Out of the hard drive and into a cloud

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Aug 23, 2013

After spending my Sunday afternoon looking through shoeboxes of photos, I realise that I have more printed photos of my childhood than I do of my adulthood. I have endless family albums and envelopes filled with memories of my younger years. The fact that my old family photos are only available as prints makes me cherish them even more. The sentimental feelings I get holding these photos in my hands I don’t feel when I look at photos I have stored electronically.    

I am pretty certain that for many people born in the era of film cameras feel the same way. So, why has the way we view our photos changed? The main reason we take photos is to share our special moments. If we’re sharing them for free online and through mobile communication, why should we go to the trouble of printing them? Yes, sharing photos electronically is free, but prints are hardly expensive. With some retailers in the U.K. offering prints from as low as £0.05 a photo, a hundred prints can cost consumers not much more than a couple of cups of coffee.

The problem is that our personal photos collections are growing vast. Furthermore, consumers are capturing photos on multiple devices making them difficult to sort through and organise. From one of my last holidays alone I have over 2,000 photos taken with my DSLR, around a hundred more on my smartphone, and not to mention the 1,000+ photos my friend shared with me. I have not had time to sort through them and select 200 of my most favourite photos to make into a photo album. Did I mention my holiday was in April? Although most people may not capture as many photos as I do on holiday, anyone who has attempted to upload holiday photos and find the ‘best’ ones to print or share will know the pain of such a laborious task.

An easy solution for uploading and organising photos into one place is the answer. Online cloud storage can make storing and accessing photos an easy task. Whilst there are many cloud storage providers around, not one company particularly stands out from the crowd. Consumers will be cautious to spend their time and effort uploading all their photos to a site that is unfamiliar. Consumers need a brand they can trust. In a recent survey, InfoTrends asked camera owners which specific companies they would trust to provide a cloud service. The top five companies listed were Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Canon.  All of these vendors currently offer a cloud service; Google’s service is called Google Drive, Apple has iCloud, Microsoft has SkyDrive, Canon is still in testing stages with its Project 1709 and Samsung has very recently partnered with Bitcasa to offer unlimited cloud storage on all of its Windows 8 devices.


InfoTrends’ Opinion

Now is a great time to invest in this area. Consumers’ awareness and interest in cloud storage is growing. InfoTrends research shows that 66% of camera owners are familiar with cloud storage. Of these consumers 31% expressed interest in having their photos automatically uploaded to a cloud service. The growing number of Wi-Fi enabled cameras available will further assist the desire for cloud services. InfoTrends believes that vendors in this segment should explore the opportunities that lie within the photo management and storage market.

In addition, cloud based photo storage solutions should offer more than just storing photos. Advanced features should make menial tasks of sorting and organising photos for easy archival and retrieval of images. Consumers should be able to search for photos by various categorisations such as date and time, device photos were captured on to more advanced classifications such as facial and scene recognition. Furthermore, InfoTrends recommends that photo print service providers explore collaborating with storage services. Offering consumers the convenience of printing their photos directly from the storage provider could generate additional revenue for both parties.

Many digital camera owners would certainly benefit from using a cloud storage service. A systematic archival and retrieval solution could make viewing our photos more pleasurable than routing through endless photos stored in numerous files in internal and external hard drives. Foreseeably, it may even evoke many of us to print more photos.

For more information on InfoTrends’ end-user survey please contact our European Sales Manager Jennie Lewis jennie.lewis@infotrends.com.

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