EMC World 2015: '30 billion connected devices by 2020'

Over 44 zettabytes of data will be created by seven billion people and 30 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, according to EMC.

Speaking at a keynote speech at EMC World in Las Vegas, the storage firm's CEO of information infrastructure, David Goulden, compared that figure to the 2.8 zettabytes produced in 2012.

One zettabyte is equal to a billion terabytes, while EMC's devices prediction surpasses Gartner's forecast by 5 billion units.

He said that all generations could be categorised by the technology they used, from baby boomers with their Filofaxes and mobiles to "generation Z" with wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

But the point Goulden tried to get across was that all of these generations form what he called the "Information Generation".

He said that the world is transforming into a community of digital citizens that are part of a global network, this meaning that organisations must redefine themselves by adopting a digital mindset.

"We are going forwards and not backwards as more people become comfortable with using cloud, social and mobile," he said.

To meet their needs, businesses need to focus on a number of core areas such as agile innovation, delivering real-time experiences and predicting new ways to serve customers, he added.

EMC is working on delivering products and services based on what he called a "third platform" to help do this.

By helping customers increase growth, manage risk and reduce cost, EMC and its federation companies could help remove CIO pain points that were a result of an arrival of technology in the workplace, the firm claims.

This chimes with what analyst firm IDC identified as the third platform that is built on mobile, cloud, big data and social.

IDC predicted that this would form the new core of market growth in technology, adding that this third platform would account for one third of ICT spending this year.

Goulden said that as a result of the third platform, the security industry would also undergo dramatic change.

"Comparing second platform applications, these were static systems relatively and that's where firewalls and anti-virus software came in as the main solution," he claimed.

"These applications were used within the enterprises and therefore security challenges were more manageable."

But with the third platform, "apps are often connecting all employees, all partners and anybody else who wants to come into the enterprise via a smartphone".

However, third platform firms cannot keep hackers out as easily as earlier, more simple platforms, EMC said, and to overcome these threats businesses would have to adopt big data analytics to find and fight malicious activity on the network.

"The two biggest challenges in security are big data challenges and these are based on intelligence," said Goulden.

"Firstly, how do you securely authenticate people coming onto the network? The second challenge is identifying the anomalies happening in the network in real time."

He pointed out that the number of data breaches happening over the last few years has resulted in many firms deploying analytics products from RSA.

"We are a generation ahead of people at this. Every public breach occurring in recent memory has been at companies using competitors [products]. Many have since moved to RSA."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.