The value of big data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology has been highlighted by a new report that forecast the solutions will add £322 billion to the UK's economy alone over the rest of the decade.
The paper is entitled 'The value of big data and the Internet of Things to the UK economy' and was published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) and SAS. It noted the figure is twice the size of the combined budget for education, healthcare and defence for 2014-15 and more than one-fifth of the UK's net public debt for that financial year.
Big data alone is expected to contribute an average of £40 billion a year to the UK economy between 2015 and 2020, and will be worth around 2.2 per cent of the country's gross domestic product by the end of the forecast period.
Manufacturing will be one of the big winners from this, with the sector expected to see a £57 billion boost between 2015 and 2020 as a direct result of big data. This is expected to be driven by the diversity of firms in the industry and the variety of areas in which efficiency gains can be achieved through the use of big data analytics.
For example, the study suggested it could lead to improvements in supply chain management and enhancements in customer intelligence.
By 2020, two-third of UK business (67 per cent) are expected to have adopted big data solutions, up from 56 per cent last year. The technology will be particularly prevalent in retail banking, with 81 per cent of companies in this sector deploying solutions.
IoT is set for a similar boom, with the adoption rate increasing from 30 per cent in 2015 to 43 per cent by 2020.
Chief executive of Cebr Graham Brough said: "Collecting and storing data is only the beginning. It is the application of analytics that allows the UK to harness the benefits of big data and the IoT. Our research finds that the majority of firms have implemented between one and three big data analytics solutions."
However, he added that the key to success will be not only making sure these tools are extracting maximum insight, but also that firms are able to turn them into business actions.
"IoT is earlier in its lifecycle, and will provide more data for analysis in areas that may be new to analytics, reinforcing the potential benefits to the UK economy," Mr Brough said.
The most common reason given for adopting big data analytic tools was in order to gain better insight into customer behaviour. More than two-fifths (42 per cent) of organisations surveyed stated that they use big data for this purpose.
A similar proportion of businesses (39 per cent) will be turning to IoT solutions in order to cut costs and gain insight into operational data, the report continued.