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How do you know when something has attained 'tipping point' status and reached into the mainstream consciousness?
How about when a Saturday Night Live skit makes a semi-obscure reference to someone's personal cloud, as in the following (warning, this would probably be rated PG for some semi-mature content):
Speaking of the NSA, I saw the other day that someone got in trouble for selling a coffee cup online that had the seal of the NSA with a caption underneath that read, 'The only branch of government that listens' (or something like this). They got in trouble for using the NSA seal without permission, ostensibly.
Although the skit references a certain company's personal cloud service (which shall go unnamed, although it is pretty obvious), we still like how it calls attention to another use for a personal cloud (even if it involves snooping on someone's personal life, and not by the NSA).
The personal cloud market is quickly approaching the proverbial tipping point. There are more than one billion end user personal cloud accounts in the world, with double-digit percentage growth forecasted for each of the next several years. At the same time, industry observers believe the market has yet to 'cross the chasm', from early adopters and advanced users to the mainstream, although this is expected shortly. The 'net' result is that there remains ample opportunity, especially for nimble companies.
I recently traveled to Costa Rica for a family summer vacation. In addition to enjoying the rain forests, monkeys, sloths and other indigenous species, I really liked accessing my personal cloud, for a variety of uses. This journey allowed me to see how personal clouds can be of great value to people who live in areas where mobile internet is spotty or expensive, and where people don't own personal computers.
In my case, we stayed at a place with slow and undependable wifi.
A federal judge recently ordered Google to comply with FBI requests to make customer data available, without a warrant. You can google the story (seems ironic to google a story against Google) or view it at:
In this case, the FBI can present National Security Letters to Google requesting access to customer data, and Google must honor the requests by allowing access. National Security Letters do not require a warrant, they can be issued without judicial due process.
If you missed it, the Flickr photo sharing service announced this week that it is now giving users one terabyte of free storage. Their website says this is equal to about 500,000 high res photos - wow!
Depending on your perspective, you might view this as a great pr stunt, a bold move to attract or retain users, or a desperate move to carve out a meaningful and permanent niche in a crowded space.
It does raise a strategic question for the personal cloud industry, which is whether the 'great free terabyte giveaway' is just the first of many services to give away all of the storage that users are likely to ever need, or might this be the last?
My company spends a lot of time talking to people about the personal cloud space, including industry analysts, executives, users and many others. A common question is, "what is the personal cloud market, exactly?". For people who do not follow the industry closely, it can be confusing, given the multitude of companies and offerings in the market.
To simplify things, we often draw a 'market map' that resembles the following:
Market research as well as experience with customer deployments globally show that personal cloud and mobile video use is on the rise. As part of this, more people prefer to stream content than download it. This is somewhat akin to the difference between renting and owning content, the former is less expensive and comes with the expectation that video can be watched instantly instead of waiting for a potentially long download. On the other hand, if you need offline use, streaming won't cut it.