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Global Analysis - The Social and Economic Impact of the Digital Revolution

Global Analysis - The Social and Economic Impact of the Digital Revolution -

The world is facing a significant number of challenges. The key problem associated with these challenges is a lack of smart government policies that are based on integrated solutions crossing sector boundaries. Political leadership is needed to address these issues. Over the last few years citizens around the world have indicated that they are ready for change. We have seen this in relation to climate change and the use of new and modern means of communication.

BuddeComm has argued that we can solve the challenges at hand, but we will have to do things differently. There is no linear way forward – lateral solutions are needed. Over the last 60 years we have created a world of specialists who operate within silos. These silos need to be demolished and new horizontal structures established, in which all sectors and disciplines work together.

Leadership from the top is needed if this is to be achieved. It is called the trans-sector approach and ICT is the glue needed to build more horizontal collaborative structures. Whether we are talking about smart cities, smart transport, smart grids, smart buildings or e-health – what is needed is good data that can be analysed in real time, allowing people and/or machines to make instant decisions in relation to energy efficiency, traffic situations, weather activities, and personal health issues, as well as commercial decisions. The infrastructure that can be used to link sectors together in a dynamic way is referred to as M2M or the Internet of Things.

Key developments:

One large-scale national infrastructure example of such an integrated policy is unfolding in Australia, where the government is rolling out a national broadband network based on those trans-sector principles. However, given the failure of some of the ad hoc solutions in relation to sustainability policies, this concept needs to be extended even further – the entire infrastructure should be structured around cohesive policies. Both the electricity grid and the NBN are critical elements in this and they should be used as infrastructure building blocks for a smart country, smart cities and communities and smart buildings.

Organisations mentioned:

Governments of USA, Europe and Australia, UN, UNESCO, ITU.


1. Synopsis
2. Politicians underestimate the digital revolution
2.1 Technology fights against extreme poverty
3. How governments lost the ICT plot
4. Desperate need for government innovation
5. Politicians should stop populist party politics
6. Urgent need for smart policies and smart tools
7. The need for Digital infrastructure
8. NBN: a blueprint for other trans-sector policies?
9. Case study: Australia
9.1 Australia’s digital transformation is underway
9.2 The issue is the digital economy, not broadband - analysis
9.3 The impact on the economy
10. No progress without new trans-sector policies
11. Conclusions
12. Related Reports
Exhibit 1- Internet of Things – the next infrastructure inflection point
Exhibit 2 - Broadband Commission for Digital Development
Exhibit 3 – Australia – National Broadband Network in 2013
Exhibit 4 – Key applications of a digital economy
Exhibit 5- Trans-sector vs. Cross-sector

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