The old adage give them an inch and they will take a mile is never more prevalent with storage of data on our smartphones. Synchronoss (SNCR) monitoring of over 30 million customers combined with an independent study from 451 Research has verified the explosion of data content that consumers are accumulating on their smartphones. Studies show that the average consumer creates and stores so much data that it is increasing by more than 6-percent each month – and soon the average smartphone will be running out of room to store data directly on the device. Synchronoss' solution is to use their cloud, or any cloud, to store data for easy access and backup.
This study, conducted over a ten-month period from April 2015 through January 2016, highlighted a few key factors. The average users' content increased by 55-percent or an average increase of 5-percent each month. The average number of videos created and store during this time period increased by 62-percent. The average number of images created and stored grew by 48-percent – what used to be an average of 518 images per person increased to 769 per person. The average smartphone owner uses on average 10.8GB of storage capacity on their smartphone – photos take up 3.6GB, videos take up 3.7GB and Apps take up 900MB, and this is expected to increase by 8-percent per month. The chart at the bottom of the article shows the personal content of the typical mobile user – Contact average 300 and we are adding about 3 per month…750 photos that are growing 19 per month…about 10 videos that average 3 minutes in length, growing at 2 per month…Songs average 150, but are growing at a rate of 4 per month…and Apps are at 30, but growing at 2 per month.
It is easy to see what is driving the increases – our smartphones have become our main source for taking pictures and people who would have never grabbed a camera before are more than happy to snap pictures with their smartphones…and we do it at an alarming rate. When photos had to be printed in order to share them, it was more expensive and required considerable effort – now we simply bring them up on our device to show them off or post them to the internet for all to see. Many young people have never even handled a real photo, only what they see on their phones or social media. Another reason photos are gobbling up storage is that 92-percent of us tend to shoot at the default setting, which is most often the largest image…each photo we take uses about 4.8MB of storage and if the average consumer adds 19 pictures per month that equates to a gain of 91MB per month.
Videos are fast becoming the number one source of entertainment among friends and a one-minute video encoded at 1080p takes about 124MB of storage. If the average consumer has 10 videos on their smartphone that average 3 minutes each, we are talking about 3.7GB of storage space. According to data from Synchronoss, videos have increased 62-percent over the 10-month study. According to 451 Research's study, most users have between 20 and 39 apps on their smartphone. Although the average size is 20MB, some games require 60MB or more and with the average of 2 new apps downloaded each month, the storage requirements are growing by 60MB per month. With higher quality video now possible on some smartphones, these numbers will only increase.
The only where to turn for the storage we need is the cloud, although when asked what would encourage you to store more content, the number one answer was more on-device storage. It was closely followed by larger, free cloud storage at 51-percent, but when they had to pay for that additional cloud storage, the number dropped to a measly 8-percent. However, the study shows that cloud storage should play an important part of the carrier's bottom line since 23-percent of the consumers go to the carrier stores to have their data transferred. There were about 19.6 million smartphones sold during the 2015 holiday season and if only 23-percent asked the store to transfer their content, this is what it would result in – if the average phone has 10.8GB of content to transfer to the new device, and it takes 60 minutes via a faster WiFi connection, it could take up to 4.5 million hours to transfer the data on all of the devices, wasting both the consumers and sales-reps time and costing the carriers millions of dollars.
It is obvious that our future storage needs will have to be met by using the cloud. Many resist the cloud for security and control reasons – do we really want to leave our pictures, videos and documents in another company's hands? What if the cloud is hacked and others gain access to our personal data? According to Ted Woodbery, VP Marketing and Product Strategy at Synchronoss Technologies, we may not have a choice. He says, "This exponential rise in mobile content presents huge challenges for carriers in helping consumers manage their valuable personal content. The mobile industry is on the cusp of several new innovations which will drive heavier content creation at a faster rate. This will quickly outstrip the limited storage capacity remaining on most popular smartphones today."