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Brussels, 2 July 2014
Making the most of the Data-Driven Economy
What is big data?
"Big data" is large amounts of data produced very quickly by many different sources. It can be created by people or generated by machines, such as sensors gathering climate information, satellite imagery, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, GPS signals, etc. It covers many sectors, from healthcare to transport and energy.
Big data presents great opportunities: it can help us develop new creative products and services, for example apps on mobile phones or business intelligence products for companies.
But big data is also challenging: today's datasets are so huge and complex to process that they require new ideas, tools and infrastructures. It needs also the right legal framework, systems and technical solution in place to ensure that individual privacy is respected and that data is used for good. (MEMO/13/965)
The Commission will use the full range of policy and legal tools, and invest in research and innovation for Europe to make the most of the data-driven economy.
1. Finding and investing in big data ideas
The Commission will invite the data and research communities, (from the health, energy, environment, social sciences and official statistics sectors) to come up with big data lighthouse initiatives.
The Commission is looking for game-shifting ideas in personalised medicine, tracking food from farm to fork; integrated transport and logistics; and others areas which would improve daily life, Europe's competitiveness and our public services. The aim is to make the most of EU investment in strategically important sectors and to attract the public and private support needed.
In parallel, the Commission is getting ready to launch a multi-million euro Public Private Partnership on big data with industry towards the end of this year. Similar PPPs in supercomputing, robotics, 5G and photonics are already transforming research and innovation in those sectors (see MEMO/13/1159). Researchers, academic institutions, investors and representatives of the EU data economy, including not only the large software firms who work with data but also the increasing number of companies whose sectors are data-intensive, such as the health, retail, banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors all presented proposals for a strategic research agenda at the end of June.
2. Infrastructure for a data-driven economy
Researchers, businesses, the public and private sector need access to high-speed broadband, processing power and services to handle billions of bytes of big data, for the data revolution to take hold. The Commission will:
3. Develop the building blocks of big data
The rapid growth of a data-driven economy will also depend on easy access to raw information, skilled data-experts and support for companies taking their first steps in big data. In the coming months the Commission will:
4. Trust and security
The data driven economy will only become a reality if business and individuals have access to flexible cloud computing and have confidence that their data is secure:
See also IP/14/769