Big Data Outlook in Africa

Telecommunications providers will play an increasingly important role in the provision of Big Data solutions in Africa

Companies & Markets

29.07.2014 14:07:01 - Big Data Outlook in Africa - a new market research report on

( - Data collection is not a new concept for companies- most of them already employ some form of data analytics in their day-to-day operations. However, the quantity of data that is now accessible to companies has led to new ways of collection, analysis, and storage. The core feature of Big Data solutions is the ability to process large and unwieldy amounts


of information in a meaningful manner, which existing relational database systems are not able to do. In addition, the growth of unstructured data presents new challenges to existing database management systems.

The 3 Vs -- variety, velocity, and volume -- have typically characterised Big Data; however, as tools have become more sophisticated, additional characteristics have arisen, also demanding resolution. Big Data is inextricably linked to 2 other technological trends, mobility and cloud, and ultimately, it is the combination of the 3 that will have the greatest impact. The Big Data value chain consists of data collection, data management, data processing, and end-user applications.

Thus far in Africa, the focus has been on data collection and data management, which together form the enabling platform for Big Data solutions. Technology advancements are being witnessed at each stage of the Big Data value chain, notably in terms of the proliferation of sensors and other connected devices. The ease of adoption of various analytics platforms is also contributing to the emergence of Big Data solutions. The absence of the appropriate infrastructure, the lack of relevant skills and knowledge, and problems arising from the integration of various disparate systems, are the key challenges in the market.

Other challenges stem from the lack of market education, the difficulties associated with quantifying the benefits of additional information, and the lack of standardisation of Big Data services. For most companies, the starting point for an integrated Big Data solution is a complete map of all possible data sources. The benefits accrued from Big Data solutions arise either from improved operational efficiencies or new business opportunities. Operational enhancements include reduced storage costs, predictive maintenance, enhanced communication, self-regulating systems, faster response times, improved utilisation of resources, and increased customer intelligence.

New business opportunities are usually industry-specific and examples are evident in a range of industries and locations across Africa. Telecommunications providers will play an increasingly important role in the provision of Big Data solutions; industry-specific solutions will also emerge over the next few years, Big Data solutions provide the ability to process database systems that were previously considered too large or unwieldy to derive any benefit. The significance of Big Data is that new ways of collecting, analysing, and storing data create opportunities to utilise information more effectively. Big Data is driven by the explosion in data quantity and the emergence of unstructured data, which is in contrast to the more easily analysed structured data. A third category, semi-structured data, is defined as not conforming to traditional database structures but exhibiting tags or other markers that assist analysis.

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