Big Data could be a bigger global IT phenomenon than cloud computing, with strong job creation opportunities for Galway.
That’s according to Jason Ward, Country Manager for US technology multinational EMC, which employs 2,500 people in Ireland.
Big data, or large pools of information that can be captured, stored, organised, communicated and analysed, is now part of every sector and function of the global economy.
Smartphone and social network site-users, as well as large files such as medical records and multimedia, are fuelling the exponential growth of Big Data.
According to IT giant Cisco, who operate a Customer Briefing Centre here in Galway, smartphones outsold personal computers and desktops for the first time in Ireland last year and, by 2016, there will be ten billion mobile internet devices for 7.3 billion humans on earth.
“Big Data analytics can become a new jobs-rich source of activity for Ireland’s economy, creating demand for advanced IT skills in the form of data scientists who can map marketplace behaviour,” said Mr Ward.
“If Galway businesses and public sector organisations invest in technology that can manage, store and analyse huge volumes of information, allowing them to cross-reference and compare data sets, the way we work and live will be transformed.”
According to the International Data Corporation, organisations globally will need to deal with 44 times more information each year over the next decade than they are managing today.
“IT managers know they face a monumental task in simply taming the deluge of data but there is potentially huge payback in the form of big data analytics. Data scientists, the newest recruits in the global IT industry, are now analysing huge volumes of information to work out patterns that accurately capture marketplace behaviour.”
Major retailers such as supermarkets and high-street shops are routinely collating social network information, blog content and analyst research, as well as demographics, in order to crunch it all together and identify crucial trends and correlations to customer loyalty.
“In healthcare, legacy IT systems are only able to analyse a small percentage of the data they hold but by using Big Data analytics tools they can examine more diverse internal and external information, including likely outcomes of prescribed drug interactions, patients’ personal medical histories, and social and economic factors, to improve treatments and outcomes,” Mr Ward continued.
“The Big Data Society has arrived and it is an opportunity for Galway’s enterprise sector to grasp with both hands.”