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is so thrilling to see and especially love the speed at which our world is evolving from a technological point of view. What is more exhilarating is that this evolution process can neither be stopped nor slowed down. For some of you, I know that this may seem like a very scary thing to live through, however, such changes need to be embraced as with the use of technology and data we will only improve the quality of life.

2012 has presented us with the first year that this world has actually produced a zettabyte of digital data, this year we have produced almost 2 zettabytes and from an analytical prediction, that value will increase by more than 10 times in only 5 years’ time.

What is a Zettabyte?

Now I know that many of you may not have heard of this term before or are not aware of the value that this term actually represents. In order to offer a better understanding to all of you, I will present the value of a zettabyte in different ways. In order to truly understand the humongous size of a zettabyte, I will be starting by taking a look at the byte which is the smallest size that data comes in.

  • Byte: The main or better said the first data measurement that was introduced was a byte, a byte can be seen as a single character written in word as it is of such a small value.
  • Kilobyte: A kilobyte has a value of 1000 bytes and it can be seen as the data value of an article of around 2000 words.
  • Megabyte: A megabyte has a value of 1,000,000 bytes and it can represent a 3.5-inch floppy disk or in other words a diskette that is obsolete to this day.
  • Gigabyte: A gigabyte has a value of 1,000,000,000 bytes and it can represent a full HD episode of a tv series or in literally other words, 10 meters of shelved books.
  • Terabyte: A terabyte has a value of 1,000,000,000,000 bytes and it can be seen as a whole library of a university. This is the data size that most computers come with these days.
  • Petabyte: A petabyte has a value of 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes and it can be seen as 5 years of EOS data at an average speed(30 megabytes per second).
  • Exabyte: An exabyte has a value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes and I am not sure if there is something in this world to present the amount of data this means, however, a data research performed back in 2015 by MIT has indicated that 5 exabytes would represent all of the words that have been ever spoken by humanity up to that point in time.
  • Zettabyte: A zettabyte has a value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes and it is represented by the yearly amount of digital data produced worldwide.

I am going to stop here as I do not believe that we will soon see a Yottabyte. However, it would be interesting to live until that moment.

To be more specific upon the value represented by a zettabyte, 82% of the data produced every year comes in the form of videos and the time it would take a human being to watch all the videos produced in only 1 year would be of 5,000,000 years. This much data represents an approximation of 1.7 zettabytes.

Cisco Systems

The main company that does focus on such data analytics, as well as data science, is Cisco Systems which is the largest networking company in the world. They are tracking the digital data created on a worldwide scale by looking at each individual IP address and the amount of data it generates.

To no surprise, the USA has been the leader in data creation for many years, however, they are forecasting that China will be taking over in 2020 based on the data analyses conducted by Cisco Systems.

Cisco System 2019 Annual Report (Source: Cisco)

Cisco has also announced that the growth rate is coming to be higher and higher in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific compared to previous years. This change can also be seen as a cause of not only data evolution but actually technological evolution with increased demands.

It has been announced that by 2020 the world is going to be producing 3 times more smart devices than children born in a year. It should not come as a surprise that this evolution requires a high investment. However, technological evolution should present a high level of efficiency.

The only thing we can wonder is what other innovative technological pieces will come to generate sextillions of bytes and a good question that I think we should ask is if we should recycle all this data. Some organizations are already doing that however, they are pretty small and insignificant beside the amount of data MNEs generate.

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