Category Archives: connectivity

Overcoming digital divide – analysis (India)

India FlagIndia’s policies towards digital regulation are inadequate. Future policy-making must be based on economic considerations and evidence, not on myopic political considerations

In 2014, the Narendra Modi-led Government came to power with an objective of ‘minimum Government, maximum governance, aimed at showcasing the country as an investment-friendly destination. Thereafter, on various occasions, the Government announced measures to boost private sector investment in the country. To its credit, several high-level policy decisions, like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code were enacted to improve the business and investment environment. However, the major test for the Modi-led Government is yet to come.

India is on the cusp of laying the foundation stone for the next digital revolution (Industry 4.0). Industry 4.0, synonymous with the digital economy, is expected to contribute one trillion dollar to national output by 2022-23. Given the undeniable potential of the digital economy to contribute outsize growth, it is incumbent on the Government to adopt a delicate, evidence-based approach to put in place an appropriate regulatory architecture that ensures the country reaps full dividends from Industry 4.0.

However, emergent policy recommendations in the past few weeks indicate that the Government is handling the nascent digital economy with a 20th century mindset. These include recommendations of the Committee of Experts, led by Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna, the draft e-commerce ‘policy’ and the draft report of the Working Group on Cloud Computing — the latter two, as reported by the media, amply illustrate the perils of a dated mindset.

For starters, the decision-making process of all the three have remained opaque and had negligible representation from private organisation, let alone investors. Therefore, the final outcome of these groups has been skewed towards one direction, while ignoring the consideration of other stakeholders, in particular investors. For instance, despite highlighting the economic cost and concomitant adverse impact on the start-up ecosystem associated with data localisation in a white paper, the final recommendation of the BN Srikrishna committee endorses the same. Similar provisions for localisation have found their way in Cloud computing recommendations as well as the draft e-commerce policy. It is important to note that storage of data in India would not mean access to that data by local entities. Additionally, such measures can exacerbate cyber-security risks by compelling enterprises to invest in increasing data storage capacity, while apportioning fewer resources to ensure adequate security controls.

Furthermore, voices for protectionism, which are reminiscent of the discourse during the 1991 reforms, are getting louder. Particularly with respect to the draft e-commerce policy, a document, which besides guiding India’s position at the international trade fora, is aimed at promoting the domestic e-commerce ecosystem. This policy will implicate all aspects of the digital economy, and have a key role to play in India’s preparation for the emergent digital revolution.

However, protectionist voices have argued that the Government should formulate different rules for foreign and domestic companies, citing that availability of abundant capital with foreign companies could kill domestic entrepreneurship.

India has come a long way from considering investments as a bail out to solve external payment crises, to recognising that investments bring with them growth and employment, and consequently make a significant contribution to the economy at large. Constant liberalisation of the foreign investment regime in the country is an example of this approach.

Nonetheless, while dealing with digital economy, a constant international best practice which is cited by protectionist voices is that of China. The question to ask is: Can India afford to adopt the Chinese approach? Currently, India’s share in global value chains (GVC) is estimated to be less than two per cent, while China’s share is in double digits. Importantly, China’s peculiar political and economic outlook makes its policies inimitable. For instance, most Chinese players in the digital economy have been supported by state-led investments.

Unlike China, India neither has the economic footprint to deter other countries from taking restrictive reciprocal measures, nor are our entrepreneurs and businesses supported by public sector finance. On the contrary, foreign capital has played a vital role in providing India’s home-grown digital companies like, Ola and Paytm, a global stage. Introducing onerous regulatory conditions and uncertainty could impact the trust of the investors in India as a promising and stable digital market, consequently damaging the image of the country as an investment-friendly destination.

Therefore, it is important that future policy-making is based on economic considerations and on evidence rather than myopic political considerations. Additionally, the need of the hour is to take a nuanced approach with respect to policies which are expected to impact India’s economic aspirations in the coming decade. Given that the 2019 Lok Sabha election are around the corner, the Modi Government will be under pressure to succumb to various protectionist demands. It should take care to avoid such pitfalls if it is to reap economic dividends in its second-term in power which it projects to win.

source: www.dailypioneer.com

Unlocking the value of data key to UK economic growth

The Scottish government has identified data-driven innovation as a key area for potential economic growth, and they plan to invest accordingly. Rachel Aldighieri, MD of the DMA, highlights the need for cross-sector collaboration to discover the true worth of data.

Earlier this month, Theresa May signed the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal with Nicola Sturgeon. Along with other cultural and economic developments, the deal seeks to invest in the fintech, tech and AI sectors, and will ring-fence money to develop data storage and analysis centres in the Scottish capital.

Key commitments include £300m for world-leading data innovation centres; a £25m regional skills programme to support improved career opportunities for disadvantaged groups; and £65m of new funding for housing to unlock strategic development sites.

Over recent years, the Scottish Government has regularly issued support for the tech, data and marketing industries, identifying the central belt as a key area for growth. The value of the digital economy in Scotland was estimated to be £4.45 billion in 2014. Data-driven innovation alone has the potential to deliver £20 billion of productivity benefits for the economy over the next five years.

The prize is an innovative, growing economy.

Advertising and marketing are at the heart of the UK economy and play a vital role in driving economic growth. Annual UK exports of advertising services are worth £4.1 bn and every £1 spent on advertising returns £6 to the economy, resulting in £120bn to UK GDP.

The Scottish government’s recent investment should provide a platform for the rest of the UK to build on – a pilot project that will highlight the potential of the data and marketing industries to continue to drive the post-Brexit British economy.

Marketers need training in data-related skills

The publicity of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal should help to put the data and marketing industries on the radar of those making career choices in the future.

However, the industry needs to develop stronger ties with academic institutions to increase awareness about the skills required for a role within the data-driven industries and provide insights into the career prospects that these positions can offer. DMA Talent runs a series of Creative Data Academies around the UK to provide practical learning opportunities for young talent interested in a career in the data and marketing industry. Working with Scottish universities, we’ll be developing this programme with a long term aim of reaching schools and colleges throughout the UK.

As both the Scottish and UK governments have realised, businesses will need to upskill in areas concerned with data and its value to business. The recent ‘Professional skills census 2018’ from the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) highlights ‘data-related skills’ as a key area with skills gaps that need to be addressed. In a post-GDPR era, marketers are held more accountable for their actions, but they must receive relevant training and guidance to better understand their evolving roles – where processing consumer data and interpreting it are now key areas of their job description.

Developing an ethical framework for processing data The DMA’s ‘Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks’ report highlights that 88% of consumers believe transparency is key to increasing trust in how their data is collected and used. The research also revealed an important change in attitudes is underway, with more than half (51%) of the respondents viewing data as essential to the smooth running of the modern economy, up sharply from 38% in 2012.

Ultimately, consumers want more control over their personal information but the industry can do more to increase consumer trust, define best practice, and safeguard data usage. The DMA Code provides a series of core guiding principles to our membership for processing consumer data and it encourages best practice within the marketing and data industries.

We are working with our members to give businesses a better understanding of the values of data and shape the responsible route forward. However, an ethical framework for processing data that extends beyond our industry will be key if the UK economy is to thrive on the opportunities presented by technological advances.

The government’s development of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will go some way to dealing with the ethical issues raised by rapidly-developing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will encourage discussion and research into how data and AI are used in terms of governance and regulation, but more investment will be required for the rest of the UK to follow Scotland’s lead in seeking data-driven innovation.

It is only by putting the customer first and embedding an ethical approach to business culture that consumers and organisations alike will be able to take full advantage of the data revolution. If we don’t get the balance right between data privacy and data-driven innovation, personal data may be misused by some businesses as technology advances. Technology often shapes an organisation’s customer engagement strategy, but our research has shown that trust will influence how receptive and likely consumers are to use it. A practical, universal framework is needed but this will require investment and cross-industry collaboration.

The department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) works closely with the DMA on championing innovation and evolution in the data and marketing industries, and the DMA welcomes future discussions around how we can develop and implement such a framework.

To propel the discussion forward, the DMA and DMA Scotland will launch a new initiative entitled Value of data.

This work will seek partnerships with government, businesses and educational institutions to develop a consumer-focused mindset within the data and marketing industries.

Led by Chair Firas Khnaisser (Standard Life) and Vice Chair Derek Lennox (Sainsbury’s Bank), Value of data will help businesses to responsibly deliver value to their customers.

The campaign will provide an engaging, navigable roadmap through a challenging ethical and legal landscape to allow innovative and data-led approaches to customer engagement to thrive. And we’ll do it all with a future-focus: nurturing local and young talent.

Ultimately, the Value of data will develop a true appreciation of the worth of data so businesses can build stronger, more profitable relationships with consumers – responsibly, sustainably and ethically.

The DMA are ready to work alongside our membership, the wider marketing industry, and UK Government to make this a reality in the not too distant future.

source: www.thedrum.com

Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) 2018

downloadThe Australian Digital Inclusion Index, powered by Roy Morgan Research, measures the extent of digital inclusion in Australia. Access and affordability can present barriers to digital inclusion, however an individual’s digital engagement is also largely affected by Digital Ability (attitudes, skills and activities), whether a person can see potential benefits of engagement, and motivation and attitude, including concerns about safety and security.

This is a digital inclusion measurement tool (Index) that will help inform and promote public policy and program responses to enhance digital inclusion in Australia.

The key objectives of this initiative are:

  • To improve our understanding of digital inclusion and its relationship to social and economic disadvantage in Australia
  • To raise awareness and focus attention on the social impact of digital inclusion
  • To facilitate consultation, debate and discussion among key cross sectoral digital inclusion stakeholders
  • To inform what business, government and community organisations can do to enhance digital confidence and participation for all Australians.

The Australian Digital Inclusion Index  is not tailored to a particular group or section of the community. It measures the level of digital inclusion of the Australian population as a whole and tracks this over time. Any community in Australia can replicate the index to compare their results against Australia as a whole and if they are able, to do this over time.

source: https://digitalinclusionindex.org.au/ 

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Digital economy plays key role in high-quality growth (China)

chinaChina’s manufacturing industry is aiming to transform itself from “Quantity” to “Quality”. The key strategy is to develop a digital economy, said Li Yizhong, the former minister from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Sunday.

Speaking at the 2018 World Forum on Scientific and Technological Innovation in Beijing,Li said “A digital economy means a deep integration of Information technology (IT) and the manufacturing industry.”

“It is the trend of a global economy as well as a national strategy for a high-quality growth in manufacturing and internet development,’ he added.

Then, how to develop a digital economy?

Li noted that cutting-edge technologies like big data, internet, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) need to be closely integrated with the manufacturing industry to develop new products and business models.

There are three areas where China’s digital economy has developed the most in recent years, Li summarized, firstly, the IT industry has seen a fast growth and contributed 8 percent to the overall GDP growth last year.

Secondly, enterprises have played bigger roles in developing a digital economy. They have realized the significance of the integration between manufacturing and IT. For instance, Alibaba has rolled out an industrial system that integrated the internet and its companies. The IT industry includes telecom manufacturing, communication services, software and the internet industries.

Thirdly, the benchmarks in digitalization have been improved. For example, indoor broadband penetration has reached 86.7 percent while mobile broadband penetration has risen to 86.3 percent, and the internet surfing fee has been reduced by 46.2 percent, which has exceeded the goals set for 2020.

The number of robots used by every 10,000 workers on average has been increased from 23 in 2013 to 50 as of now, which is close to the world’s averages. The patents held by every 10,000 citizens on average have doubled since 2013. Moreover, enterprises hold over 60 percent of the overall patents.

He also pointed out the challenges faced by digital economy developments.

Core technologies are still controlled by other nations. The Chinese economic structure is still at the low-end. There are significant gaps between China and other developed countries in chips, integrated circuits, software, and data processing techniques. Ninety-five percent of high-end chips are from overseas. Therefore, technological innovations are vital for developing a digital economy.

Most enterprises lack awareness when it comes to digital transformation. They need technical assistance and support. Their understandings of how technologies could enhance productivity require further education. Meanwhile, tech companies lack the knowledge of the industrial demands.

Li suggested strengthening the communication and education for digital transformation among enterprises and leading industrial enterprises by collaborating with internet giants to develop new applications.

On the one hand, interdisciplinary talents who have both knowledgeable of technologies like big data and have the industrial expertise are extremely scarce. On the other hand, loads of traditional workers have been laid off. In France, 3 million jobs will disappear because of digitalization. While in the Guiyang hi-tech industrial development area, 42,000 jobs were created by the digital economy and related industries, Li said.

source: http://en.xfafinance.com

Facebook is shaking up its efforts to connect a billion new users to the internet

facebookThere’s changes afoot at Facebook’s wildly ambitious efforts to connect the so-called “next billion” internet users, who are expected to mostly come from emerging markets.

On Friday, the social networking firm revealed that it is bringing all its connectivity efforts together under one umbrella — called, aptly, Facebook Connectivity. It has also hired an executive from wireless firm Ruckus Networks to lead the program, Dan Rabinovitsj.

“Let’s get the next billion people on the internet!” his LinkedIn job description now reads.

The news was first reported by tech news site CNET, which spoke to Yael Maguire, the VP of engineering for Connectivity, about the shakeup.

“There’s no silver bullet for connecting the world,” Maguire told CNET. “There isn’t going to be a magic technology or business plan or single regulatory policy change that’s going to change this. We really believe that it is a wide and diverse set of efforts that’s required to do this.”

Facebook has long harbored ambitions of bringing internet to billions of people across the developing world for the first time — but it hasn’t always gone smoothly.

In June, the company announced it was ditching its plans to build its own giant drones that could beam down wireless internet after Business Insider reported on upheaval at the project. And Free Basics, a service to bring free internet services to people in the developing world, has often been criticized for the appearance of promoting Facebook’s own apps over those of competitors.

Several of Facebook’s existing programs will be rolled under the Connectivity banner, including:

  • Free Basics — a program to provide free access to select internet services to cellphone users in emerging markets.
  • Terragraph — a project to develop high-speed wireless internet for urban environments.
  • Telecom Infra Project — efforts to develop better telecommunications infrastructure, working with other telecom firms.
  • High-Altitude Connectivity — its efforts in the field of high-altitude aerial vehicles (including satellites) that can provide internet, which continue even after the closure of its drone program.

Facebook Connectivity’s website

source: https://www.mysanantonio.com