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Digital universe to grow tenfold by 2020

Amount of data and digital information growing with Internet of Things

Digital universe to grow tenfold by 2020
The total volume of digital data is increasing rapidly due to smart devices and the Internet of Things.

The ‘internet of things' is dramatically adding to the total volume of data and digital information in the world, according to research conducted by IDC for EMC's seventh Digital Universe study, resulting in a predicted ten-fold increase in data between 2013 and 2020.

The Digital Universe study quantifies and forecasts the amount of data produced annually, and IDC says that volumes of data will increase from 4.4 trillion gigabytes in 2103 to 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020.

As a rough guide to the volume of data, the study says that today, the average household creates enough data to fill 65 iPhones (32gb) per year, but by 2020 this will have grown to 318 iPhones per year.

The increasing number of connected smart devices, sensors and so on is adding to that data. According to IDC the number of devices or things that can be connected to the Internet is approaching 200 billion today, with 7% (or 14 billion) already connected to and communicating over the Internet. The data from these connected devices represents 2% of the world's data today. IDC now forecasts that, by 2020, the number of connected devices will grow to 32 billion - representing 10% of the world's data.

Vernon Turner, senior vice president, IDC, commented: "The Digital Universe and The Internet of Things go hand in hand. As sensors become connected to the Internet, the data that they generate becomes increasingly important to every aspect of business, transforming old industries into new relevant entities.  Traditional storage services will be elevated to new levels of resiliency and tolerance to support the Digital Universe, which can only be guaranteed in a software-defined environment."

The increase in data from smart devices and sensor is also increasing the amount of meaningful data, namely data that can be analysed and used for a purpose. In 2013, only 22% of the information in the digital universe was considered useful data, but less than 5% of the useful data was actually analyzed - leaving a massive amount of data lost as dark matter in the digital universe. By 2020, more than 35% of all data could be considered useful data, thanks to the growth of data from the Internet of Things, but it will be up to businesses to put this data to use.

Jeremy Burton, president of Products and Marketing, EMC Information Infrastructure added: "As more and more businesses capitalize on the social and mobile phenomenon, the enormity and potential of the digital universe grows, and businesses are presented with greater opportunities to analyze new streams of data and gain more value from the data they already have. Simply put - companies of all types are shape shifting into software-defined enterprises right before our eyes. While the potential is massive, the implications are equally daunting.  IT departments must press the restart button to find new ways to innovate around existing infrastructure while positioning themselves to dive into a future of third platform computing."

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