The main theme from the first day was “Big Data” and what it means.

There is definitely more data that telcos have to deal with.  Mark Henderson, President of Ericsson Canada, provided the forecast that mobile data volumes will increase 1000 times by 2020.  Lloyd Switzer of Telus stated that the amount of customer data they have collected went from 6 peta-bytes (that’s a lot!) to 12 peta-bytes in only 2 years.  And they are currently planning for 30 peta-bytes.

But this data offers a tremendous amount of value for those who know how to mine it, and more importantly, analyze it. We heard from Sanjay Kumar from Hortonworks and Rajesh Nambiar from TIBCO about their HADOOP-based solutions for large amounts of data.  And they can show you how to harness that data for your advantage!  This all seems to mean that everything should be under control right?  Well as Ann Cavoukian from Ryerson points out that there are myriad privacy issues around that data, and what you can actually use it for.  But if you want to keep data, you can de-identify it.  There are de-identification protocols.  As she concluded, “Big data are privacy are not mutually exclusive”.

As with many areas of telecommunications, every opportunity to gain a real advantage comes with its own set of pitfalls.