Cloud Services to be Used by 3.6Bn Consumers Globally by 2018

A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that the number of unique consumers accessing cloud-based services will exceed 3.6bn by 2018, rising from an estimated 2.4bn in 2013. The report highlighted that an expanding collection of connected services within cloud-based storage, music and games will drive consumer demand over the next five years.

Streaming Music Breaks the Sound Barrier

According to the report, Cloud Computing – Consumer Markets: Strategies & Forecasts 2014-2018, despite the success of cloud-based storage providers attracting large numbers of users, they are failing to capture a significant percentage of premium subscribers. In contrast, music streaming services such as Spotify are claiming the lion’s share of revenues, when compared to storage or games focused applications. This is partly due to the availability of extensive music catalogues that are way beyond the storage limits of the mobile device, coupled with low subscription costs.

Tough Times Ahead

Additionally, the report found that {{cloud-based music streaming and storage service providers are facing a tough battle to turn revenues into profit}} as they try to find a balance between premium tier pricing and the scope of the basic, or free tier. Players such as Pandora and Spotify have yet to turn a profit, while Ubuntu recently withdrew from the cloud storage space, citing the current price wars as being “unsustainable”.

Meanwhile, the cloud games market, where game computation is located entirely in the cloud, is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance following the re-launch of OnLive and the market entry of PlayStation. Nevertheless, with games effectively being streamed from the cloud, latency may hamper the success of this opportunity.

Other key findings include:

• The FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) failure to ensure an “open Internet” threatens to stifle the US OTT (Over-the-Top) streaming market.

• Operators should quickly embrace new technologies such as WebRTC and NFV(Network Functions Virtualisation) to increase margins.

The whitepaper, Consumer Cloud ~ There’s No Limit, is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with full details of the report and the attendant Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl).

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