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Digital universe will grow tenfold by 2020: EMC study

Zafirah Salim | April 10, 2014
EMC Digital Universe study revealed how the emergence of wireless technologies, smart products and software-defined business contributes to data growth.

The digital universe is doubling in size every two years; and it will multiply tenfold between 2013 and 2020, from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.

This is according to the seventh Digital Universe study by IT storage hardware solutions provider EMC which announced the study’s results today.

Titled “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things”, the study was backed with research and analysis by IDC; and it revealed how the emergence of wireless technologies, smart products and software-defined businesses are playing an important role in increasing the volume of the world’s data.

To put things in perspective, according to the study, the average household today creates enough data to fill 65 iPhones per year. In the year 2020, the amount will grow to 318 iPhones. This overwhelming data growth is largely due to the rise of connected devices and smart technology such as Nest thermostats and smart bridge; clearly showing the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) era. In fact, IDC found that the number of devices or things that can be connected to the Internet is approaching 200 billion today.

IoT also affects the vast amount of “useful data” in the digital universe, which refers to data that can be analyzed. According to the study, in 2013, only 22 per cent of the information in the digital universe was considered useful data, but less than 5 per cent of it was actually analyzed. This results in a massive amount of lost data.

However, due to the data growth caused by IoT, the study claims that there will be an increase in the amount of “useful data” in the future, and businesses should learn how to use this data effectively. This phenomenon will present radical new ways of interacting with customers, streamlining business cycles, and reducing operational costs; which serves as a profit opportunity for businesses.

Only half of actual data protected

At the same time, businesses must also learn to manage, store and protect this big data. According to the media statement, IDC estimates that 40 per cent of the data in the digital universe require some level of protection. Surprisingly, only half of that data is actually protected.

“As more and more businesses capitalize on the social and mobile phenomenon, the enormity and potential of the digital universe grows, and businesses are presented with greater opportunities to analyze new streams of data and gain more value from the data they already have,” said Jeremy Burton, President of Products and Marketing of EMC Information Infrastructure. “Simply put – companies of all types are shape shifting into software-defined enterprises right before our eyes. While the potential is massive, the implications are equally daunting.  IT departments must press the restart button to find new ways to innovate around existing infrastructure while positioning themselves to dive into a future of third platform computing.”


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