The future of data — rounded to the next zettabyte

A new study forecasts that the amount of data worldwide will rise tenfold within the next eight years.

The IDC white paper, Data Age 2025, sponsored by Seagate, predicts that data will balloon to a total of 163 zettabytes (yes, that's a thing) by 2025.

For context, 1 zettabyte equals 1,0007 (or 1021) bytes, which is expressed as 1 sextillion bytes or 1,000 exabytes or 1 million petabytes or 1 billion terabytes or 1 trillion gigabytes. Got that? And don't forget to multiply by 163.

This exponential growth indicates that "the decade centered around the conversion of analog data to digital is being replaced by an era focused on the value of data; creating, utilizing, and managing 'life critical' data necessary for the smooth running of daily life for consumers, governments and businesses alike," Seagate said in a press release about the white paper.

Though consumers once generated the bulk of the world's data, enterprises will surpass them to create 60 percent of the world's data in 2025.

Other developments we can expect by that date:

  • the nature of data will evolve from business background to life-critical — nearly 20 percent of all data will be critical to our daily lives. Of this amount, 10 percent will be hypercritical;
  • embedded systems and the Internet of Things will dominate daily life — an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day — or one interaction roughly every 18 seconds;
  • machine learning will change the data landscape— the portion of the global datasphere subject to data analysis will grow by a factor of 50 to 5.2 ZB;
  • data will be truly mobile and real-time— more than one-quarter of data created will be real-time in nature. Of this, 95 percent will be IoT real-time data; and
  • automation and machine-to-machine technologies will shift data creation away from traditional sources — the primary driver of data creation will evolve from entertainment content to productivity-driven and embedded data, as well as nonentertainment images and video such as surveillance and advertising.

Seagate CEO Steve Luczo concluded:

While we can see from this new research that the era of big data is upon us, the value of data is really not in the 'known,' but in the 'unknown' where we are vastly underestimating the potentials today.

 What is really exciting are the analytics, the new businesses, the new thinking and new ecosystems from industries like robotics and machine-to-machine learning, and their profound social and economic impact on our society.

The opportunity for today's enterprises and tomorrow's entrepreneurs to capture the value of data is tremendous, and our global business leaders will be exploring these opportunities for decades to come.


Topics: Biometrics, Data Security, Internet of Things, Retail - Analytics, Technology

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