We are entering into a world of tension unless the opportunities and threats of the data-driven economy aren’t addressed now, the Irish Data Forum heard in Dublin on Friday.
After a keynote address by Gartner research VP and fellow Stephen Prentice, panelists consisting of Interxion managing director Tanya Duncan, TelecityGroup Ireland managing director Maurice Mortell, OVH Ireland manager Jane Kinghan and Prof Stefan Decker, director of INSIGHT at NUI Galway, began the first discussion.
Prentice pointed to the moral and legal implications of managing the vast amount of data being collected via social networks, mobile devices, internet sites and more. He said there are plenty of examples of companies gathering data with competitive advantage and profit as their main motivations.
“The downside can come up and bite you quite badly,” he warned these firms.
Duncan made the point that Ireland is in an advantageous position to thrive in the data economy.
“The infrastructure is second to none,” Duncan said. “The quality of data centres that we have in Ireland are as good as, if not better than, any place around the globe. Latency figures to the US and back to Europe are extremely favourable.
“I don’t know whether it’s by design or fluke but we seem to have attracted these big-data players onto the island of Ireland and that is an asset in itself.”
Mortell agreed: “The infrastructure is second to none, we can compete with anybody in Europe. But also look at the other components, like tax regime, education, legislation in place, the companies already here. The league tables for choosing mission-critical infrastructure, Ireland comes in the top two or three in all those criteria. We are in the premier league when it comes to locations of choice.”
Kinghan cited the “west coast feel” being experienced in Dublin as top talent from Ireland and San Francisco are regularly exchanged. “We are becoming an international hub,” she said.
Decker said that the stakes are high and that every country is competing. “The data phenomenon is happening,” he said.
“It is paramount that Ireland is able to recognise and put the resources into developing infrastructure and making it even more competitive.
“Industry-academia interactions are a crucial part of this,” Decker said.
Highlights of the first panel discussion at the Irish Data Forum:
More on the Irish Data Forum: