BIG DATA : AMERICA LEADS IN PRIVATE SECTOR, EU FOR PUBLIC DATA.

 
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It should come as little surprise that the world leader in information and communications (ICT) technologies, the United States, is also a pioneer in data storage and analysis. While Silicon Valley in California may be the best known centre with the likes of Facebook, Google and Oracle headquartered there, companies in other regions have carved out niches in specific sectors. For instance, in New York, home to the world's largest stock exchange, there are many firms which focus on analysing financial services-related mega data. In Northern Virginia, firms like Lockheed Martin have data analytics contracts with the US Department of Defence based in Arlington. And Boston, an important centre of academic excellence with institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a big player for health care-related data. Sometimes large ICT firms forge partnerships with academic institutions to develop new analytics technologies, while other times they conduct their own original research.

Given the prime position that the US occupies in this field, what scope is there for Europe to emerge as a leader? There is one area where Europe has an edge over the Americans and that is public sector data. It is much more common in Europe to maintain nationwide databases than in the US where there is still not even a national identity card. Drawing on their nationwide health care systems, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries have, for example, managed to become leaders in developing electronic health records. These...

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