Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Consumer Storage Hot in 2007?

We caught the quick blurb in Dealerscope on March 6 about retailers' optimism for home entertainment PCs and media server sales this year. Combined with the client inquiries we've received about consumer storage and the briefing requests from several companies just in the last week, we're inclined to think that consumer backup, content safekeeping, and improved sharing solutions are going to be a significant focus for many companies this year. We actually provide a media server update in a free white paper (Consumer and Personal Storage: Trends and Outlook) available for download from our Website.

It's probably been a frustrating task by developers of external and NAS-based storage devices to figure out a way to wake up consumers to the fact that their digital content is at risk! When we sit down with consumers in focus groups and discuss how they're interacting with digital content (photos, music, home videos, etc.), the fear of losing truly valuable content due to a hard drive failure or some other malady always tends to come up unaided. It indicates that consumers are thinking about the problem, but may not necessarily be acting upon it just yet.

So, we're interested in how development of consumer storage progresses this year in terms of not only continuing to develop more reliable and robust storage (RAID, mirrored drives, disk scrubbing, etc.), but also adding some new twists. For example, expect that we'll start to see a marriage between local storage (the external or NAS box) with online storage services that can serve as 1) a back-up to the back-up; and 2) allow consumers to more easily share certain content with a trusted circle of friends and family. This emphasis on sharing may turn out to be an interesting way to make consumers more aware of backup overall. We expect that we'll see a greater emphasis placed not only on how consumers store their content but also on how they share it. Expect to see developments in portals, content tagging, and other methods to identify key content to be stored and shared.

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