This annual report offers a wealth of information on the trends and developments taking place in the digital economy and in the e-government, e-health and tele-education sectors. The report provides analyses of the issues surrounding the development and growth of these services and includes global and national statistics.
Subjects covered include:
The importance of the National Broadband Network (NBN) infrastructure for these sectors;
Key government policies and high level business strategies that need to be develop for a cohesive digital economy
The social and economic benefits of a trans-sector approach to the development of these services;
Digital economy market overview, analyses and statistics
E-government market overview, analyses and statistics;
E-health market overview, analyses and statistics;
Tele-education market overview, analyses and statistics.Researcher:- Paul Budde
Trans-sector policiesThe financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments. Australia had already begun this process and it now finds itself at the forefront of government policy development for the deployment of the new infrastructure (National Broadband Network) that is needed to help stimulate the economy. Open access infrastructure offers the best way forward as it creates a multiplier effect that will assist developments in healthcare, education, energy and the environment, as well as in Internet and digital media. The Australian industry has embarked on a trans-sectoral campaign, convincing other sectors that an open network will give them the tools to save money and improve their services. At the same time this multiplier effect will create new jobs, perhaps as many as 10,000. In this publication we draw attention to the importance of looking across sectors to create synergy. The Australian government is leading the world through its acceptance and implementation of the trans-sector concept, which is now also supported by governments in the USA, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The UN also is using this model to develop its own broadband policies in this field. The new approach applies across infrastructure projects, and looks at the potential synergies between the building of roads, sewerage systems, water and gas pipe networks, as well as telecoms and electricity networks. It also covers the initiatives the government has announced since the NBN. E-healthE-health is rapidly shaping up as one of the key killer apps on the truly high-speed broadband networks, and millions of people around the world can potentially benefit from e-health applications. In the western world we are experiencing huge problems in relation to healthcare. New technologies and knowledge have resulted in increased life expectation and improved lifestyles. The cost of this, however, is enormous, and we simply can no longer afford to finance these huge advances through the public health systems. In countries with proper broadband infrastructure we see e-health shaping up as a means of allowing us to enjoy these advances in medical technology and medical services at a more affordable cost. The Australian government is linking e-health developments to the National Broadband Network. Early diagnosis and post-treatment patient monitoring are two areas where significant synergies may be found using applications provided to users at home. As the financing of the public health systems in Australia becomes increasingly costly an opportunity exists to lower costs through more effective use of web services for healthcare consumers. With widely available and cost-effective high-speed broadband infrastructure we see e-health enabling consumers to benefit from advances in medical technology and medical services. Spending on e-health solutions is likely to be boosted as part of the larger economic stimulus packages the government is currently enacting. E-educationThe Internet and associated Web 2.0 technologies have further broadened the quality and opportunities for remote education and the ‘virtual classroom’. E-learning is also becoming increasingly important in training health professionals in remote areas. Corporations and universities are continuing to adopt e-learning solutions in an effort to lower costs and provide training and education to a wider audience. It is thought that the current economic environment will see e-education growth being curtailed somewhat as companies rein in spending on non-essential training; however this climate may also promote technology as a cheaper alternative to classroom-style training. This publication provides an overview of e-education and identifies key trends. Brief case studies are provided on Australia and the developing market of Africa. The use of IT and telecommunications technology within educational environments is set to increase dramatically between 2010 and 2015 as high-speed fibre-based broadband becomes widely available in Australia. Simultaneously the capability of Internet services devoted to e-education purposes is set to increase enormously over the next decade as well. With its large landmass and comparatively small population Australia is an ideal market for remote education services. As such Australia is home to many successful e-education service providers, as well as being an important market for the services that technology offers. E-governmentMany countries around the world are now well aware of the importance of e-government and many governments have shown leadership in developing online services. The benefits of e-government applications can include cutting costs and improving processes and information flow; but one of its primary aims is to improve customer service for citizens. Attention is now being focused on new initiatives such as integrating social media tools or adopting cloud computing services. The Australian government already provides its citizens with relatively sophisticated e-government services, and with the establishment of a fibre-based broadband network it may improve and broaden the range of web services for which it is responsible. As such, Australia is a fascinating and relatively advanced market for both e-education and e-government services. Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.