

A separate report by IDC echoed the growing cloud storage market, noting that both the public and private cloud will continue garnering investments in the coming years. IDC noted public cloud storage spending will expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 23 percent through 2015, while private cloud investments will increase at a CAGR of nearly 29 percent during the same time.

"The cloud is a game changer in an age of near-ubiquitous mobile broadband, offering benefits to consumers and cloud service providers alike," said Jagdish Rebello, director for consumer and communications at IHS.

Difficulties in the consumer cloud market
Despite the potential benefits of selling consumers public cloud offerings, many vendors are having difficulty making a profit because the market is so competitive, as major players and pure-play service providers are fighting in the same landscape, IHS iSuppli noted.

Furthermore, the cost of providing cloud storage can be expensive, the report said. As a result, the industry will likely continue to lose money until service providers team up with mobile operators to become more appealing to consumers. This will become increasingly important, especially as consumers use the cloud via mobile devices to access stored content.

"For consumers, cloud services are intended to manage and store user-generated data or purchased content, such as music, ebooks, pictures or videos," Rebello said. "The content can then be seamlessly accessed and synced across devices like smartphones, media tablets and PCs."

As the overall market for cloud services continues to garner attention in the consumer and business landscape, users will flock to the technology in significant numbers. In other words, the cloud will be an inevitable solution used in nearly every business and home environment for storage purposes and more.

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