Every year, The International Data Corporation (IDC) releases a report on the current and projected state of digital data in the world. The 2014 report was just released.
One notable finding in IDC’s report is that metadata, or information about a “thing”, is the fastest growing subcategory of information. This is mainly due to the “Internet of Things” – wireless transmitters in embedded systems, from accelerometers in smart phones that measure the number of steps you take, sensors in the road to measure traffic, refrigerators that keep track of food inventory, appliances in cars that report driving habits to insurance companies, to biometric sensors in wearable smart devices.
All of this metadata, which made up 22% of the 4.4 trillion gigabytes of data in use in 2013, can be used by companies to measure current trends and predict future developments. In fact, the term “Big Data” refers to the analysis of this metadata. IDC sees this collection of metadata continuing to expand, predicting that metadata will make up 35% of the 44 trillion gigabytes in use in 2020.
What does this mean for litigation? That counsel may need to pay attention to non-traditional forms of evidence as the details may be in the metadata.
The IDC report can be viewed here.