Not convinced about the rise of big data? This stat ought to change your mind.
According to research cited in the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report 2014, 90% of the world's data was generated in the last two years. The remaining 10% was produced throughout the rest of human history.
Obviously, advancing technologies like the rise of mobile phone apps and social media platforms have a large part to play in this sudden explosion of data but the falling cost of storing data in recent years has also had a profound impact.
The WEF describes data as a new form of asset class equivalent to oil or gold. "Today we are seeing a data boom rivaling the Texas oil boom of the 20th century and the San Francisco gold rush of the 1800s," the Global Information Technology Report 2014 states.
Like these vital commodities, data is created, exchanged and traded all over the world.
As such, the growth in cross border data flows -- where information is exchanged online via email, instant messaging or on digital trading platforms that bring buyers and sellers together -- is moving at a rapid pace. In fact, it is growing at a far faster rate than conventionally measured trade in goods and services.
The demand for international bandwidth increased at a compound annual rate of 49% between 2008 and 2012, according to consulting firm TeleGeography, which tracks international data flows, in a 2013 report from the Progressive Policy Institute.
By comparison, the volume of global trade in goods and services rose at an average rate of 2.4% over the same period.
While the world's recent economic difficulties may be reflected in the goods and services figures, the ever more valuable nature of data is clearly demonstrated in the demand for greater bandwidth.
PPI also points to research from the Brookings Institute which states that increased data flows can lead to increased "productivity, innovation and growth" in entirely new hi-tech industries.
The technological framework to move and store this data, across international borders if required, is hence vital.
The market for big data products -- defined as revenue derived from sales of related hardware, software and services to transmit and capture data -- totaled $18.6 billion in 2013, according to the Wikibon Big Data Market and Revenue Forecast 2013 - 2017.
That's more than the annual GDP of some small countries.
It also represents a growth rate of 58% over the previous year, emphasizing the growing focus and capacity of companies, governments and institutions to store the data we create.
And as this graph shows, the industry of data collection and storage that has sprung up in recent years has plenty of room for growth as more of our data is captured.
The rise of mobile has created an entire new industry on the back of the data our smartphones create.
For example the so-called "app economy" -- the business created by software applications like Instagram, Whatsapp or even sports performance widgets like the Nike+ training app running on smartphones -- has created hundreds of thousands of high-tech jobs, according to the WEF.
One 2012 study by the Progressive Policy Unit, meanwhile, calculated that American GDP growth for the first two quarters of 2012 rose by 0.6% when it was adjusted to include the impact of rise in data consumption (which remained unmeasured at that point).