That’s what I call growth! According to IDC, the global volume of data doubles every two years. We’re talking about zetabytes – a figure with 21 zeros. Put another way, one zetabyte consists of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.
What are we doing with all of this information? We can access it anytime, anyplace, thus manufacturing more and more data in the process. According to Deloitte, IP traffic in Germany will quadruple by 2015 , mainly because of mobile devices. There is more information out there than we can handle. It is pouring into our lives like water from a waterfall. However, is more data also making us more intelligent? Well, at least the opportunity exists.
The process of storing huge amounts of unstructured data in a form which enables us to quickly analyze it and extract valuable information that we can act upon, is called ‘big data’. The benefit is that it helps us to create an ever more detailed virtual copy of our lives and our environment. This will lead to the ‘intelligent society’ in which we can fuse the physical and the virtual world to become something that is more than just the sum of its parts. Augmented reality solutions like the CeBIT App are already helping us to understand and navigate our surroundings better.
They also help us to deal with the challenges we are currently facing: climate change and a growing population, hence the need for food, space and health as well as the desire to live in harmony with our environment. Take our agricultural show case in Japan, for example. Fujitsu is collecting information about climate and geography, recent temperatures, the condition of the soil etc. Based on this information, we can learn when the best time is to sow, to fertilize or to harvest. It’s a modern way to improve the quality and quantity of food.
There are other areas in which cloud computing can be of help. Take the energy sector, the healthcare industry or traffic and transportation. If we can use technology in a way so that it serves us instead of subjecting ourselves to it, we can minimize CO2 emissions, improve our health and prevent traffic jams or even accidents. That will be the era of human-centric IT.
But, as the saying goes, a fool with a tool remains a fool. Huge amounts of data will get us nowhere if we don’t have the right infrastructure and the right processing capabilities. The right tools will support your intuition with the right information in case you have to make a decision. Cloud computing is a central part of this. The cloud infrastructure in combination with new in-memory technologies can handle vast amounts of data very efficiently by global de-duplication, global search algorithms or global context generation, to name just a few examples.
So don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of data. Look at it as an opportunity and make the best of it – the best for you and for your business. Why not get your head into the cloud and try out how to start?
Most of all, we need to remind ourselves that, technological progress notwithstanding, a day still only has 24 hours. That imposes a natural limitation on our activities and on how we can utilize all this data. In contrast to the natural impulse to just collect and store everything, we will have to focus on what’s important, if we are to make intelligent decisions. Don’t be afraid of drowning in data. Better learn how to float atop with the aid of smart cloud and big data services.