It is no brainer that data is the new fuel of the digital age. Thanks to a multitude of sensors and wireless connectivity, we are surrounded by huge data-generating devices and outlets. Even industries that are on the verge of adopting or have adopted disruptive technologies to be a part of digital signage need data-driven insights for their operations. With the meteoric rise in data, comes the possibilities of using it and so does its role in boosting economy. This implies that while earlier having resources like oil, coal, minerals determined a nation’s economic growth, now the baton is passed to enrich a data economy.
Currently, data economy is still a work in progress. But the main question is, ‘Who will be the winner, in this data revolution?’ It is well known that the USA and China have occupied central status as data-rich nation. However, will either of them emerge victorious once the age of open data takes off? Or will there be another surprise winner? Or worse, will this race further the digital divide? Countries like India, UK, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan are also at the forefront of data innovation.
As data economy becomes imperative to a nation’s growth and future prosperity, steps must be taken to ensure data usage in innovative and effective ways. Moreover, it is crucial to analyze the value of data from different perspectives. This includes the POV of individuals, citizens, enterprises and government. This is essential since, citizens are rightful owners of data, enterprises leverage data to boost their revenue, customer engagement and enhance other business activities. Lastly, the government relies on data to augment its citizens’ quality of life through welfare schemes, data-driven policies, and more. Simultaneously, it is integral for the government to build a strong data infrastructure, have a high regulatory compliance level, develop a data-literate workforce, and upskill citizens with necessary data-skills.
Therefore, a smart well-planned use of data can bring a transformative effect on all sectors of the economy and nurture new opportunities for economic growth. It will also enable authorities to address many societal challenges. For instance, big data tools and artificial intelligence can help data scientists to develop precise models to predict climate change effects and natural disasters. It can even help find cures to deadly diseases, build better diagnostic rules and so on. Data economy can also help create high-quality jobs and enable companies across all sectors to expand successfully and serve their customers. So, it is safe to assume that many early mover nations will begin adopting this data economy model within the next ten years.
Once this gathers momentum, other nations will likely follow the pursuit to remain in the leading list of countries excelling at digital transformation. Soon this may lead to a ‘data-sharing economy’ in the following years. Meanwhile, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic is encouraging many countries to jump the bandwagon in bringing the paradigm shift in embracing the data economy. Also, in the light of these events, emphasis will align on data privacy, data ethics, as well as taking actions to help enterprises lacking data maturity or actionable understanding to use data effectively. At the same time, more and more businesses will be capable of making better post-hoc data-driven decisions.
The World Economic Forum states that the global data economy is pegged at US$3 trillion. However, apart from building methodologies to gauge various nations’ data economy, there are certain problem points that need to be addressed. Like, for instance, who shall own the data? Will income inequalities hold data experts from using their talents and skills? Will there be data monopolies due to geopolitics?
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