Last week, the Department of the Taoiseach hosted the Data Summit in the Convention Centre, Dublin. It was a day of firsts as it was also the first public event that Leo Varadkar, our new Taoiseach spoke at since being appointed.
The Data Summit Dublin provided a unique opportunity to hear leading international, European and Irish speakers debate the social, technical, ethical and cultural issues that arise in the context of our world of total connectivity, from discussions on the future of privacy and trust in the digital age to how consumers could manage their own privacy in an online world.
It has been a busy two days with over 1,000 attendees with a lot of interesting events and talks ranging from the address from the Data Commissioner, Helen Dixon, to discussions with Stuart A Baker the ex-head of the NSA to John Frank, the VP of EU Government Affairs for Microsoft.
Here are our five top observations from the two days:
- Data is going to be more valuable than money – data will drive change on an unprecedented scale. It will be the bed rock of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and will see a fundamental change to how we live and work and will be an intrinsic part of our society from AI, Blockchain to driverless cars.
- The data conversation needs to be broadened beyond just technology. The Taoiseach talked about how data can be used to deliver more efficient services, provide more targeted and cost effective health care, and build smart cities. However, public services, in particular, health are not well developed when it comes to making the most of data.
- Digital Transformation is coming – but are we prepared? Recent research by Microsoft revealed that Irish organisations have less than two years to digitally transform to access a new digital economy. But a brand new IEDR (IE Domain Registry) report showed that 68% of Irish SMEs do not feel the need to have an online presence (even though half of them acknowledge they need to be online).
- Ireland is well placed to become the EU data capital – Ireland has impressive cluster of leading data rich companies serving Europe from Ireland; from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Airbnb, with many investing in substantial data centre infrastructure around the Island.
Overall Irish organisations need to become more aware of the practical steps needed to become more data compliant and make the most of the data they already have. GDPR is casting a big shadow and the Data Commissioner has launched GDPR and You to help consumers become better aware. But the onus is on Irish organisations to understand what steps they need to take on the road to GDPR compliance.
Mike Ross is the Commercial Director of Wizuda and former Ireland and Leinster Rugby professional.