Humanizing the Digital Universe


The Digital Universe Is In A Fascinating State Of Fluid Growth, So Much So That What’s True Today Could Easily Expand To Another Yottabyte Before The Next Generation Of Children Are All Grown Up.

Mohammed Amin
Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Middle East, EMC Corporation

The 7th EMC Digital Universe study presented this fluid growth in its MENA results in September (Global results were announced in May) and the singular, most important fact to emerge from this study was that the Digital Universe growth is exponential and that it cannot be stopped. In the MENA region alone, it will grow from 249 Exabytes in 2014, to 1835 Exabytes by 2020.   You can’t imagine how substantial?  Let me put that into perspective, the Palm Jumeirah Island in Dubai has a coastal length of about 520 kilometres, today the data were are generating would fit into iPads covering almost 16 times the length of the Palm. By 2020 the data we generate will be enough to cover 220 times the length of Palm Jumeirah Island.  This is not just a mathematical increase of over 600% but an insight into how human behaviour is changing the shape of the world and giving the Digital Universe a very human face.

What are the Areas of Growth in the MENA Region?

We’ve found that the main growth drivers can be split into three categories:

– Firstly we have the rising mobility and the BYOD culture in companies and businesses across major MENA cities

– Secondly we are seeing a massive growth in video surveillance within major consumer industries like hospitality, aviation, financial services, and oil and gas

– Thirdly, and this is one I’m personally looking forward to seeing realized is the rise of Smart City  initiatives in the region along with increased online activity as well as mobile and social mediaPalm


Some Compelling Statistics

While global results predict that by 2020 the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and Mexico will produce the majority data of about 60%, the surge of data in the MENA region will grow from the current 3.8% to 4.2% in 2020. What we know as the ‘Internet of Things’ will be the lead engine propelling the expansion of the Digital Universe, in the MENA region. One of the prominent highlights of the study showed that 70% of the digital universe is created by people like you and me but it is companies who are responsible for the security, privacy and compliance of 85% of the Digital Universe.

Managing Data

In the MENA region we have nearly 200 billion devices are Internet-ready and 14 billion devices are already online, representing 3.8% of global data! By 2020, it is expected that the number of devices communicating through the Internet will reach a massive 32 billion.  With data far outpacing storage, current storage capacity holds just 33% of the digital universe and I see this problem getting bigger as we move forward. For example by 2020 storage will only be able to store less than 15% of the Digital Universe with a lot of potentially useful data being wasted and very little of it analysed. But while the vastness of the Digital Universe presents a problem for analysis, in truth, only high-value data is most beneficial

What Do These Statistics Really Mean?

The simple answer is all this is going to impact the way we live. The world lives by data today. The simplest example is when a baby is born the data generated on the first day of a baby’s life is equivalent to 70 times the data in the Library of Congress.

Humanizing Data

Data is no longer just a bunch of statistics studied by data analysts in isolation, but a real snapshot of every life lived on the planet, through every tweet, update or photograph shared. Additionally the advocates of data transparency have brought about social and political change on mass scales across the world, through basic communication like Twitter and Facebook. Whether it is health services, education, politics or social change, this study proves that in the end, everyone is connected as a single unit by the data we share with each other. The creation of knowledge is no longer in the hands of institutions, but in each of us as we design our own Knowledge Universe, in a way that benefits us.

Business Opportunity

At an everyday business level, we can see that analyzingBig Data to extract value from the Digital Universe will help in significant ways such as:

– Creating new business models, with new revenue streams and quicker customer response systems

– Providing real-time information for critical services

– Monetizing new services and building new revenue streams for traditional businesses

– Allowing global and seamless visibility, for transparency and understanding of businesses, no matter how remote

– Improving efficient, intelligent operation and better sales and logistics decisions

– Improving the human experience

– Saving lives by enhancing all sorts of healthcare services

Meeting the Growth Challenge

As data growth is rapid, EMC recommends that organizations in the MENA region should take the following 3 steps:

– Have a central governance policy over the storage and use of data

– Deploy next generation software defined solutions for optimal data management, avoiding data deluge

– Redefine skills and expertise to upgrade the workforce

The Digital Universe study underlines the fact that Big Data is here to stay, and it is transforming everything, from the weather to a single human life in the remotest corner of the world. I believe that staying on top of expanding Digital Universe and all the useful data within it will reap huge benefits for individuals and organizations alike.


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