Catalonia leads Europe’s big data

Article published at Diari Ara, June 3rd, 2016

With over 50 organisations and data mining centres, Barcelona beats cities such as London

The big data boom as a key tool for business growth and development in several sectors is skyrocketing in Catalonia. The map drawn by the European Commission shows that Catalonia is one of the European regions with the highest concentration of companies and institutions working with big data. To be precise, there are 57 such initiatives in Catalonia, 50 of which are located in Barcelona, a figure which exceeds London’s (48), Brussels’ (55) and Madrid’s (42).

The Commission has unveiled these figures as part of the Data Landscape initiative, which aims to measure every agent involved in the data-based economy. That’s why the map includes both firms whose business is entirely based on services or selling information from big data mining, as well as research centres, public institutions and other subservient companies who depend largely on big data.

It’s worth noting that this is a work in progress; that is, companies and organisations are expected to register with the database of their own accord. For this reason —and considering that the registry is less than one year old— there could well be a larger number of big data companies in capitals such as London which might not have registered yet. Nevertheless, big data expert Bea Domènech —who works in Barcelona’s Big Data Centre for Excellence (a Eurecat and Oracle initiative)— explains that the capital of Catalonia has “a very active community around this sector and is positioning itself as the European leader”. Domènech notes that the ecosystem that has arisen around big data has played a big part in the decision by large multinational firms such as Nestlé, BBVA and Oracle itself to choose Barcelona as the city that will host their own big data centres. “Also, we mustn’t forget that Barcelona hosts international events like the Mobile World Congress, the Sónar music festival, the Smart City Expo and Strata+Hadoop”, she adds.

According to Data Landscape, there are 57 big data firms and organisations in Catalonia, whereas in the rest of Spain there are 42. Most of them are located in and around Barcelona and Madrid.

Read the full article here.

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