In a time of data collection, exploitation and scary revelations from whistleblowers, the EU has urged national governments not to be scared of big data and instead embrace it in order to win jobs for their economies.
Big data is growing seven times faster than ICT overall and will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across Europe.
“It’s about time we focus on the positive aspects of big data,” said Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for the Digital Agenda.
“Big data sounds negative and scary, and for the most part, it isn’t. Leaders need to embrace big data.”
The spread of big data among national governments, according to public consultations, is being stymied by a number of factors, including the lack of cross-border co-ordination, insufficient infrastructure and funding, a shortage of data experts, and a complex legal environment.
To counter this, the EU is going to establish a big data public-private partnership that will fund “game changing” big data ideas in areas such as food and medicine.
The EU plans to create an open data incubator as part of the Horizon 2020 framework to help SMEs set up supply chains based on big data and cloud computing.
New rules on data ownership are to be devised to keep step with the emergence of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
Supercomputing Centres of Excellence
The EU also plans to establish a series of Supercomputing Centres of Excellence to increase the number of skilled data workers in Europe, as well as a network of data-processing facilities in different member states.
In tandem with this, the EU is to expand its investment in 5G cellular technology, having already committed €700m in various projects, including a special arrangement with South Korea.
The EU also plans to increase the pace of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, as well as Opening Up Education to plug the skills gap.
Global big-data technology and services will grow to US$16.9bn in 2015 and data will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Europe, the European Commission said.
Every single minute, the world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data, equal to 360,000 DVDs. That's more than 6MB of data for each person every day.
As a result, the data sector is growing by 40pc per year, seven times more quickly than the overall ICT market.
Big data image via Shutterstock