Will the demand for digital infrastructure grow? What are the challenges?
Nowadays, every industry, private individual and laboratory entrusts its development to a connectivity that we all consider essential to the functioning of every apparatus and that many times we take for granted. Changing the way we communicate, work or study, internet has created great opportunities and new challenges alike, mainly regarding the achievement of a sustainable and ever-changing future. In this context, the ICTs have been playing a key role. As such, ICTs and IoT have rightfully become the pillars of the current digital economy and, in turn, of digital infrastructures.
Digital infrastructures bring together and interconnects physical and virtual technologies such as computers, storage, network and other platforms to help businesses and private citizens to better understand changes in market demand and to rapidly adapt products and services and deliver them at scale. By taking advantage of these technologies, digital leaders can efficiently analyse data to gain insights and quickly react to the ever-increasing emerging needs and trends.
Such digital apparatus was already well underway even before the Pandemic; nonetheless, the health emergency has undoubtedly affected the growth and use of these tools. According to the Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), 47% of IT professionals said their organizations had accelerated their digital transformation processes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 60% claimed the pandemic forced them to revise their IT strategy. Moreover, 58% of IT leaders stated interconnection has been a key facilitator of digital transformation, while a 50% of IT leaders think interconnection is key to their business’s survival.
As Observatory on Digital Communication affiliated with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, OCCAM has been restlessly working on the promotion of digital infrastructures, their accessibility, application and security. At the XXI Infopoverty World Conference, an annual UN Flagship event, experts from different countries met and discussed about the importance of the overall apparatus and its operational functioning. In particular,
“To talk about digital dissemination, we need infrastructure to provide certain services. There is a need for us to bridge the device gaps in terms of how can we encourage equipment manufacturers to come up with low price devices that could be used in rural communities, primary schools and in the secondary schools, granting them access to the internet.”
(Tony Ojobo, XXI Infopoverty World Conference)
We know the digital revolution that is underway is affecting every aspect of our life, allowing us to receive information and knowledge at an ever-higher speed through fibre optic cables for instance. In such context, digital infrastructures have an impact not only on our individual lives, but also on the structure of society itself, guaranteeing easier and safer access to healthcare, education and banks, making our transactions reliable and traceable.
The benefits and developing prospects of these technologies are clear and include various aspects such as connection of people and places, improvement of productivity, increase of economic growth and improvement of sustainability. However, on the other side of the medal is the need of urgent investments for the establishment and the maintenance of such connectivity, one with shorter equipment lifecycles and operators’ stagnant revenues.