Big Data has giant potential for Northern Ireland business

Big Data 1Dr Stephen McKeown, CEO Analytics Engines, looks forward to bringing Big Data Week to Belfast – a Titanic global platform for data technologies.

Businesses in Northern Ireland are encountering the term ‘big data’ ever more frequently. For clarity, ‘big data’ simply describes any collection of data too large and complex for conventional databases to analyse efficiently. The result is that you have to adapt and apply new approaches to accommodate this, but for companies which exploit it correctly ‘big data’ insights can prove transformative.

Big data provides new commercial opportunities in terms of not only the sheer volume of data that can be handled but the speed at which that can be achieved. Large data sets with many different types of information are a goldmine of information, making it easier to spot trends, find correlations and assess the quality of research. What makes this technology so important today is that it has many real world applications in everything from finance and health diagnostics, through to product development and advertising.

Commercially, the ‘big data’ industry is growing six times faster than the overall IT market and is forecast to reach $16.4billion this year. The way in which we use, exchange and analyse information presents tremendous opportunities for businesses based in Northern Ireland.

Our business community can meet the challenges presented through ‘big data’ by promoting, sharing, even demystifying the technologies and practices involved. And next week’s Big Data Week event series is designed to facilitate this.

Big Data Week is a global event, simultaneously taking place in 30 cities – enabling the international community to participate in interconnected events and share knowledge. In Belfast, experts from IBM, SAP, Fujitsu, PWC and more will demonstrate how exploiting data more fully can offer deeper insights into markets, consumers, opportunities and challenges.

It’s a major coup that Big Data Week is coming to Belfast at the same time as the Giro di Italia, continuing the close interaction between the disciplines which helped the US women’s cycling team to an Olympic silver medal ( in London 2012. The main conference takes place May 7th at Titanic Belfast and ticket and event details can be found at

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