Huge opportunities abound for African Service providers in Big Data – Cisco

Peter Ford, Cisco Consulting MD

Africa stands to reap huge benefits from Big Data, that’s the message that was passed at the Cisco Expo South Africa 2013 at Sun City. Africa is not unique in the challenges it faces about big data, the situation is the same the world over. Since 2011, data volume has increased three times, posing a huge headache in data storage and manipulation to process information. Cost reduction has not come out as efficiently as expected. According to Howard Charney, only 0.05% of the world’s available data is being mined for value. Thus the reason the need for Big Data cannot be underscored enough, to unlock the value that lies in unprocessed data. Charney said that technology has a way of bringing people forward in a way nothing else can. Cisco was summing up a research done by Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

Data is the new oil, analytics is the refinery

Big data has the capacity to transform economies, bring efficiency in doing business and improve our interactions as consumers. But it is in its infancy, there is still much to be done about Big Data to explore the great potential it presents to economic growth. Data is the number one most talked about topic amongst CIOs globally surpassing mobility and cloud according to IBSG interviews in the year 2011.

“Big Data is already transforming businesses today and playing an integral role in defining new processes to aid in new innovation. Today, it is not a question of whether Service Providers in Africa should invest, but how far should they go. At a minimum, they can utilize it internally to transform their operations or expand externally to further benefit their customers as a “Network Based Data Intermediary. The ability for Service Providers to move more aggressively into this space may be difficult, but the size of the prize may warrant further investigation. By capitalizing on $200 billion of internal and external value creation, Service Providers can complement their business by becoming an Info Infomediary,” said Peter Ford, Managing Director, Cisco Consulting Services.

Service providers therefore have a very great opportunity to mine in Big Data. They will need to look at ways they can become the preferred service provider by Networks optimization to and leverage Big Data to add their strength on customer focus. Location based data, usage and behavior data, processing and storage tools need to take centre-stage in short term and long term investments by service providers. Bridge Domains introduction will become necessary to enhance provision of increased security of customer data and they will also need to have Data acquisition as priority as well as data use monitoring.

The role Big Data plays is simplifying most tasks of processing information, for example: in healthcare, treatments will be more personal hence easing the process of disease outbreaks detection and monitoring. Data is being collected everywhere and the amount of data being transmitter in a second, with over 6 billion mobile subscriptions, messages sent daily are over 10 billion. This data is being collected but central to this is the network which captures patterns and take action on the processed data.