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Data Backup Becomes More Important With Surging Data Usage In Corona Times: Khalid Wani, Director- Channel Sales, Western Digital, India

In an exclusive interaction with BW Businessworld, Khalid Wani Director- Channel Sales, Western Digital, India shares insights on how people are backing up their data as this lockdown has created a lot of space for digital content.

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Looking at the current situation, what kind of difference do you see in people’s content creation and consumption habits?

The lockdown may have acquainted people to social distancing but they are digitally coming together like never before. The world is witnessing a voracious appetite for content. Our affinity for media has only been amplified by surging smartphone usage and internet connections, thanks to low-cost smartphones and the world’s cheapest data plans. Basis a recent report released by Mindshare India and Vidooly, the world has witnessed a steep increase in content consumption with the time spent by the average user to be over four hours per day as compared to the previous 1.5 hours on social media platforms. On the contrary, subscription revenues in sub-segments such as OTT, online gaming, and digital media are rising as consumers scout for quality content while at home. We are also witnessing a surge in the user-generated content that engages the audience and allows content creators to be creative with quality content that is entertaining and requires high network bandwidth and storage. For instance, a webinar that helps you understand the little things about keeping audiences hooked or a chef that gives you quick recipes to conjure up food out of leftovers at home — are all content format possibilities that have prominently cropped up.

The content formats have too evolved from texts and graphics to voice and video. There has been a continued explosion of messaging apps and AI’s prevalence in our lives which combines personalization with convenience and is eventually enabling people to create more content. And that is essentially fuelling the growth of data in the Indian market, which, in turn, is fuelling the growth for storage.

As and when, once things normalize, do you expect a lot of change in such habits?

Technology has been the only constant in our disrupted lives. It has evolved with time and seeped in deeper to everything that we do, from officials work to all the personal chores. In the current environment, the importance of it has hit us all. Though technology has been pivotal in all our lives before, but more so now as it has made it possible for businesses to run, for people to keep themselves engaged and connected. We expect a change in user content consumption, as well as content generation habits. Also, with everyone working from home, data backup becomes even more critical as not everyone would be connected to official servers and to ensure our PC systems are secure and backed-up so they can restart even after a crash or malware attack, we see a tremendous demand for storage solutions.

What kind of impact have you witnessed due to the pandemic?

This is a challenging time for everyone, which is changing the way we live, disrupting the supply chain, and impacting the economy. We have discovered new normal such as WFH and uptake of the cloud for enterprises. There has also been an increase in demand for gaming

segment and we also see the adoption of smart video security systems across the globe to keep track of the situation and the non-mobile edge applications – from medical, industry, smart cities, airports, and more will continue proliferating. These will be some of the primary triggers in driving data growth. Data growth will give us opportunities to tap several markets and cater to surging data storage requirements. Western Digital is well-positioned to offer end-to-end storage solutions both for the home consumer and up to the enterprise customer with a complete product portfolio designed for their needs.

Your reports suggest that Indian consumers don’t back up their data, despite being voracious content consumers. Why is that?

To understand consumer trends around the data backup behaviour is the key priority for us. We recently conducted a study that points out that one out of four PC users has lost their data as a result of a virus attack, computer failure, or device being stolen. While 42 per cent of the respondents cited the paucity of time and the tediousness of the data backup process as the key deterrents when backing up their content. Among the researched group, only 24% of females and a meagre 18% among the 36-45 age group back up their data. If you look at the younger generation, aged between 22-35 years, they are the trend drivers and over 82% of them back up their data.

When we delved deeper to understand the high level of inertia towards backing up data, we realized that there is a behavioural as well as a circumstantiation aspect to it. The behavioural aspect is more important as people believe that backing up data is time-consuming, and the importance of it strikes once the data is lost. The second aspect is the stigma attached to the process of being tedious. Therefore,our backup storage solutions such as My Passport HDD (up to 5TB of capacity), address all the challenges that the consumers had voiced, from a compact portable body to automatic backup.

Do you bring customized products, specially designed for Indian consumers?

WDC has an extensive product portfolio that offers the best solution to store and keep your data safe. Today, almost 50 per cent of the world’s data is stored on our devices – from our brands SanDisk, G-Technology or WD.

The smartphones today come with storage capacities of more than 128 GB but they have become so feature-rich and content friendly that most of the storage is needed for ingrained UIs and apps. In India, mostly the users opt for a 32GB or a 64GB variant and to ensure they don’t run out of space, we have a range of SanDisk microSD cards and SanDisk Dual Drives- that work as your phone pen drives with simple plug and play options. WDC also offers a range of external SSDs and HDDs that cater to a variety of users depending on their use. For users with high capacity demand, we have WD My Passport (up to 5TB) range of device, and for users in need for light speed performance and rough usage, we offer the SanDisk Extreme SSDs and SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs

Western Digital has been at the forefront of game-changing innovations and will continue to offer storage solutions basis the ever-evolving customer demands.