Big data in Vietnam: the untapped treasure

By Vien Thong   August 27, 2016 | 05:47 pm GMT+7

Enormous data is waiting to be turned into gold in Vietnam.

While giant technology firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon are cashing in on their users' data, Vietnamese companies remain largely oblivious.

“Most Vietnamese companies that have large data sets don't know how to deal with them. It’s essential to set up technological infrastructure and upgrade the system for them to be able to deal with data from mining, collecting to using and taking advantage of it [big data],” Pham Thi Phuong, CEO of Greenhat and VietnamJoy spoke at the recent Big Data Innovation Summit 2016 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Telecommunications, banking, finance and e-commerce are known to posses enormous data and so have huge potential for growth, according to data experts at the event. 

Vietnam has seen some positive signals from leading telecommunications companies like Viettel, Mobifone and VNPT as they have established specialized divisions to exploit data, said Luu Danh Anh Vu, Country Director of Cloud Computing, IBM Vietnam. However, they still have a lot to catch up with the world.

“Data cannot speak for itself, therefore, we have to transform it into a 'talking' form, which can be used and optimized to make a profit,” Vu added.

In the next four years, global digital storage will reach 44 zettabytes (44,000 billion gigabytes), 10 times today's level and a part of that will be operated on the cloud platform, said Shane Rigby, senior consultant of Big Data Week, U.K. The market for hadoop, an open source framework to store and manage big data which can work with huge datasets, is forecast to be valued at $1 billion by 2020, equivalent to annual growth of 58 percent. 

More than half of the country's 90 million people are connected to the internet. Hence, "Vietnam is one of the most promising big data markets in Asia," Rigby added. 

However, Vietnamese firms are still somehow lost and have only made baby steps towards understanding big data. 

The most important thing Vietnamese companies should do now is to incorporate data analytics into everyday operations, Amjad Zaim, one of the world’s top data scientists suggested. Most big companies all over the world are soaked in data. Therefore, fostering data analytics and finding the most suitable tool to analyze data should be their top priority.

However, before Vietnamese companies can start benefiting from big data, Vu suggested they should digitalize it first.

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