It seems like technology market predictions are becoming a little more like weather forecasts. Luckily for companies with investments in the cloud, the market's unpredictability is largely due to its faster-than-expected growth. Earlier this year, analysts projected that consumer cloud storage subscriptions would reach $500 billion. However, a report by IHS iSuppli Mobile & Wireless Communications Service found that the market made it to 75 percent of that number in the first six months of 2012.
"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. "For consumers, cloud services are intended to manage and store user-generated data or purchased content, such as music, ebooks, pictures or videos. The content can then be seamlessly accessed and synced across devices like smartphones, media tablets and PCs. Meanwhile, technology companies are looking at the cloud as a way to generate revenue."
In addition to highlighting the proliferation of cloud storage services within the consumer market, IHS analysts noted that mobile service operators have a unique opportunity to invest in cloud services. Due to the large number of consumers that already use smartphones to store content, mobile providers may see value from bundling phone service with cloud storage.
And the rapid adoption of mobile devices hasn't gone unnoticed by cloud storage companies either. It would be hard to miss, as Seeking Alpha writer Mark Bertolin noted, considering 114 million U.S. consumers used smartphones in July 2012. The possibility of tying cloud services with mobile phone service does have its own share of challenges though, as storing content with a mobile operator would make it more complicated to switch providers – a hassle that IHS said could limit the demand for such a service.