How will we power the data economy?

Published on the 29/08/2014 | Written by Paul Budde


Data economy

Subject matter expert Paul Budde explains why building the right ICT infrastructure is of national importance to the region’s future success…

There is no doubt that the next ten years will bring further exciting developments to the increasingly vital digital economy. The foundations for change are already well in motion and the continuing deployment of high-speed broadband and 4G technology will provide the infrastructure to ignite the new innovations and revolutions of the future. The infrastructure that is now being built offers a range of features such as ubiquity, affordability, low latency, high speed and high capacity. It will link millions of devices, such as sensors, that will enable us to more efficiently and effectively manage our environment, traffic, infrastructures, and our society as a whole.

There are a number of key trends which have emerged in recent years and will be real-game changers. Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology also referred to as the ‘internet of things’ is one such trend and it will transform every single sector of society and the economy. It will be out of this environment that new businesses – and indeed new industries – will be born. In Australia the number of connected M2M devices will grow to between 25 million and 50 million by 2020.

The large amounts of data generated by M2M developments, as well as the increase in usergenerated communications via social networks and the like, will also contribute to towards ‘big data’ progress. Organisations are beginning to recognise the importance of storing and processing the growing amount of data they retain and also mining this data for commercial benefit. In turn, this is leading to a growth in data centres, due to the increasing data storage demands and pressure on companies to appear environmentally pro-active by consolidating and outsourcing their data management requirements.

The NBN in Australia has given an enormous boost to the data centre market, with forwardlooking investments worth $5 billion. Currently the developments are highly centralised in the capital cities, but a more decentralised trend is expected to develop over time. There is also no doubt that on the back of New Zealand’s UFB similar developments will happen there.

Cloud computing deployment and development is accelerating beyond expectations as the true potential of this technology reveals itself. It has become one of the fastest growing areas for the IT sector. In developed economies cloud computing solutions are now being adopted by over 80 percent of enterprises and government institutions. Similar developments can be seen in the consumer market, with services offered by the digital media companies.

For enterprises, the development of cloud computing takes the form of a business transition, and company strategies and policies need to be changed before its potential can be monetised by businesses. A key factor here is that organisations will have to lift ICT from the level of an infrastructure issue to that of a business opportunity. Cloud computing is a concept, not a technology and will need to be seen as a valuable business tool – one that will differentiate companies from their competitors.

Cloud security and privacy are issues which require scrutiny and there are growing concerns about data ‘ownership’. The enormous financial benefits of cloud computing will, however, see these concerns being overcome, along with the right standardisations and infrastructure put in place.

But to successfully implement cloud computing far more robust infrastructure is required than what is currently available. The NBN and UFB will provide the robust infrastructure needed for high-speed information processing, distributed computing, as well as many other applications that can be processed, analysed and managed – all in real time over a cloud-computer-based IT platform. Security will be crucial and far more attention needs to be given to ensure that these new large-scale developments are properly protected. This is of national importance.

ABOUT PAUL BUDDE//Paul Budde

Paul Budde is the CEO of BuddeComm, an independent research and consultancy company, focusing on the telco market. Its research encompasses 190 countries, 500 companies and 200 discrete technologies and applications. Paul is also the special advisor to the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

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