On the heels of its January report that found U.S. consumer wasted 4.5 million hours during the 2015 holiday season waiting for their content to be transferred from their old phone to a new one, Synchronoss Technologies is warning the content crunch is only going to get worse – and fast.
According to Synchronoss VP of Product Management and Corporate Marketing Ted Woodbery, the average smartphone user today is carrying between 10 GB and 15 GB of content on their device when they come in to a retail location for an upgrade.
That figure, Woodbery said, is expected to swell to an average of 25 GB to 30 GB within a year. According to Synchronoss’ observation-based statistics, the average amount of user content created and stored is expected to increase five percent each month going forward.
By content type, the average user’s content storage is expected to grow by three contacts per month, 19 photos per month, two videos per month, four songs per month, and two apps per month. The estimated total monthly increment is 911 MB of storage, according to Synchronoss data.
With a data transfer rate of 1 GB every five or six minutes over the Wi-Fi systems currently available in wireless retail locations, Woodbery said wait times for device upgrades that require transfers will only get longer.
“We’re creating a lot more content out there on our phones than we think,” Woodbery said. “This is a problem because that there is so much content on smartphones and when people come in to get a new phone, they have to transfer their content to the new device. Wi-Fi can only handle so much so quickly. So people are showing up with hours of content to transfer and they simply don’t have hours to spend.”
As information stored on devices gets denser and users upgrade devices faster, Woodbery said both carriers and customers will increasingly be bogged down by content transfers. The result for carriers in particular, he said, is a waste of valuable hours that could be spent onboarding other customers on to new devices.
To head off this issue, Woodbery suggested carriers and customers alike should turn to cloud storage solutions that would allow for seamless transfers. By having customers upload their content to the cloud before coming in for a transfer, Woodbery said wait times could be significantly reduced.
But Woodbery said the content explosion will also have an impact on wireless devices themselves.
According to Synchronoss data supplied by 451 Research, 31 percent of mobile subscribers have a device with only 16 GB of memory, while 29 percent had a 32 GB device and 14 percent had a 64 GB model. Just five percent of consumers had a device with 128 GB of storage space.
Compounding this issue, Woodbery said, is the fact that more than half of consumers currently function without a cloud storage solution. According to 451 Research, 32 percent of consumer said they only store their content on their phone, while an additional 21 percent said they store their content on their device and personal computer.
As the amount of stored content continued to rapidly expand, consumers will increasingly and more rapidly run out of space for their photos, video and apps on devices like the base model iPhone 6s, which comes with just 16 GB of storage. Within a year, even 32 GB devices will be under pressure.
“We see this brewing and it’s something that everyone’s going to have to deal with,” Woodbery said. “If the stats hold true and there’s a five percent increase in photos and videos, that’s a math problem that’s going to grind everything to a halt.”