BRUSSELS — November 5th, 2015 — A new report released today in the European Union by BSA | The Software Alliance takes a closer look at the central role played by data in today’s global economy and society. This report, entitled “What’s the Big Deal with Data?”, provides compelling examples of how people are improving their lives each day with data answers – ranging from helpful everyday conveniences and better urban planning, to earlier predictions of weather crises and life-saving healthcare breakthroughs.
It also demystifies misunderstanding about how data is gathered and used most often, without encroaching on individuals’ privacy.
“People’s groundbreaking use of data is causing extraordinary change and progress across the globe. Their data-related efforts are empowering other people and communities, and helping businesses use resources more effectively,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “As the data-driven economy grows, new software will continue to help us all better understand and transform this data into even more real, actionable solutions.”
BSA’s report highlights how the emerging data-driven economy is impacting numerous sectors – such as manufacturing, transportation, energy, agriculture, education and healthcare. In the process, more than €13.5 trillion is expected to be added to the global GDP by 2030, representing a significant boost to the global economy, Espinel noted.
More data is being created today than ever before. More than 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in just the past two years, and the world is now doubling the rate that data is produced every two years.
“The biggest challenge now is knowing how to harness this data and put it to work,” Espinel said. “Data must be gathered, stored, analyzed, and translated to achieve meaningful results, and decision makers around the world must put in place the importance of policies that best enable this to happen.”
From the What’s the Big Deal with Data? report, several of the ways answers from data and software are being transformed into life-improving answers:
- Building smart cities: Barcelona is harnessing data to build a smarter city, giving city officials the ability to examine traffic patterns, analyze where to put public bike stations, and identify which corners of the city need more ATMs.
- Reducing Commute Times: Stockholm, Sweden installed 1,600 GPS systems in taxi cabs to collect data on traffic flows, then used software to analyze traffic data to inform the city’s plans to reduce congestion. The result? Traffic has been reduced by 20 percent, travel times have been cut in half, and auto emissions are down 10 percent.
- Designing energy-efficient buildings: New data tools are being used in the United Arab Emirates to design the world’s first positive-energy building, a building that actually produces more energy than it consumes. If successful, this model could be implemented worldwide and have a dramatic effect on our global carbon footprint.
- Increasing farming yields: Farmers are using data from seeds, satellites, sensors, and tractors to make better decisions about what to grow, when to plant, how to track food freshness from farm to fork, and how to adapt to changing climates.
“The wide range of problems that data is solving shows how much impact the data revolution already is having on the world economy,” Espinel said. “Of course there are significant issues, such as user privacy, that need to be thoughtfully addressed. But with boundless information, the possibilities are limitless for everything from classrooms and hospitals to highways and robotics. Effectively gathering, storing, analyzing and transforming invaluable data will let people continue to improve their lives, and grow our innovation economy as a whole.”
“However, the opportunities offered by this data innovation could be in jeopardy,” continued Espinel. “Recent uncertainty about cross-border data flows between the US and EU could deter innovation and make it much more difficult for European and American individuals and the businesses that serve their needs. We hope this matter will be solved quickly and that sustainable solutions will be to enable customers in Europe to enjoy full benefits of data.”
To read more data breakthroughs and view a video summary of the What’s the Big Deal with Data? paper from BSA | The Software Alliance, visit www.bsa.org/data.