In the early weeks of coronavirus, all eyes were on how Switzerland’s authorities responded to Covid-19. Several months on and the effects of the virus can now be identified, including how the outbreak has impacted big data.
As the name suggests, big data refers to large collections of information which grow exponentially and are therefore too complex to be stored and processed by traditional software. The term combines both structured – credit card numbers, product names and transaction information - and unstructured data – email messages, video files and imagery – illustrating exactly why big data just keeps getting bigger. Here’s how Covid-19 has boosted the amount of information we generate and accelerated the adoption of big data.
Covid-19 has pushed digitisation in all
In 2018, the global big data market was valued at $23.1 billion and it’s predicted to skyrocket up to $79.5 billion by 2024 – which is a CAGR of 25.4%. Covid-19 has amplified this growth by encouraging innovation across the entire digital ecosystem, from big data and AI to cloud computing and IoT. In retail, companies have embraced technology in order to remain relevant and heard by consumers, while the traditional courts have felt the pressure to adopt modern practices - storing evidence in the cloud - to protect the justice system. Just as blockchain technology has enabled the digitisation of the commodities market, big data has facilitated the digitisation of various industries during Covid-19 and even supported growth for the ecommerce market.
More data is being generated than ever before
Before the lockdown, when supermarkets, hospitals and car garages were open, people could have as little interaction with digital technologies as they liked. But when social distancing measures were brought in many people were forced to rely on technology to get food to their homes and interact with their doctors online. In every corner of the globe, more people have become reliant on the internet for the most basic of tasks and this has generated an exorbitant amount of data.
The spike in digital interactions is also a result of the increased leisure time people now have. Experts predicted that by 2020 the amount of data generated each second would amount to 1.7MB per person, meaning that each day it would hit a staggering 146,880MB. When this prediction was made, there were 1.25 bitcoins and 3,877,140 Google searches generated each minute, all of which contributed to the growing stocks of big data. Now, with more people spending time online and searching for ways to remain productive in lockdown or information about coronavirus symptoms, the data collections are burgeoning.
How big data will help in the fight against Covid-19
Since the beginning of the pandemic, big data analytics have helped technology professionals provide the healthcare industry and governments with insight into the virus and has enabled app developers to create contact tracing technology that was essential to track the spread. Switzerland was the first country to release a virus tracking app and their swift response has been a large contributor to keeping the infection rate low.
The potential of big data analytics goes beyond tracking coronavirus. The past few months have demonstrated how the sophisticated technology can prove useful right from the point of screening and diagnosing the virus in the early stages, up until developing treatments.
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