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New technologies drive demand for more storage capacity

September 25, 2017

Flash memory storage and hard disk manufacturer Western Digital sees demand for memory cards increasing due to memory-heavy formats, including 4K and 8K, 360-degree and virtual reality videos.

Tareq Hussaini, regional sales director for Middle East and Africa at Western Digital, told Gulf News that the company had a profitable year due to the shortage of supplies and that forced the industry to lift prices.

"In the region, we sold fewer units but our turnover increased," he said.

The hard disk drive giant acquired the flash manufacturer SanDisk in May last year for $19 billion (Dh82.92 billion).

The company launched a 200GB microSD card two years ago and launched a 256GB at Gitex last year and a 1TB SDXC prototype card for cameras in Germany last year.

This year, the company launched a 400GB microSD card at the Shopper for Dh1,125.

Husseini said new technologies are driving the demand for more capacity. Usage is changing as people who used to take photos are taking videos in ultra-high capacity and people who used to listen to music are storing music in high definition.

"We now have drones in the industry and action cams. Nobody wants to fly a drone or an action camera without the higher capacity storage solutions as they don't want to miss the action," he said.

Moreover, he said that microSD cards for mobile phones have seen a tremendous increase in demand after the launch of premium smartphones.

Most new mobile phones feature cameras that are able to record 4K videos (3840 x 2160 resolution) which are four times that of the Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution). These devices require a lot of storage capacity.

"Consumers will create more content when there is capacity. Some premium smartphones in the market support up to 2TB microSD card. Storage is going to evolve into higher capacities due to the demand we see from a storage perspective," he said.

He said the business is capitalising on organic growth in the region. The company has seen re-exports of flash drives to Africa from Dubai soar.

The company launched a new private cloud storage solution for consumers known as WD My Cloud Home in capacities of 2TB and 8TB for Dh699 and Dh1,299 respectively.

"With the My Cloud Home solution, consumers can easily store all the photos, videos and files from their smartphones, computers, USB storage, cloud and social media accounts in one central place," Husseini said.

He said the maximum capacity of an SD card was limited to 2TB at this point. It is like the Moore's Law in semiconductors. The storage demand is still very strong with consumers moving towards mobile.

"But I am sure that engineers and researchers will find a way to increase the limit," he said.

According to 6Wresearch, increasing demand for security cameras will push the surveillance market in the UAE to $197.8 million by 2021 while the GCC video surveillance storage market is expected to grow at an annual rate of over 8.5 per cent during 2017-2023.

"Surveillance is a huge market for HDDs and the UAE is going to be a key player due to Smart City initiative," Hussaini said.

He said that the core mandate for CCTV surveillance is to enable faster, real-time retrieval and analysis of data to enable everything from better community safety as well as effectively manage traffic management, accident and emergency response in addition to urban development and planning.

Media Source: Gulf News

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