An interesting article posted by Gartner in June 2012 predicting growth in consumer cloud storage

Gartner Says That Consumers Will Store More Than a Third of Their Digital Content in the Cloud by 2016

It's now 2016 and can't help but wonder if that came true or not?

There is no hard statistics available yet, but thinking through my friends, family and colleagues considerable amount of photos and files stored in a variety of cloud services; and whilst I also have a smikbox NAS to sync files to my home, there is (excluding movies and large video files) probably a very high percentage of my files in the cloud that is being synced to my Smikbox NAS. Is it over 30%? Probably, but if I didn't have a smikbox NAS, I think it would have been much lesser.

One of my friends recently lost a large quantity of family photos stored on his personal computer during a failed Windows upgrade, and called me the next day asking about personal cloud options. Unfortunately, it is human’s nature to realize the value of something until it affects another before an action is to be taken; for example, by using external cloud storage that works as an interim as a solution for efficiency. Another example that needs efficient service is a storage that becomes larger and harder to manage (which some cloud storage that provides clunky web interfaces make a tiresome task to skip through and clean up). And as a consequence when this happens, sooner or later it becomes necessary to pay for storage upgrades, finding yourself being trapped in paying more to store your files, some of which might not be something that you really need.

CloudBox  - Gartner Research on Consumer Adoption of Cloud Storage

Another trend to watch is that reported by TechTarget after their 2015 business adoption survey who said;

While 50% of respondents said they use the cloud as their primary storage for production data, an even greater number -- 63% of IT shops -- use the cloud for data backup, according to the TechTarget survey. Meanwhile, 43% of users rely on the cloud for data archives.

Whilst the shift to cloud-based storage and services continues for business, why does it make sense for homes, professionals and small businesses to adopt personal cloud devices?

The answer is that whilst the cloud provides many great benefits including security, redundancy, expandability and convenience, if it is then becomes inaccessible (e.g. our of business, down for upgrade, forgot password, etc.) you are not also able to access your files. Businesses tend to manage redundancy better than home users especially in making plans for safety and redundancy to protect files and data. Additionally, the trends these days that both households and businesses are accumulating and relying upon larger amounts of storage establishing appropriate backup and redundancy systems that do not rely on human intervention are increasingly important.

Personal cloud performs an important role here, using some of the lessons learned serving the redundancy management functions for business over the last decade, scaled down and simplified for individual or the home usage. By making the personal cloud the central management console for one’s digital life, it will help the individual to coordinate the use of cloud services and backup data from cloud services in the home (so there are multiple copies to act as a fails safe [data buffer]).

The transcoding between media servers gives everyone access to music, movies in the NAS, and if a NAS is set up properly to send general traffic through the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi, then it would divide up movie streaming, backups, file sync, PC network, surveillance video collection, home automation systems between the 5GHz Wi-Fi, 1GB networks (which are 1GB x 4), USB, Power line and Thunderbold, you can actually rid yourself of those annoying network problems such as slow speed, drop outs, jittering and connection failure. Plus, the NAS gives you access to hundreds of new applications and services that you didn't even know were possible!

Don't get me wrong, I still use cloud services. However, for me, the ideal combination for the household is to retain my cloud storage at a free or low cost level, then backup to a personal cloud. In that way, I still have the convenience of these services, but can make better choices on what remains in the cloud so as to manage costs, speed and redundancy.

Speaking to my friend at Dicker data this week, he said that the manufacturers expect the growth in adoption of personal cloud devices to grow exponentially in the next five years. However, the main obstacle to growth right now is most people are largely unaware that they need a NAS. And, as household data volume grows and more services rely on collecting data to the market, people will become wiser and will start to take ownership of their digital lives if they don't want to run the risk of losing important files or paying escalating cloud storage and service costs.

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