Changing Environments - Fading Boundaries

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ESA / About Us / Digital Agenda

The world is changing. It is happening faster than ever and is being driven by the digital transformation. The Internet and modern telecommunication has removed the traditional boundaries against communications. Distance is no longer a barrier. People talk via text, voice transmission or video over whole continents as easily as they can have a conversation with someone in the next room.

The Internet has also exponentially sped up the process of information retrieval. It is so convenient that we store not only our work but our entertainment on line. We are conducting our private and social lives with the same reliance on technology as in our work. As a result we are experiencing a fading boundary between our personal and professional lives.

We are living through a landslide of a transition where a data-sparse society is becoming a data-rich one. We have moved into the era of ‘big data’, which can be defined by the three Vs:

 • volume

 • variety

 • velocity (the speed at which it is generated)

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Space has always pushed the boundaries of big data. At ESA, everything we do generates more data – from design and manufacturing, to testing, launch and exploitation provides valuable information. The challenge is to modernise the Agency and turn this torrent of raw data into the most usable information. Prompt analysis means that lessons can be learnt and applied almost immediately by everybody for future scientific, industrial and managerial programmes.

The wind of change is blowing strongly towards a digital transformation and ESA must adapt fully to living and working in a digital world.

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