Gartner: Personal Cloud Soon to Nudge PCs from Digital Center Stage

Researcher predicts that in two years cloud services will offer business users device flexibility driven by consumer preferences, virtualization, new applications, individual clouds and mobility.

The diversity and flexibility of the personal cloud will bump personal computers from the center of business users’ digital needs in favor of a broader lineup of devices that includes smartphones and tablets, according to a recent study by researcher Gartner Inc.

The report, entitled “The New PC Era: The Personal Cloud”--part of a special report the researcher produced on the personal cloud’s effect on enterprises—contends that by 2014 the market no longer will revolve around PCs but instead be framed by a wide variety of devices that can readily tap into cloud services to meet users’ needs.

Changes in user preferences, a trend Gartner calls “consumerization,” have picked up steam in the past two years, giving PC makers pause and prompting enterprises to reevaluate how they deliver applications and services, the researcher said.

"Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices," said Steve Kleynhans, Gartner research vice president.

"Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life," he said.

"Many call this era the post-PC era, but it isn't really about being 'after' the PC, but rather about a new style of personal computing that frees individuals to use computing in fundamentally new ways to improve multiple aspects of their work and personal lives," said Kleynhans.

Gartner said that five megatrends are prodding a major market shift in which no one device or machine operates as the hub of users’ computing experience.

  • The Consumerization of IT. Knowledgeable and technically shrewd users empowered by the Internet, social media and the proliferation of mobile devices, are demanding technology on their own terms.
  • Virtualization. With applications freed up from specific devices, operating systems and architectures, virtualization has improved flexibility for implementing client environments.
  • App-ification. Changes to the design, delivery and consumption of applications based on user experience to broaden the range of devices they work on and circumstances in which they can be deployed.
  • Self-service Cloud. Personal clouds, scalable and available for multiple uses, now enable users to make their own choices in virtual workspaces concerning applications, services, content and storage.
  • Mobility Shift. At any time and in any scenario, any one of a number of a user’s devices can take a primary, centered role.


Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub,” said Kleynhans. “Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared in the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself," he said.

"Many call this era the post-PC era, but it isn't really about being 'after' the PC, but rather about a new style of personal computing that frees individuals to use computing in fundamentally new ways to improve multiple aspects of their work and personal lives," said Kleynhans.

TAGS: cloud computing,mobility,virtualization,PC,applications,Gartner



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