Big data continues to integrate into world economies

Jun 17, 2016, 2:32 PM EDT
"Big_Data-Prob". (Source: KamiPhuc/flickr)
"Big_Data-Prob". (Source: KamiPhuc/flickr)

The scope of big data is changing as both public and private sectors learn how to manage large swaths of data, and consider how to approach data governance in a constantly changing digital era. The latest report from Research and Markets on the big data market looks at how it has expanded over the last few years, how the definition of big data has changed, and where the future challenges and opportunities lie.

The report states:

"'Big Data' originally emerged as a term to describe datasets whose size is beyond the ability of traditional databases to capture, store, manage and analyze. However, the scope of the term has significantly expanded over the years. Big Data not only refers to the data itself but also a set of technologies that capture, store, manage and analyze large and variable collections of data to solve complex problems.”

The big data market has been forecasted to grow significantly over the next few years by multiple research organizations, but Research and Markets says that investments are further expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% over the next four years, eventually accounting for over $72 billion by the end of 2020. Big data investments will account for over $46 billion alone in 2016.

The report looks at the big data market through 2030, and points out that privacy concerns and "organizational resistance" have been two major hurdles for the market gaining momentum on a global basis. Indeed, as big data technologies proliferate around the world, concern for how to regulate such technologies — most importantly how to protect consumers and businesses — is top-of-mind. 

In May, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner called for feedback on a draft that examines how the Australian Privacy Principles apply to big data. Over the years, various countries’ governments including the U.K.’s and the U.S.’s have sought to grasp the scope of big data before it is too, well, big, to figure out how to regulate. The challenges of governing big data are still very much apparent, including how different countries set laws that impact each other. Case in point: After the Safe Harbor agreement was overturned in October 2015, and the E.U. enacted data privacy laws dubbed the Privacy Shield earlier this year, the relationship between U.S. and European companies regarding data protection is still up in the air. 

Big data continues to present investment opportunities and challenges alike. Governments in particular have their work cut out for them regarding regulation. But it is clear that, even though the definition of big data might shift as the years go on, its integration into world digital economies will prevail.