Big data is tied to the growth in computing power and is better understood by the four Vs: the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. Big data and the interconnection of data offer numerous opportunities to governments and the private sectors to formulate strategies for development, enhance decision-making, improve service delivery, and support the growth of business and industries. In the Middle East, the government and the business sector were the early adopters of big data analytics, and though this is a new field, its value is being harnessed in various areas in the region. Big data integration is central to the development of infrastructure, relevant knowledge economy, and market orientations, in the Middle East.
To study the dynamics and applications of big data in the Middle East, the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at Georgetown University Qatar, convened a roundtable on “Big Data in the Middle East.” This meeting brought together scholars, experts, and business practitioners to examine the topic through the political and socio-economic lens and study the unique technological opportunities it provides to various sectors of the economy. The research roundtable explored a wide range of topics, including social media, smart cities, refugees, healthcare, and museums.