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May 10, 2012

Personal cloud set to overtake PC by 2014: Gartner

Consumers will define their own sets of personal cloud services

By CBR Staff Writer

With the rapid growth in the use of apps and services, personal cloud is set to overtake the PC as the hub of consumers’ digital lives by 2014, changing the way people store, synchronise, share and stream content, according to Gartner.

Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg said the personal cloud isn’t a single offering, but a reflection of consumers’ expectation that their content will flow seamlessly as the result of a combination of services that overlap the consumer, business and government domains.

"It encompasses content storage, synchronization, sharing and streaming, as well as context-based access," added Michael.

"Consumers are confused about the nature of the personal cloud. This will not be helped by many vendors continuing to equate personal cloud services simply with online storage and neglecting their additional features and potential.

Consumers will define their own sets of personal cloud services with regard to communication, collaboration and media consumption, despite vendors trying to control the digital ecosystem."

A personal cloud also encompasses business, consumer and government services, though currently there is no single company with all-encompassing dominance, the research firm noted.

Gartner said the stakes are high, as companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google try to claim multiple aspects of the personal cloud ecosystem, and as smaller vendors look to capture parts of the consumer experience with offerings, such as digital storage and streaming services accessible across particular platforms and devices.

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In the personal cloud market, competition is expected to grow in three areas namely mobility and location, where contextual devices and platforms are evolving, giving consumers ability to store, synchronise, share and stream with another area being platform independence, where personal cloud services will grow.

Consumers will shift from the operating system to the nature and function of the personal cloud services available to a platform, which will not be judged solely by number of applications, but also by the availability of core personal cloud services for business and personal needs, for both content creation and content consumption.

Gartner cited seamless synchronization as the third important area, which means synchronisation of content stored locally and mirrored to a given service.

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