Brace Yourselves: Soon, One-Third of the World Will Be Real-Time

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IDC and Seagate say to expect 30% of the world’s flow of data to be real-time in the next 6 years. Are we ready for that?

At least 30% of the world’s data will be flowing through enterprises in real-time within the next six years. This means close to one-third of the global “datasphere,” projected to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025, will be in real-time mode. It’s not just machines that are driving real-time data. Incredibly, by 2025, “every connected person in the world on average will have a digital data engagement over 4,900 times per day – that’s about one digital interaction every 18 seconds.”

These projections, published in a recent report from IDC and Seagate Technology, identifies much of this growth coming out of the financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and media/entertainment sectors. This expansion of real-time data is an essential ingredient to the growth of digital capabilities, the report’s authors state.

The study’s authors also conclude that almost half (49%) of the world’s stored data could reside in public cloud environments by 2025. This shift is the result of the proliferation of IoT sensors that are constantly capturing, recording, and analyzing data in business environments. In addition, the study finds, endpoints continue to be the primary location for data creation in the short term, the fastest growth is forecasted to happen at the core and the edge, with more data stored in the core than in the world’s endpoints by 2025.

See also: Managing a real-time recovery in a major cloud outage

Demand for real-time data is coming from many quarters. “Consumers are addicted to data, and more of it in real-time,” the report’s authors state. “As companies increase the digitization of their business and drive consistent and better customer experiences, consumers are embracing these personalized real-time engagements and resetting their expectations for data delivery. As their digital world overlaps with their physical realities, they expect to access products and services wherever they are, over whatever connection they have, and on any device. They want data in the moment, on the go, and personalized. This places greater demand on both the edge and the core to be able to produce the precise data consumers require, often in real-time.”

Today, more than 5 billion consumers interact with data every day – by 2025, that number will be 6 billion, or 75% of the world’s population, the study notes. In addition, IDC forecasts that more than 150 billion devices will be connected across the globe by 2025, most of which will be creating data in real time. “For example, automated machines on a manufacturing floor rely on real-time data for process control and improvement. Real-time data represents 15% of the Datasphere in 2017, and nearly 30% by 2025.”

Enterprises must rise to the data guardianship challenge, the report’s authors add. “As data is shifting from a consumer-centric model to an enterprise-centric model, this increases the burden on enterprises to provide an excellent experience. As consumers become more demanding of the experience in their digital lives, companies must ensure that they are providing data and services that are real-time, on the go via any network, and are personalized.”

The study’s authors also urge greater Investments in the edge to prepare foe this real-time era. “Intelligent data is being sought to drive our businesses and lives in real time and on-the-go. Many times, data has no time to travel from an endpoint to the core and back when informing real-time decisions. The enterprise edge helps to bridge this gap. Whether taking on data analytics or simply storing analyzed and intelligent data, the edge will play an increasing role in enabling a real-time world.”

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About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights' Industry Insights Editor in charge of contributed case studies. He is a regular contributor to Forbes on digital, cloud and Big Data topics. He served on the organizing committee for the recent IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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