Every action, every web search, every movement and every economic transaction we make leaves a trace.

Like modern-day explorers, we move around the world and – without realising – spread clues and signs of who we are, what we like and what we do not. And the level of accuracy is second to none. How much do we spend on sushi a week? How many steps have we done today? Do we prefer wool or cotton? We’ve visited Paris twice in a month – are we considering moving there?

This sea of Big Data is able to build up a rock-solid identikit on each one of us. And this network of information is available to be used by the most forward-thinking companies. Anyone who sells products and services can find the answers to their questions in and draw strategic indications from Big Data.

In Italy, this gold mine of information is even more lucrative. In addition to the data produced by its own citizens, the country sees an extraordinary amount of Big Data generated by tourists, who invade the peninsula en masse every year.

In 2016 alone, over 50 million foreign tourists chose Italy as the place to spend their holidays… leaving Big Data in their wake.

It represents an exceptional source of information on the consumer habits of a valuable target market for Italian businesses, which have always had a strong focus on foreign markets.

The data generated by people who spend their holidays in Italy can reveal their tastes, itineraries and preferences, thus allowing companies who operate in the sector – and across all industries – to build up an increasingly personalised commercial offering designed to fit the needs of the tourists.

It is a resource of rare value, given that the personal data of individual people can cost nearly $3,000. This is exactly the reason why the Big Data we gather must be refined and turned into a source of wealth for the country.

So what does Italy need to do to assume a key role and take the helm of the Big Data ship, instead of being ransacked by foreign companies?

It needs solutions that boost the entire data-generation supply chain.

It needs Big Data companies in Italy and marketplaces capable of dealing with the flow of information and transforming it into opportunities and revenues.

And, above all, it needs professionals who specialise in gathering and decoding Big Data. This is the most promising business area in the new millennium, an opportunity to be seized promptly.

The digital world requires experts in algorithms, analyses and understanding the IT panorama – people who can read data and pick out crucial information for companies.

In Europe, the sector is expected to create one million jobs over the next five years, with hundreds of thousands ready to be created in Italy.

It’s an opportunity within an opportunity. Future leaders must seize it now.