Active accounts associated with personal cloud storage services will exceed 1 billion in 2013, said ABI Research.
Over the next five years the global account base will more than triple, reaching 3.61 billion by the end of 2018.
The aggregated data storage utilized by personal cloud services is expected to increase from 685 petabytes in 2013 to 3,520 petabytes in 2018.
Growth drivers include the rapidly increasing personal cloud uptake, including the consumerization of enterprise IT and multiple device ownership. For storage needs, the most far-reaching driver is the expansion and improvement of camera technologies. In particular, cameras embedded in smartphones have generated large amounts of high-resolution image and video content. This trend toward ubiquitous cameras is only set to intensify, as camera capabilities gain traction in wearable computing and the Internet of Things.
Personal cloud has by now become a must-have feature for digital ecosystems, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Yandex, which all use their storage services to strengthen the relationship with the consumer. These services are posing a challenge to dedicated, platform-agnostic cloud services, but ABI Research expects the latter service category to co-exist with the ecosystem clouds.
ABI Research practice director Dan Shey said that of the standalone providers, it expects the early leader, Dropbox, to double down on the enterprise, as a way to attract more premium accounts. Players like Bitcasa and Space Monkey are out to test the premise that the cloud could ultimately replace the native device as the primary storage for users’ data.