Gartner predicts the personal cloud will quickly eclipse the PC

A report from Gartner has indicated that the personal cloud will overshadow the PC as the main element of consumers’ digital lives by 2014.

The IT analysts claim the rapid growth in the usage of apps has led to this verdict, meaning a sea-change in how consumers stream, share and synchronise content providing more flexibility, user satisfaction and productivity with the cloud.

Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner and co-author of the report, said: “The personal cloud isn't a single offering, but a reflection of consumers' expectation that their content will flow seamlessly as the result of a combination of services that overlap the consumer, business and government domains.”

The report stated that, as no company has complete dominance of the field, “the stakes are high” – in essence, the competition will only improve the services currently available.

An example here is that, with the release of Google’s personal cloud service last month, Google Drive, other major suppliers have been forced to step up their game with Amazon releasing their own Cloud Drive in response.

Gartner specifically targeted three areas of growth for the personal cloud market: mobility and location; platform independence; and seamless synchronisation.

Mobility and location is self-explanatory, relating to the ease and location with which data can be accessed in the cloud as opposed to PC.

Platform independence correlates to the idea that the PC will not become obsolete, nor will it remain the hub of all activity – more that it becomes just another device linked to the cloud.

Seamless synchronisation relates to the idea that there are different services associated with the cloud and that, at the macro level, these files – documents, music, video files etc – would be stored locally then mirrored.

Gartner also warned that many companies were not utilising the full features of the personal cloud system, instead focusing on the cloud’s online storage capabilities, leaving consumers “confused”.

Gartenberg explained: “Consumers will define their own sets of personal cloud services with regard to communication, collaboration and media consumption, despite vendors trying to control the digital ecosystem.”

Gartner foresaw the same prediction in March, claiming that we weren’t in a ‘post-PC’ era, but an improved, freer style of personal computing.

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