Data explosion to see ten-fold increase by 2020

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9 April 2014 | 0

According to a new survey from EMC, the world’s data will total around 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020.

The Digital Universe study seeks to quantify and forecast the amount of data produced annually, and this year showed that the emergence of wireless Boyle Recruitment technologies, smart products and software-defined businesses are playing a central role the massive growth of global data. This is, says the study, due in part to the Internet of Things (IoT), and consequently the Digital Universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020, from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.

This year’s study is entitled “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the ‘Internet of Things’”, and is supported with research and analysis from IDC. It explains that the IoT comprises billions of everyday objects that are equipped with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically record, report and receive data, from a sensor in your shoe tracking how fast you run to a bridge tracking traffic patterns. According to IDC the number of devices or things that can be connected to the Internet is approaching 200 billion today, with 7% (or 14 billion) already connected to and communicating over the internet. The data from these connected devices represents 2% of the world’s data today. IDC now forecasts that, by 2020, the number of connected devices will grow to 32 billion – representing 10% of the world’s data.

The study says that the IoT will also influence the massive amounts of “useful data”, or data that could be analysed, in the Digital Universe. In 2013, only 22% of the information in the Digital Universe was considered useful data, but less than 5% of the useful data was actually analysed, which leaves a massive amount of data lost as dark matter in the Digital Universe. By 2020, more than 35% of all data could be considered useful data, thanks to the growth of data from the IoT but it will be up to businesses to put this data to use.

“The Digital Universe and The Internet of Things go hand in hand,” said Vernon Turner, senior vice president, IDC. “As sensors become connected to the Internet, the data that they generate becomes increasingly important to every aspect of business, transforming old industries into new relevant entities.  Traditional storage services will be elevated to new levels of resiliency and tolerance to support the Digital Universe, which can only be guaranteed in a software-defined environment.”

This phenomenon will present radical new ways of interacting with customers, argues the study, streamlining business cycles, and reducing operational costs, stimulating trillions of dollars in opportunity for businesses. Conversely, it presents significant challenges as businesses look manage, store and protect the sheer volume and diversity of this data. For example, IDC estimates that 40% of the data in the Digital Universe require some level of protection, from heightened privacy measures to fully-encrypted data. That said, only half of that data – just 20% – is actually protected.

“This year’s Digital Universe survey shows that businesses are potentially underestimating the vastness of new data creation, and the means to store and analyse it,” said Jason Ward, director, EMC Ireland, Scotland and UK North. “Furthermore, this raises important questions regarding cybersecurity—how will companies protect sensitive information from hackers? The scale of modern data creation has to some degree rendered traditional, passive measures of security obsolete. However, with the right data management solutions and new, intelligence-driven security measures in place, businesses stand to benefit from a wealth of new resources and information.”

The study also found that emerging markets are producing more data. Currently, 60% of data in the Digital Universe is attributed to mature markets such as Germany, Japan, and the United States, but by 2020, the percentage will flip, the study predicts, and emerging markets including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia will account for the majority of data.

Storage is also an issue, the study finds, and is in danger of being outpaced by data.  The world’s amount of available storage capacity (i.e. unused bytes) across all media types is growing slower than the Digital Universe. In 2013, the available storage capacity could hold just 33% of the Digital Universe. By 2020, it will be able to store less than 15%. Fortunately, most of the world’s data is transient, such as steaming content, and requires no storage.

Data touched by the cloud is predicted to double. In 2013, less than 20% of the data in the Digital Universe was “touched” by the cloud. By 2020, that percentage will double to 40%.

Consumers create data but enterprises are responsible for it, the study concludes. Two-thirds of the Digital Universe bits are created or captured by consumers and workers, yet enterprises have liability or responsibility for 85% of it.


TechCentral Reporters

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