UBS recently (10th of June) published their annual longer-term investment report into digital data trends and expectedly, it contains a treasure-trove of well-researched, primary-source data from which we can extrapolate many of the emerging trends in the global digital economy.
The most astonishing figure is simply the rate at which our digital universe is growing. Data growth is set to expand to 44 zetabytes by 2020, a 50-fold increase from 2010.
This is due to a number of things, mostly exponentially increasing bandwidth facilitated by upgraded network infrastructure in the developed and developing worlds, alongside huge numbers of new internet users from these emerging markets.
Alongside this, the sheer range of devices that are now connected to the internet has led to an increasingly descriptive term called the “Internet of Things”, describing the direction of post web-2.0 growth, which ultimately foresees a world in which anything that can be networked is, from cars to washing machines.
This means big news and bigger business for anyone with a vested interest in analytics. Although the UBS report did highlight that only somewhere in the region of 20% of all data is collected and leveraged for analysis by business, the degree to which this proportion captures that data which is actually of value is open to interpretation, but there is undoubtedly massive room for manoeuvre from both existing players in the software analytics space and new entrants, particularly those marketing their solutions as “smart analytics”: That is, software increasingly adept at learning ways of parsing relevant data as it becomes more and more voluminous.
Interesting, the UBS report breaks down some of the key growth-drivers in the digital space, identifying YouTube, Apple’s App Store and WhatsApp as key elements of digital growth over the past few years, generating thousands of gigabytes worth of traffic a minute. It seems likely that, as the digital universe continues to expand its remit, the main drivers of growth will continue to be innovative social and entertainment applications, such as Netflix (see the recent controversy between network carriers and Netflix about throttling).
The picture that emerges from all of this is that, as mentioned, there are potentially huge opportunities for big data firms to exploit this growth. This will be a tough proposition as privacy laws will arguably become stricter in line with the political climate and the devices through which data passes become more heterogeneous in type (see: The Internet of Things), but it’s not an insurmountable challenge by any means.
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Categories: Industry opinion