Cheap storage fueling innovation

Decreasing storage cost, ubiquitous connectivity and the democratization of content tools, are driving tech innovation, says Google exec.
Written by Lynn Tan @ Redhat, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Technological innovation is currently being fueled by three key factors: decreasing cost of storage, ubiquitous connectivity and the democratization of content creation, according to a Google executive.

Speaking at the Captains of Industry conference--a component under Global Entrepolis @ Singapore 2007--held here today, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Google's vice president of Asia-Pacific and Latin America operations, said: "Alongside the falling price of the PC, the other important shift that has taken place from a technology perspective is the falling price of storage."

"Since 1982, the price of storage has dropped by a factor of 3.6 million," Cassidy said. Citing fuel gas as an example, she explained: "To put that in context, if gas prices fell by the same amount, today, a gallon of gas would take you around the earth 2,200 times."

If the cost of storage continues to fall, by 2020, "all the world's content will fit in the size of an iPod and in the palm of your hand", Cassidy predicted.

"And as early as 2015, all the world's music will sit in the palm of your hand," she said.

The ubiquitous nature of connectivity in particular both broadband and wireless connectivity, is also spurring technological innovation, she added.

According to Cassidy, the number of broadband users worldwide currently total 250 million, and this number is expected to snowball to 400 million by 2010. In addition, there are some 2.7 billion mobile phones worldwide, with a number of countries--such as Singapore--boasting penetration rate of over 100 percent.

"Whether it's through the Web, an SMS (short messaging service) text message or voice...the ability of people to ubiquitously connect to information at an unparalleled rate is another key factor driving this point of our evolution," she said.

The third driving factor, Cassidy said, is the "democratization" of content tools.

She explained that traditionally, the cost and barriers to entry for the production of content--for example, creating a television commercial or publishing a newspaper article--is quite high.

However, by transferring the role of content creation to users, high costs and overheads are no longer an issue, she said.

"We estimate that everyday, [approximately] 65,000 new videos are [delivered] out of YouTube," Cassidy noted. She added that while there were some 100,000 blogs in 2000, there are over 35.3 million blogs today.

"It's just staggering if you look at the rate at which content is now produced," she said.

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