Over a Billion Cloud Services Subscribers by 2017?

Growing Cloud ServicesWe already know that cloud services are getting more and more popular by the day, but some new numbers are sure to send a shock through even the most jaded of cynics.

In a recent post on the Sci-Tech Today blog, writer Adam Dickter reported on a recent survey from iSuppli Mobile & Wireless Communications Service which showed that by the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2012, subscriptions to cloud services grew to a whopping 375 million subscriptions.

Services such as Dropbox, Mozy, Google Drive, SugarSync, SkyDrive from Microsoft and iCloud from Apple were all mentioned as popular choices for consumers.

Sky High Predictions Underpinned with Practical Causes

Estimating that numbers most likely reached about 150 million subscribers during 2011, iSuppli projected that half a billion subscriptions will be active by the end of this year, projecting a staggering 1.3 billion subscriptions will be the reality by 2017. Of course, as impressive as these numbers are it is important to realize that there is a strong likelihood that so many subscriptions are active thanks to a few key facts. As Dickter notes:

Many services offer a ‘freemium’ account of two to five gigabytes, and a paid service for heavy data users or businesses.

Indeed these freemium accounts have certainly introduced huge numbers of people to cloud storage and all that it can offer them. The ability to save documents which are then accessible across a range of mobile devices or computers is powerful enough, but when offered for free, consumers feel more confident about choosing a service and giving it a shot. Such high numbers of subscriptions are certainly bolstered by these freemium accounts, but this is not a new way of introducing customers to services and could very well end up paying off handsomely for the companies that offer it now in the years to come.

Great for Consumers But What About Companies?

Many of the big name brand cloud services have had very little trouble pulling in massive user bases and helping the world experience storing data in the clouds in a very friendly way. While these services are certainly a good idea for consumers as a whole, we’ve talked about how businesses need other options here on CloudStorage.us before and it seems that this is a growing consensus among many in the cloud storage arena.

Some are suggesting that companies bring cloud services on board as a way to supplement their local storage options, a sensible solution in many cases. Companies are unlikely to rely wholly on cloud storage if their data is incredibly valuable and would certainly choose a more robust enterprise oriented solution over one designed to meet the needs of the average consumer.

Will Makers of Traditional Data Storage Technology Fade?

What many wonder is whether or not the rise of cloud storage services could wind up making traditional physical storage obsolete or at least cause it to fall heavily out of favor. So far, no reports have emerged in the media stating that this is the case and it appears that makers of memory sticks, hard drives and other styles of physical data storage are thriving just as well as ever before.

One analyst, Charles King of Pund-IT, was recently quoted as saying:

Remember that one key complaint about the iPad and some other tablets has been the lack of a USB port for easy access to external storage devices.

King went on to state that it could still be a while before consumers are ready to abandon physical data storage altogether in favor of cloud services – if indeed this ever happens. However, it is important to consider the fact that what cloud storage really offers is another layer of protection for a consumer’s data. It’s a type of insurance in that way, but it is also a technology that has and will continue to provide a far higher level of mobility and freedom for those who make heavy use of digital devices.

The Clouds Just Keep Growing

Over a billion subscriptions to cloud services is mind boggling to consider, but for those of us who appreciate all that these services offer, it is definitely good news. Time and hardworking engineers are likely to improve the world of cloud storage in ways we never could have imagined in the years to come and it should certainly prove to be a fun ride. How things play out will have a lot to do with how quickly consumers opt to upgrade to paid subscriptions from their freemium starting points, but it’s likely that will become increasingly more common.

How do you feel about the future of cloud storage? Do you have a favorite service or one you wish we would review? We encourage you to leave us a comment below with anything you’d like to say or any questions you have. We’ll get back to you just as soon as we can.

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