32 Billion Devices Plugged In and Generating Data by 2020

The EMC Digital Universe study today launched its seventh edition. This highly anticipated study always makes a big splash because it focuses industry attention on the incredible growth rates of data. By 2020, the amount of data in our digital universe is expected to grow from 4.4 trillion GB in 2013 to 44 trillion GB.

Some other points from the research that stood out for me include:

  • The number of devices or “things” (tablets, smart phones, clothing, fridges, cars, anything with a sensor) able to connect to the Internet is already approaching 200 billion and 14 billion of those are actually connected to each other. This collection of inter-connected things, commonly referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is surprisingly only a small fraction of the total digital universe. Fast forward to the end of the decade and we are going to see this number grow to 10% as 32 billion devices are plugged in and generating data.
  • Emerging markets will soon overtake the rest of the world in producing the majority of new data on the planet. They’re developing information infrastructure without the legacy trappings inherent in today’s mature economies. As a result, countries like Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia are contributing to the growth of the digital universe at a furious pace. By 2020, the Digital Universe study forecasts that their data will go from 40% to 60% of the total information in circulation.

The intersection of mobile, cloud, big data and social is phenomenal. Often referred to as the Third Platform or the Nexus of Forces, it is a huge driver of data growth in the digital universe. Organizations from many different sectors are taking advantage of this environment and reinventing their business models to become software-defined enterprises – businesses that are able to harness this sheer volume of data to make better, more informed decisions.

Ultimately, the growth of the digital universe means there is an ever increasing pool of valuable data to analyze, which will give rise to new opportunities for organizations to better understand customers, improve overall customer experience and develop new revenue streams. To take full advantage, IT departments may need to hit the restart button on how they think about storing data when it comes to data lakes and hybrid cloud models.

These are truly fascinating times. Technology enables individuals, organizations, and enterprises to scale communications and collaboration worldwide. The more that information is shared and mined, the more valuable it becomes for everyone.

Dive deeper into the 2014 Digital Universe report here.  The depth and breadth of the data-powered world we live in today is already staggering and I am intensely curious about what the world will truly look like in the Digital Universe of 2020.

About the Author: Jonathan Martin