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Consumer's Dual Network Storage Needs

The home networking market is entering a phase of slowing growth. Many consumers have already purchased a home networking device -- other factors include continued pricing pressure and a lack of strong demand for upgrades, according to the latest study by ABI Research.

One category, however, that will see continued growth through the next five years will be network storage, which ABI calculates at something under $400 million worldwide today but growing to just over $1.4 billion worldwide by 2013.

ABI doesn't expect consumer network storage to see the same type of overall market demand as they've seen in the home router and gateway market.

That being said, they believe that overall adoption of consumer network storage will grow significantly from the 10 percent of home network owners today who use network attached storage.

While network storage among consumers will see an overall growth rate of 26 percent annually over the next five years, there are still significant hurdles for this newer technology.

Low-cost USB hard drives which are widely adopted by consumers today as well as the increasing number of options for cloud-based storage on the Internet will compete with network storage, which is seen by some as more difficult to install than these options.

Apparently, consumers will see a need for both backup and central storage of digital files. While cloud-based storage services offer a good way for consumers to access content remotely, there is no beating the speed of local network storage.

ABI thinks that ultimately consumers will choose a mix of both online and locally based network storage. Personally, I use a combination of the free online resources from Microsoft's Windows Live SkyDrive for general file storage and Google's PicasaWeb for multimedia files.

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