One-third digital content to go cloud by 2016

Consumers will move 36 percent of their digital content to cloud by 2016 due to growth of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets, as well as desire to share and access content across multiple devices, Gartner predicts.

Driven by the wish to share and access content across multiple devices, consumers worldwide will store about 36 percent of their digital content in the cloud in 2016, up from just 7 percent last year, reports Gartner.

In a report Monday, the research firm said consumer digital storage needs, including digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories, will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. Much of the growth will come from increasing adoption of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets which allows user to capture "huge amounts" of photos and videos, it added.

Similarly, while on-premises storage will remain the main storage option for consumer digital content, its share will drop from 93 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2016 as the direct-to-cloud model for storage becomes mainstream, the report noted.

Noting that consumers historically stored content on their PCs, Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: "As we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage.

With the adoption of camera-equipped mobilde devices, the average storage of each household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016, said Gartner.

In the near term, social networking sites will host the majority of cloud storage required by consumers as they offer free storage space for uploading photos and videos for social sharing, Verma noted. Even online backup storage provided to consumers by well-known cloud storage providers would be considered "small" compared to the storage maintained by social media sites, she added.

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