Big data creating a new window for the economy

Hiren Pandit

The ongoing 4IR is adding a new dimension to world civilization. The process and potential of this revolution have already been felt widely around the world. Bangladesh is trying to create a skilled workforce suitable for the 4IR. As is well known, the fourth industrial revolution is the fusion of physical, digital, and biological spheres. Here physical is human, biological is nature, and digital is technology.

The big data revolution that we have been witnessing in the last couple of years has changed our ways of doing business. In Bangladesh, the quantity of data generated annually has grown enormously over the last decade due to improved internet capacity and the increasing popularity of internet-based mobile devices. Big data is a buzzword in today’s tech world. It is often used to refer to unstructured data. However, the use of big data is also observed in the case of structured data. The data is of such magnitude that there is no way to use it directly. Big data analysis has become one of the most desired technologies globally in the last couple of years, especially for organizations devoted to data-driven decision-making. There is an ever-increasing amount of data being generated every second that has the potential to transform our corporate and social settings. By appropriately leveraging these data and using the insights it generates, local organizations can refine the process of product development, improve customer retention, or mine through the data to find new business opportunities. The government aims to emphasize the importance of ICTs in improving efficiency and productivity in all industries. To make public services more transparent, big data analytics can be helpful in expanding e-government in all possible sectors, including health, agriculture, transport, education, and poverty reduction.

Big data gained momentum on three fronts–volume, velocity, and variety. An organization can collect data from various sources, including transactions, smart (IoT) devices, industrial equipment, videos, images, audio, social media, etc. With the growth in the IoT, data streams into businesses unprecedentedly and must be handled on time. Data comes in all formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, emails, videos, audios, stock ticker data, and financial transactions.

The importance of big data doesn’t simply revolve around how much data you have. The value lies in how you use it. By taking data from any source and analysing it, you can find answers that streamline resource management, improve operational efficiencies, optimize product development, drive new revenue and growth opportunities, and enable intelligent decision-making. When you combine big data with high-performance analytics, you can accomplish business-related tasks such as: Determining root causes of failures, issues, and defects in near-real-time. We get data from different sources like websites, businesses, or applications. Traffic and street conditions still communicate with the driver, informing the driver by re-routing sensors on everything, including nearby densely populated areas, snow-covered roads, or roads closed for road repairs. Therefore, sensors are helping us to monitor and track data. Cloud-based artificial intelligence will respond to data in real-time on machine or mobile. There is nothing like introducing big data to technology. Giant tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have already developed new big data technologies. Billions upon billions of data are being stored on their servers every day. It takes only a few seconds to find the desired information amid all this information which is only possible due to big data. So much so that we have understood how big data can change our lives overnight, and if you love data, then big data is for you.

Supercomputers are also used for big data analysis. The possibilities with data analytics are endless in Bangladesh. To support the development of emerging technologies, the government passed the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Act. The development of the Kaliakair Hitech Park created the opportunity to train youths who have already received ICT training. The government has formulated and amended many laws for the formation of Digital Bangladesh. Several sections of the 2009 Information and Communication Technology Act were amended in 2013.

Software and IT services made in Bangladesh are being provided to about 80 countries, including America and a number of European nations. Exports have exceeded 1.3 billion dollars. With the completion of 39 high-tech parks and software technology parks, more than 3 lakh people will be employed. One hundred twenty companies have invested Tk. 327 crore in five parks. More than 13,000 IT skilled jobs have been created. To build skilled human resources for the 4IR, 31 specialized high technology labs in IoT, robotics, cyber security have been set up, and various training facilities have been established.

As big data becomes mainstream and increasingly adopted by companies in all industries across the country, the challenges of acquiring and benefiting from the scarce talent pool will become more pertinent. These organizations will soon be relying on the expertise of data scientists to sustain, grow, and outperform their competition. As companies diversify their portfolio and global IT giants enter this market, there will be more need for data scientists and analytics-ready professionals in this field.

The centre has been established to secure the country’s data and ensure uninterrupted quality e-services. It has been constructed at a cost of over Tk. 1,600 crore. Now there is a need for large-scale data storage in the public-private sector. The centre will play a valuable role in implementing all other government information technology interventions. Important data of state-owned banks, birth and death registration, Election Commission, Land Survey Department, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, and A2i project have been brought under the purview of this data centre. In addition, data security is a significant challenge, which could become even more pronounced in the future.

This data centre is aptly called the ‘Heart of Digital Bangladesh’. It was established on 6 acres of land in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech Park, Kaliakair. It is one of the largest data centres in the world with cloud computing and G-Cloud technology, with zero downtime. It has received the Certificate of Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability from the US-based Uptime Institute. They also recognized it as the seventh-largest data centre in the world. Being a four-tier national data centre, you no longer have to go abroad to store data.

On the contrary, foreigners are interested in seeing such a big data centre in digital Bangladesh. Discussions are going on with many organisations. The Oracle method is currently being used in data centres. However, an initiative has been taken to set up G Cloud in the future. With this G Cloud, data can be stored more securely. It can also keep the information of private

This gigantic data centre has 604 high-capacity racks, its own 33/11 kV substation for uninterrupted power connection with 10 MW capacity, generator, high-speed data connectivity, internet connection, state-of-the-art router, switch, firewall, storage server, Various technologies such as intelligent building management system, cyber security system, special software system for cloud, network and security monitoring system.

The writer is a researcher and columnist.

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