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Digital data volume in Mena to grow by 600 per cent

Social, mobile, smart city initiatives and sensor-enabled platforms are expected to drive the growth in digital data volume to more than 600%  through 2020, states a latest study by EMC Digital Universe.

The digital data volume in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) will grow from 249 exabytes in 2014 to 1835 exabytes by 2020, an increase of over 600%, EMC Corporation revealed in its latest study “Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things”, the only study to quantify and forecast the amount of data produced annually, according to a company statement.

The global study attributed the surging volume of the world’s data to the emergence of wireless technologies, smart products and software-defined businesses.
Among the key findings of the Digital Universe Study was that the MENA region continues to lead data growth contributing to 3.8% of the digital universe driven by the aggressive penetration of social platforms and mobility in addition to heavy penetration of video surveillance across key verticals like oil and gas, aviation, hospitality, retail and finance in addition to the many ambitious smart city initiatives in play all across the region.”

Countries of the MENA region, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Russia will surpass the mature markets of Germany, Japan and the United States.

Mohammed Amin, senior vice president and regional manager, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Middle East, EMC Corporation, said: “The Digital Universe Study clearly highlights that the Mena region continues to lead data growth contributing to 3.8 per cent of the digital universe driven by the aggressive penetration of social platforms and mobility in addition to heavy penetration of video surveillance across key verticals like oil and gas, aviation, hospitality, retail and finance in addition to the many ambitious smart city initiatives in play all across the region. Enterprises today are looking for solutions that help them go beyond the collation and storage of all this data to identify “high value” data and extract insights from it to fuel business growth and competitive advantage.

The potential to maximise business value from these projects is massive and requires IT departments to innovate and find new ways to leverage existing infrastructure to effectively leverage the Internet of Things and dive into a future of third platform computing.”

The study found that billions of connected devices equipped with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically record, report and receive data, currently represent 2% of the MENA’s data and is expected to contribute to over 8% of the MENA data by 2020 creating new sources of value for businesses in the region.

The Digital Universe study also highlighted the need of data protection in Mena, with only 47% of the data being generated in the MENA is protected, a massive 53% still needs to be secured. This points to a grave concern for the future as the amount of information continues to amplify, it opens more doors for cyber criminals to exploit mounds of increasingly vulnerable information assets.

According to analysts, organizations in the MENA region now need to take steady steps to identify and define “useful data” or data that could be analyzed – in the digital universe. In 2013, only 22% of the information in the worldwide digital universe was considered useful data, but less than 5% of the useful data was actually analyzed – leaving a massive amount of data lost as dark matter in the digital universe. By 2020, more than 35% of all data in the world could be considered useful data, thanks to the growth of data from the Internet of Things, but it will be up to businesses to put this data to use.

This phenomenon will present radical new ways of interacting with customers, 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.

Vernon Turner, Senior Vice President, IDC said, “The study evidences that like anywhere else in the world, in the MENA too the Digital Universe and The Internet of Things go hand in hand. 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. This explosion of information creates immense opportunities for businesses everywhere and the companies that succeed in the future are the ones who successfully identify the right sources of data and extract relevant value from this data for their business and its stakeholders.”