If you have been following the market research summaries and news that I curate for my Broadband Nation Update list, then you will have noticed a common theme in the commentary – the global movement to deploy Next-Generation Networks has accelerated in recent months.
Perhaps the narrative crescendo will peak next week at the ITU Telecom World 2011 event in Geneva, Switzerland. The focal point for the conference is to Connect the World. One of the features of this year’s event is the “National Pavilion” showcase.
Why would a country promote their region’s talent, technology and innovation at the show? It’s intended to help attract international investment, and thereby build upon a local digital economy ecosystem as a foundation to create new jobs.
The Connected Nation: Driving Change and Growth
Growing nations face the challenge of competing successfully in the global networked economy while meeting the immediate demands of their citizens for improved standards of living. And, in a global economy that is increasingly driven by the Internet, technology has a critical role to play in accelerating the economic success that feeds a better way of life.
Nations that have invested in a national infrastructure, with ubiquitous broadband penetration and ready access to information and communication technology (ICT), have been able to compete better in the global marketplace — while also raising the standard of living at home.
The Cisco concept of the “Connected Nation” centers on the notion of a national communications info-structure. It is concerned with connecting citizens, government, and businesses — enabling knowledge economies; providing better quality of life services; and supporting the flow of commerce.
Within the Connected Nation concept are key areas of focus that contribute to the success of the strategy. They include specialist sectors, such as health, education, and government, but also encompass the idea of Smart+ Connected Communities — which deliver and manage the power of the info-structure within a pre-defined geographic, economic, or residential zone.
This, in turn, helps the Connected SMB by empowering small and medium-sized businesses that are the engines of economic growth and entrepreneurship. Formulating a Connected Nation strategy is the first step to building a knowledge-based society, delivering universal, excellent services across a dependable infrastructure, and driving economic success towards a better way of life.
A Connected Nation is one that can harness the power of broadband and ICT to drive sustainable socioeconomic progress. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, both broadband penetration and ICT investment as a percentage of GDP have been shown to have a high correlation to a country’s global competitiveness.
Net impact studies show that governments can improve productivity sevenfold by deploying and managing business processes over the network. If a country can improve its productivity by 5 percent per year, then it could double its standard of living in just four years.
Balancing Challenges with Opportunities
But many emerging nations must overcome the challenges of recurring poverty, overpopulation, a lack of essential skills, and many other issues — before implementing a true Connected Nation strategy. The dilemma always focuses on the trade-off between the demand from all sides for resources and the available budget.
Cisco’s Connected Nation program initiatives were conceived to support the transformation of these countries. They are designed to enable the delivery of an affordable, integrated ICT infrastructure that helps people, communities, small businesses, and organizations connect and collaborate with each other as a unified and coordinated state — one not bound by geography or social hierarchies.
Placing the unmet needs of citizens and businesses at the core, Cisco works hand-in-hand with public and private stakeholders to implement a coordinated info-structure, using ICT and the broadband network as a platform. The Connected Nation concept is designed to help nations move from vision to reality in achieving their development goals.
Learn more about the Connected Nation program by visiting the Cisco IBSG thought leadership catalog. Also, please share your ITU event observations.