In my professional career I have been fortunate to be able to travel for work. As glamorous as it sounds, business travel does have its down sides. Flight delays, bland airport meals, loud heating/air conditioning units, and uncomfortable bed and pillows are just some of the unglamorous perks that come with business travel.
On the positive side, in my role at Toshiba, I enjoy traveling to industry trade shows to meet prospective clients and showcase our HDD product portfolio. Standing for eight hours in a big convention hall and meeting multitudes of people is interesting to say the least. On many occasions, I have been fortunate to have been able to team up with my colleague and good friend, Scott Wright, to man the Toshiba booth. Together, we spend countless hours meeting and chatting with partners and customers. Trade shows provide us with an ideal venue to engage in meaningful interactions that usually focus on Toshiba’s latest HDD models capabilities and benefits. One surprising aspect is how little awareness most people have regarding the capacity that is achieved today by Helium-sealed HDDs. When we hand conference attendees a 16TB HDD they are often amazed that such a storage device exists. Often the looks on their faces as they hold the latest Toshiba HDD in their hands is priceless – and needless to say very satisfying.
The conversations we have with conference attendees go in many different directions. Depending on the person holding our Toshiba HDD sample, Scott and I would engage in conversation about the various types of HDDs Toshiba has to offer. From client to consumer to cloud HDD, Toshiba’s broad product portfolio has a storage solution to meet anyone’s needs. After a whole day of standing and talking, to finally sit down with a cold drink and recap the day with Scott was something I looked forward to.
2020 has been an unusual year to say the least. COVID-19 changed the whole trade show schedule, and all our travels and planned in-person trade conference participation has been cancelled. Thus, our trade event experience this year has become virtual. Though Scott and I cannot hand an attendee a physical HDD to hold, we do provide a virtual tour of our products and explain how our HDDs are an integral part of that trade show. Unlike previous trade shows, industry presentations have to be uploaded to the cloud, which require high-capacity HDDs such as our industry sweet-spot 14TB MG07 nearline HDD.
Hopefully in the future we will be able to participate in face-to-face discussions with event attendees once again. In the meantime, more and more events such as trade shows are held online, adding to the already mushrooming growth of cloud-based data growth. That means cloud companies will be expanding data centers and requiring more nearline HDDs such as our 16TB MG08 cloud-scale capacity HDD will be in high demand. According to IDC, exabyte shipment of nearline HDDs are projected to grow nearly 40% in 2020¹.
The circumstances of COVID-19 are understandable, but I still have an empty feeling. Because of COVID-19, I have not had a chance to put on my road warrior hat this year. More than anything, I miss meeting people at the shows and spending time with Scott. Ahhh, how I long for another chance to experience a flight delay or to eat a bland meal at the airport. I’m desperately hoping for a more “normal” 2021 and a return to more face-to-face trade show engagements with partners and customers.
¹Source: IDC, Worldwide Hard Disk Drive Forecast, 2020-2024, Document #US46255120, May 2020.
¹Toshiba defines a megabyte (MB) as 1,000,000 bytes, a gigabyte (GB) as 1,000,000,000 bytes and a terabyte (TB) as 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. A computer operating system, however, reports storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes and therefore shows less storage capacity. Available storage capacity (including examples of various media files) will vary based on file size, formatting, settings, software and operating system, such as Microsoft Operating System and/or pre-installed software applications, or media content. Actual formatted capacity may vary.