MARKET | Sep 9, 2016

Between rights and business: the development of Big Data

Some insights from "TLC 2025", a forecast scenario on the future of Telecommunications in Italy.

TLC 2025 has just completed its first operational stage: from May to July there were three one-day seminars with 10 managers around the table. Their work has brought about a forecast scenario on the future of Telecommunications in Italy, with a look towards 2025. The project, sponsored by the Engineering Group, will have its second stage in the Fall: publication of a book (which Ingenium is anticipating some of its content, starting in this issue) and a number of public presentations, around Italy, to stimulate debate among the professionals of the sector as much as possible.

We will talk more and more about Big Data, in future years. We will do so because increasingly visible policy discussions will take place around the development of our possibilities to produce, collect, process and use data that can be used in decisions. However, we will also do so because the “value” that can be taken from the data is a largely still unexplored mine: whether this value can be given to the managers, so that it is turned into money, or whether we want to make public decision-makers in the condition of being able to improve the collective’s well-being.

Convenience and freedom. On the one hand, a conflict will be fought – which institutional figures and large private companies will dominate – about technological progress, economic convenience, individual rights and freedom. Current governance of personal information will be heavily discussed in the future, in order to restore the capacity to control to the data owners, a control currently held by the service providers, who obtain value from the data. Adopting a control logic about the allocation of one’s own data (e.g. The one proposed in the project “Ubiquitous Commons”) is a change of scenario that can make the difference between one country and another.

Guarantee, value, competition. From here to 2025, the European regulator will intervene on  several aspects:

  • The guarantees offered to people to control the holding and use of data that concerns them
  • the possibility of Big Data holders to establish contractual conditions for the commercial use of the data
  • Competition between the holders of data and other players.

Data Driven Administration. In future years, the Public Administration will also get ready to make the process of acquiring and organizing raw data that it possesses a recurring one, and to therefore extract the “value”, using it to develop models aimed at creating decision-making policies and tools based on the actual observance of reality. By progressing into digitalization of its own work and own relations with the public, the Public Administration will have an increasing amount and variety of data, that it will use more and more: the data gathered by institutes such as ISTAT, data from their own departments and services that it provides, data from electronic invoicing, etc.

New convergence. As it will represent a matter of personal rights and administration quality, Big Data will be a line of growing business in Italy too, in which Telecommunications will play a decisive role. In fact, in future years, the development of TLC will combine increasingly with the increase and diffusion of Data Science. A totally new  and increasingly powerful range of marketing tools will emerge from this convergence.

Worn information. The information gathered by large companies that increasingly base their own business on data that will come more and more from our houses, from “smart devices”, from our ever-more intelligent and hyper-connected cars and from the items we will wear (wearable technology). The volume of data produced by social networks, intelligent sensor networks (on which smart cities are founded) and by company information system logs will also increase, added to by the output of the constant knowledge digitalization process.

The profilers’ moment. The IoT will exponentially increase the number and variety of data gathered about our “always on” life, further perfecting our “consumer profiles”. Also, it will provide material goods manufacturers with detailed, rapid information about the obsolescence of products owned by potential customers and therefore with the possibility of intervening with targeted direct marketing technique, rather than “cascade”, as often happens today, with the considerable advantage of reducing the nuisance that these techniques can often cause.

Hidden resistance. The spreading of the use of Big Data, will not be without obstacles, however. In addition to the matters of privacy, it must be considered that several of the main advantages in digital transformation (traceability, digital identity, process sharing, e-payment, etc.), for that large range of Italian economic operators that work, wholly or partly, in the world of the hidden economy will be problems to be avoided. The stronger the resistance by this part of the economy, the slower digitalization will make progress and therefore also the production of information about people and things will be slower.

Stefano Palumbo

Following are the 10 Managers participating the seminars: Gian Paolo Balboni (Tim), Alessandro Casacchia (Agid), Andrea Casalegno (Top-Ix), Gianni Dominici (Forum PA), Paolo Nuti (Mc Link), Fabio Panunzi (Linkem), Francesco Pirro (Agid), Giovanni Sabadini (Engineering), Roberto Vicentini (Engineering), Ezio Zerbini (Ericsson).