Big Data refers to large amounts of data produced very quickly by a high number of diverse sources. Data can either 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.
Generating value at the different stages of the data value chain will be at the centre of the future knowledge economy. Good use of data can bring opportunities also to more traditional sectors such as transport, health or manufacturing. Improved analytics and processing of data, especially Big Data, will make it possible to:
■ transform Europe’s service industries by generating a wide range of innovative information products and services;
■ increase the productivity of all sectors of the economy through improved business intelligence;
■ better address many of the challenges that face our societies;
■ improve research and speed up innovation;
■ achieve cost reductions through more personalized services
■ increase efficiency in the public sector.
In July 2014, the Commission outlined a new strategy on Big Data, supporting and accelerating the transition towards a data-driven economy in Europe. The data-driven economy will stimulate research and innovation on data while leading to more business opportunities and an increased availability of knowledge and capital, in particular for SMEs, across Europe.