ICT 2013 was held in Vilnius, Lithuania from November 7th to the 9th. Nearly 5,000 delegates attended in order to discover the latest innovations and trends in ICT, and to gather information about the European Commission’s priorities for its Horizon 2020 research programme. The conference was supplemented by an extensive exhibition and three unique “villages” showcasing cutting-edge local and international technology companies.
A common thread running through the event was the potential societal impact of a data-driven economy. This includes issues such as privacy, surveillance and data protection, as well as positive aspects like improving healthcare, empowering all groups of society and tackling climate change.
The EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, gave a forceful keynote speech describing Big Data as a new “asset class”, as important a pillar of the economy as human resources or financial capital. The effect on productivity, public sector transparency, research and the environment could be transformative. Europe’s cultural and legislative advantages should be used to tackle challenges such as ICT education, the skills gap, barriers to market entry for SMEs and a lack of leadership in the technology sector.
A packed programme of Networking Sessions provided attendees with many opportunities to learn about applications for Big Data technologies. For example, genomic research being led by Valencia University depends on cloud infrastructures and scalable data mining tools to ensure that the right, not just more data is analysed. Other speakers showed how Big Data underpins the success of open data, drives new job creation and speeds up innovation.
The BIG project co-hosted a Networking Session with NESSI (a high-profile pan-European platform to promote innovation in software and services). The theme of the session was research into data value towards Horizon 2020. Data could be the driving force behind economic growth and European competitiveness globally, but work and collaboration are needed to fully understand the potential. Large companies such as Atos, Siemens, SAP and Thales are committed to a joint initiative for data value, recognising that industrial co-operation can drive progress. NESSI launched the Big Data Value Manifesto - a call to action for organisations to shape the future of Big Data.
Nuria de Lama from Atos highlighted the outputs of the BIG project, namely the sector requisites, technical white papers and a consolidated roadmap.