Giving Europe the means to leverage Big Data opportunities

Data have become the new gold. The exponential growth of data generated by people as well as by sensors - combined with concerns arising from users regarding their privacy and their security - require pondering over the opportunities and risks when it comes to services based on extensive data processing. Indeed technological innovation continuously raises new challenges that legislation may struggle to keep up with: it is then perfectly natural that Europe now wonders about how to leverage the potential of the data economy under the best operating conditions.

But there is still a long way to go before having a data-driven economy in Europe. First of all, ensuring that all innovators – and especially innovators based in Europe - can have access to enough data to feed their creativity is essential. This requisite applies on data availability and usability, as well as on interoperability and standardization. This data availability is impacted by legal constraints on data harvesting but also on technical conditions surrounding the free flow of data. Moreover, in order to secure high velocity data processing, local infrastructure (whether for storage capacity, on demand analytics or communications) is essential for the development of a data economy in Europe: no matter how fast networks are, Europe will lose in competitiveness if infrastructures are all located on the other side of the globe.

Telecom operators believe they can fulfill a particular role in the data economy. As they process huge volumes of data in the course of their network operations, they have large-scale solutions for data management and experience in mobilizing resources. They believe they can support data-store projects and act as a multi-industry data-hub across various industries.

In the end, developing the data driven economy in Europe is about creating the appropriate conditions for new business ideas to be prompted, and for potential benefits to reach almost all economic sectors.