The desire to share content and access it on multiple devices will motivate consumers to start storing a third of their digital content using cloud computing by 2016, Gartner said on Monday.

In 2011, seven per cent of consumer content was stored in cloud, but this will grow to 36 per cent in 2016, the research firm said.

Cloud computing enables companies to use software, applications and various services on pay—per—use basis, without the need to set up and own IT infrastructure.

With increased adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs, users are able to capture huge amount of photos and videos, which will require huge digital storage.

“Gartner predicts that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016,” the study said.

This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories.

“Historically, consumers have stored content on their PCs, but as we enter the post—PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices...leading to a massive increase in new user—generated content that requires storage,” Gartner principal research analyst Ms Shalini Verma said.

With the emergence of personal cloud, this fast—growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices, she added.

Personal cloud is an online service provided by companies to individuals to store data free of cost. Examples include Apple icloud, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox.

Gartner said bulk of the cloud storage needs in near term will be met by social media sites such as Facebook, which offer free storage space for uploading photos and videos for social sharing.

“Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016,” Gartner said.

In 2012, Gartner believes that the adoption of camera- equipped tablet PCs and smartphones will drive consumer storage needs.

(This article was published on June 25, 2012)
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