Every gadget needs a place to hang its virtual hat. As home computing becomes more advanced, so does the need for the infrastructure required to support what we use.

Accordingly, network storage is now emerging as a mainstream consumer product, no longer confined to just the office environment. According to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based market research firm, In-Stat, the consumer network storage (CNS) market is reaching a critical juncture in its development. It is a transformation that will lead to greater demand and growth in the near term.

The firm observed that major vendors, in a bid to influence demand and widen the scope of adoption, are focusing more now on customer education, awareness and ease-of-use. This is an indication that CNS is migrating beyond its “innovator” roots and into the early adopter phase.
According to In-State analyst Norm Bogen, “The six largest players increased market share in 2009, despite intense market competition.” He added that vendors will soon find it harder to differentiate their products and instead will focus on “functionality and brand awareness,” indicating that the CNS market is starting to behave more like one that has been embraced by the mainstream.

Web-enabled consumer devices, such as TVs and Blu-ray players, are diversifying the demand and applications for CNS devices. Competition and the maturing of CNS combined with this blossoming of the consumer home technology environment will also help keep prices down. In-Stat projects even high-end CNS products will not exceed $800 per unit. All of this will contribute to the market’s growth, which In-Stat projects to expand at a combined annual rate of nearly 40 percent by 2014.