Some of the hype around cloud computing seems to be translating into actual adoption. According to market research firm iSuppli Corp., the consumer cloud surged forward in the first half of 2012 with subscriptions to online storage services almost reaching projected estimates for the year.
Translated into actual figures, the number of global consumers adopting the cloud reached about three-quarters of the estimated total of 500 million by the end of 2012, predicted to touch 1.3 billion by 2017. This is a huge leap forward, said HIS, considering the amount of trepidation that surrounded the cloud in 2011, when it was newer and untested.
The survey report indicated that tech giants like Apple (News - Alert), Microsoft, Google and Amazon have their own cloud offerings, other cloud storage services, and have the financial power to withstand anything.
Competing with them are the pure-play cloud providers, who have to entice users to veer around to using the cloud, by adopting a freemium model with a couple of cloud storage freebies thrown in along with tiered pricing plans.
While consumers view cloud services as a means of managing and storing user-generated data or purchased content that can be seamlessly accessed and synced across various devices, technology companies consider the cloud as a means to generate revenue, noted officials at IHS (News - Alert) iSuppli research.
“The cloud is a game changer in an age of near-ubiquitous mobile broadband, offering benefits to consumers and cloud service providers alike,” said Jagdish Rebello, Ph.D., director for consumer and communications at IHS.
However, providing cloud storage could turn out to be rather prohibitive as pure cloud offerings will no longer be an economically viable option for independent providers. This could benefit mobile network operators for it gives them an opportunity to team up with pure-play providers and offer differentiated services.
Considering the hassle involved in migrating content to another operator's service at the end of a contract period, customers would prefer to stay put with their mobile operators. By effectively leveraging the cloud to their advantage, operators can retain customers.
Its tough going for mobile providers to entice customers to stay on, but the ultimate winners will be those that offer personal services supporting diverse mobile devices and computers on their networks.
Edited by Brooke Neuman