Why Data Is The Most Valuable Asset On Earth? #11

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The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2025, there’ll be 175 Zettabytes of data in the world.

 

If you didn’t know what a Zettabyte is; don’t worry, neither did I. After a quick Google, turns out it’s 175 followed by 21 zero “bytes” or 1 Zettabyte = 1 trillion Gigabytes.

 

Another earth-shattering fact is that data is the most valuable asset on earth.

In this week’s blog, I want to share the 3 main reasons why data is the most valuable asset:

#1 Data Is Knowledge & Knowledge Is Power

 

#2 Data Is Making The World A Different Place

 

#3 Data Is Being Monetised On a Large Scale

 

Let’s dive into each of these:

#1 Data Is Knowledge & Knowledge Is Power

Much can be said about this point. The most valuable companies in the world today are the ones that leverage the most amount of data.

 

Connecting data, of all your “likes” on Facebook or your “search” habits on Google, is literally their business model.

 

With the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) a decade ago, smart home appliances and gadgets have added to the available data.

 

Much like oil, data is a useless untapped resource, unless some insights are derived from it.

If knowledge is power, then in this digital age, there’s no greater source of knowledge than data.....💭

However, when insights are driven from this data, it leads to the most amazing finds:

 

  • IoT sensor data on aircraft engines, which helps mechanics monitor wear and tear.
  • Collection of search or discussion data allows Google and Twitter to develop trends.
  • Using the collection of data from Amazon purchases or watch data from YouTube, the user is suggested things they’d be interested in.

We see these things daily but how many of us stop and think, that without data none of this would be possible.

 

The collection, storage, processing, analysing and insights deriving of data is a multi-trillion-dollar industry. Many players in the market offering services to make the decision-making process easy.

 

If knowledge is power, then in this digital age, there’s no greater source of knowledge than data.

#2 Data Is Making The World A Different Place

I could’ve said that data is making the world a better place. But that’d mean ignoring the misuse of data, remember the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal.

 

The world today is very different to how it was 20 years ago. 90%+ of the data that currently exists, has only been created in the last few years.

 

There are rapid changes in technology and innovation in this digital age and the usage of data and its ethical limits are being questioned.

 

If we can use data to predict the next aircraft crash for example; we can also use data to manipulate people’s emotions.

 

This is why data is so powerful and dangerous at the same time. Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are trying to put the individual behind the data in the driving seat – with stricter consent laws. However, data is a beast that needs a more radical solution.

 

Many people still don’t understand the value of their data and would happily hand over personal information like their date of birth on a website in return for vouchers.

 

Whilst people don’t value their own data, an organisation values the data you share with them significantly.

#3 Data Is Being Monetised On a Large Scale

Data monetisation is an old term. It’s where companies such as Royal Mail have been selling UK address data information to organisations to help them locate their customers’ address.

 

But hopefully, you’ll have learnt from this blog that there are many different kinds of data that are more impacting on everyday users’ life.

 

And data such as location tracking, searches, buying and travelling habits make them very profitable for advertisers and companies alike.

 

Also, data for an individual user may not be as interesting, in comparison to data of a group of people with similar behavioural traits.

 

The larger the group of individuals, the higher the chance of a lead or a conversion. And the more data the company has available, the easier to target the adverts to the audience.

 

Imagine pre-covid, you were commuting to work, and your location-based tracking data is shared with an advertiser, with data of your shopping habits. Wherever your car is likely to hit traffic with a digital advertising board available; there is a likelihood that the advert would be tailored to you.

 

Read the last paragraph again! And tell me this isn’t changing the world we live in?

 

On the other hand, the same data can be used by Google Maps to redirect you to an alternative route to avoid traffic. The same data can be used over time by the local authorities in planning their next new routes to avoid traffic pinch points.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we‘ve learnt that organisation’s have more data about users than users realise. Connecting the data in a positive way can help to improve our lives. Whereas misuse of data could lead to harmful effects for the user. Data is being bought and sold for various use cases.

 

Improving data literacy across the general population is important to understand the extent of data usage and make people aware of what they should share online. Nonetheless, data is deemed to be the most valuable asset on earth.

 

If you’re still reading this, I hope you’ve found some value in this blog post.

 

If you’d like to be kept informed of more content like this, subscribe to my newsletter.

 

Feel free to reach out to my email [email protected], if you have some feedback or just want to say hello!

 

So, do you believe that data is the most valuable asset?

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Hanzala Qureshi

Hanzala Qureshi

I’m a digital consultant at a leading consultancy firm. I mostly spend my life working on complex data projects. On this website I document my journey in consulting and thoughts on data & emerging technologies.

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