The next generation of information technology (IT) is an emerging and promising industry. But, what's truly the “next generation of IT”? Is it the next generation mobile networks (NGMN), Internet of Things (IoT), high-performance computing (HPC), or is it something else entirely? Opinions vary widely.

From the academic perspective, the debates, or arguments, over specific and sophisticated technical concepts are merely hype. How so? Let's take a quick look at the essence of information technology reform (IT reform) – digitization. Technically, it is a process that stores “information” that is generated in the real world from the human mind in digital form as “data” into cyberspace. No matter what types of new technologies emerge, the data will stay the same. As the British scholar Viktor Mayer-Schonberger once said [1], it's time to focus on the “I” in the IT reform. “I,” as information, can only be obtained by analyzing data. The challenge we expect to face is the burst of a “data tsunami,” or “data explosion,” so data reform is already underway. The world of “being digital,” as advocated some time ago by Nicholas Negroponte [2], has been gradually transformed to “being in cyberspace.”1

With the “big data wave” touching nearly all human activities, not only are academic circles resolved to change the way of exploring the world as the “fourth paradigm”2 but industrial community is looking forward to enjoying profits from “inexhaustible” data innovations. ...

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