Europe must lead the "gold rush" for big data to ensure it can reap potential economic and social benefits, according to European digital chief Neelie Kroes.
Kroes said that while huge data sets present clear challenges around privacy and security, Europe must not shy away from them.
“You can react in two ways. One is to throw up your hands and surrender. To give up and put big data in the box marked ‘too difficult’,” she said in a speech on Wednesday at the European Data Forum in Athens.
“Alternatively, you can decide that we are going to master big data – and master all its dependencies, requirements and implications, including cloud and other infrastructures, Internet of Things technologies as well as privacy and security.”
Kroes said the market must come together to ensure it recognises these challenges and tackles them head on, and reiterated the European Commission's promise to make cash available for projects working with big data and the cloud.
“Let's tackle the obstacles, from standards and certification, trust and security, to ownership and copyright. With the right skills, so our workforce can seize this opportunity,” she said.
“With new partnerships, getting all the right players together. And investing in research and innovation. Over the next two years, we are putting €90m on the table for big data and €125m for the cloud.”
Kroes said this work would help revolutionise numerous industries. "Transforming healthcare, using data to develop new drugs, and save lives. Greener cities with fewer traffic jams, and smarter use of public money," she said.
"A business boost: like retailers who communicate smarter with customers, for more personalisation, more productivity, a better bottom line."
Big data use is growing in all areas of the tech sector and within numerous firms. The Lotus F1 Team told V3 recently about its use of analytics on growing data sets to improve car performance.
However, as noted by Kroes, security and governance concerns are posing problems, even as big data starts to enter the mainstream.
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