Key opportunities for using big data cited

Big data can support over $100 billion worth of opportunities across five Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, as it improves the delivery of government services during coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and speed up the post-pandemic recovery, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

The report, titled Harnessing the Potential of Big Data in Post-Pandemic Southeast Asia, identified key opportunities for using big data in healthcare, social welfare and protection, and education.

These include analyzing Covid-19 activity, supporting vaccine rollout, monitoring noncommunicable diseases, targeting vulnerable populations, and identifying skills gap.

Citing other reports, it said many Southeast Asian countries still experience significant mismatches between skill profiles generated by the education system and those demanded by the market.

This skills gap has widened as the pandemic has significantly accelerated digital transformation among businesses.

In the Philippines, the mismatch between jobs and skills has resulted in unemployment and underemployment among college-educated individuals.

It added that big data can be used to address this skill mismatch through better skills gap identification, career advice, tailored learning, and better job matching, as well as in developing a responsive education system in the long term.

Aside from bridging the existing and emerging skills gap, other main areas of big data applications that can help address challenges posed by the pandemic as well as improve the effectiveness and resilience of the education system in the long term are increasing graduation rates and preventing dropouts, and providing a personalized learning experience for students.

The report said policy enablers crucial to unlocking the full potential of big data in public service delivery are in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, strategic governance, data availability, risk mechanisms, human capital, relevant technology, and data-driven culture.

It said the application of big data requires a strong ICT infrastructure that is capable of collecting, storing, transferring, and processing large amounts of data at extremely faster rates as compared to traditional data systems.

“It is, therefore, necessary to invest in ICT infrastructure, in particular, improving cloud computing capabilities in government to provide a cost-effective and scalable way to store big data and enable efficient cloud-based big data analytics,” it added.

The focus countries in the report are Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.

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