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Middle East Businesses Embrace the Big Data Wave to Transform Economies

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By Ashley Woodbridge, Customer Solutions Architect for Cisco UAE.

Middle East businesses are facing a veritable flood of information as networks bear ever increasing loads with the rise in mobile devices and the cloud.

Big Data is therefore now becoming the focus of today's enterprises - how to capture, manage and analyze it. Huge and growing amounts of information are flooding today's enterprise which is largely due to the increasing number of people, businesses, and devices connected to the Internet.

With the region preparing for major events such as the World Expo in Dubai in 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, that flood is not showing any sign of abating soon.

The Middle East and Africa region alone is projected to post the world's-fastest mobile data traffic growth rate from 2013-2018, and the fastest increase in business IP traffic, according to the Cisco® Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018, organizations that are not prepared for this data deluge risk being swept away.

As the rate of information growth exceeds Moore's Law, the average enterprise in the Middle East will need to manage 50 times more information by the year 2020. Big Data is rapidly creeping up on companies before they realize it, causing huge expense and risk, complexity, and cost.

Smart City initiatives across the Middle East region including major projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE are, without a doubt, going to have an exponential effect on network traffic as data is generated and collected by a wider range of devices than ever before – from embedded traffic sensors to environmental monitoring systems.

How can Middle East businesses best prepare for this Big Data deluge?

There is no doubt that Big Data is one of the big IT discussion points among Middle Eastern businesses. However, it is important for organizations to take a strategic approach to implementing big data:

  • Firstly, organizations need to define what they want to get from the data and the business need it will address.
  • Secondly, they need to define what data they want to collect.
  • Once they have confirmed what data they want to collect, organizations need to figure out how this data will be incorporated back into their business processes. This is a critical part of the process, as the data is useless if it is not used correctly.

Following these three steps, organizations can then start looking at the technology and infrastructure needed to facilitate this data collection.

Data spans multiple domains such as the public internet, organizations' own corporate networks and increasingly the Internet of Everything (IoE). And it's the network that connects these domains and facilitates the data exchange.

The requirements of traditional enterprise data models for application, database, and storage resources, which help make sense of the data flood, have grown over the years. And the cost and complexity of these models have increased along the way to meet the needs of Big Data.

Cisco is already helping Middle East businesses to deploy business intelligence data mining and analytics that will manage and extract value from the Big Data. Middle East enterprises need to emphasize Big Data when deploying new network architectures, hardware, and software.

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