Personal Cloud to Define Technology by 2015

by Matt Klassen on March 9, 2012

Technology vendors must become device agnostic, making content seamlessly available across multiple device platforms—including smartphones, tablets, TVs, and PCs—if they hope to stay relevant and tap into the estimated $2.2 trillion dollars consumers will spend on content, devices, and services in 2012, according to a report issued earlier this week from technology research firm Gartner.

To that end, the report indicated that this desire for seamless access to content on multiple platforms is evidenced by the emergence of the personal cloud, a service, the report predicts, that in three years will be ubiquitous on consumer devices. In fact, if technology vendors want to stay relevant in the years to come, adoption of cloud specific services is becoming increasingly essential.

The point is simple, with consumers increasingly demanding the “4S” experience, the “desire to store, synch, stream, and share their content regardless of device or platform seamlessly,” and with the integration of the personal cloud into the consumer technological ecosystem, “business leaders must meet consumers’ cloud expectations in order to win customers in 2012.”

The technological paradigm is changing, Gartner managing vice president Andrew Johnson made clear in a recent statement, and in response the current notions of marketing, branding, and mobile service options must change as well. “As cloud services become part of people’s lives,” Johnson noted, “device vendors and platform providers must integrate cloud services in order to win customers in 2012 or risk being displaces by those that offer these services. Brands must stretch across multiple devices, platforms and services.”

It is this complete rethink of the traditional approach to marketing and branding that, according to the Gartner report, will define the technological success stories of the next several years, as the growth of the personal cloud will demand companies adapt or simply go extinct. The warning is clear, if you hope to keep your business relevant in this ever-changing technological world, investing today in the emerging personal cloud is a must.

Johnson admits that the notion of cloud based technology is certainly nothing new, used extensively in the current technological ecosystem for online backup and synchronization services. The change, according to the report, is due to the growing adoption of mobile and portable devices that depend heavily on cloud services for data storage, creating a new personal cloud delineated from what has come before by its, “ability to store, synchronize, stream and share as needed allowing consumers greater flexibility in choosing devices and platforms.”

In an effort to prepare companies for this new epoch of cloud services, the Gartner report offers several recommendations to technology vendors for how to optimize and develop their businesses today: First, companies need to invest significant R&D resources in cloud technology, foregoing (for the moment) the need for financial returns. Second, companies must educate themselves and evangelize the cloud to consumers, as the more consumers know about the future of the cloud; the more interested they’ll be in spending money on it. Third, be device agnostic, as being chained to any one specific device or platform will soon be death for a company. Fourth, make the cloud invisible. The byword of the coming technological age is “accessibility,” thus make content readily available through seamless and invisible synchronization. Finally, protect consumer data, as any lack of service reliability could stall this paradigm shift for years.

Whether or not you agree with the Gartner prediction regarding the rise of the personal cloud, I will certainly admit that current trends seem to be leaning that way, meaning that if companies want to be relevant in the years to come, they better start planning for this impending paradigm shift now.

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