Equinix Inc., a global interconnection and data centre company, has unveiled its 2017 predictive insights on its industry. It is part of its 7 Bold Predictions for the Connected Enterprise and must be noted that the IT industry has already impacted our daily life and further development are seen to bring in more transformation that will trigger significant changes for several industries in this new year.
Equinox one company amongst those in the ICT industry has a spread across 40 global markets, and has key data-driven insights into the key drivers that are pushing enterprises to succeed in the digital economy.
We reproduce the first 3 Equinix’s 2017 predictions that are part of :
As things change quickly, we’re taking advantage of our special perspective at the center of it all to predict what you can expect in 7 Bold Predictions for the Connected Enterprise. We’ll be exploring these predictions in more detail in the coming days, but these previews will get us started …
Enterprises are increasingly relying on cloud infrastructures, and a convergence of multi-cloud deployments is emerging as the way forward. The appeal of multi-cloud deployments is that they combine best-of-breed solutions and services from different cloud providers, while at the same time solving old, entrenched pain points like vendor lock-in, lack of flexibility and prohibitive costs (just to name a few). We predict that 2017 will be a tipping point for multi-cloud convergence, where multiple clouds across the enterprise – data, applications, infrastructure and personal clouds – will fundamentally change the way people and businesses operate.
The convergence of multiple clouds demands a natural extension of corporate boundaries for today’s digital business to where users and data reside. Those boundaries, where the physical and virtual worlds meet, is “the digital edge,” and in 2017, it will become a critically important place for the enterprise to grow and expand its market presence. It’s where companies manage real-time engagement with customers. It’s where SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) technologies engage together. And it’s where the on-demand insights enabled by the big data explosion will need to be enabled and managed. We also believe the geographically distributed expansion of data centers along the digital edge will be essential to handling it all.
As more companies turn to multi-cloud deployments to support their business around the globe, they’ll face challenges managing solutions across different cloud environments from different vendors. A management structure will need to be in place early to avoid a situation where smaller operational issues quickly accumulate and cause bigger problems. In 2017, companies will do that by using carrier-neutral colocation facilities to deploy a system of interconnection nodes, an “interconnected fabric,” to create a sort of central nervous system that links and synchronizes their cloud environment. This will mark a shift to a more responsive, user-centric approach.
The Conversation produced this article that is a very commendable effort of Tom Garner, Research Fellow, School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth. The author elaborates on the near future of all things robotic and The World 2017’s Top Technology Trends .
We reproduce this brilliant piece for the benefit of all with our best wishes for a New and Prosperous Year for each and everyone.
If you want to make predictions for the future, you need to find the trajectory of events in the past. So to work out what shape digital technology will likely take next year, we should look back to the major developments of 2016. And the past year’s developments point to a 2017 shaped by the next phase of virtual and augmented reality, the emergence of an internet for artificial intelligence and the creation of personalised digital assistants that follow us across devices.
One technology in particular has dominated the news throughout the year and made the birthday wish-lists of children and adults alike: virtual reality. VR began to bloom commercially in 2016 – with HTC, Oculus (owned by Facebook)and PlayStation all releasing their latest headsets. But 2017 will almost certainly be a pivotal year for VR, given its rather precarious position on the “hype cycle”.
This is a research methodology for predicting the commercial dominance of an emerging technology as it matures and goes through periods of increasing hype, sudden disillusionment and eventual success. Presently VR is on the precipice of the “peak of inflated expectations”, where the hype exceeds the reality and quality comes second to novelty.
In the hype cycle model, the peak of excitement is followed by an inevitable fall (the “trough of disillusionment”), as consumers realise the gap between what they expect and what they actually get. Here is where opinion is divided on VR. For some this will be a gentle dip, while for others the drop will be a portent to collapse.
The big question splitting these opinions is whether the consumer reaction to the VR games and applications currently being released will be the wrath of disillusionment or the mercy of patience. The more convincing assertion is that mobile phone-based VR platforms (with their greater ease of use, lower cost and wider range of games and applications) will help stabilise VR throughout 2017.
But stability is not the same as success. VR also has the problem that its consumer appeal is primarily recreational, limited largely to games and 360-degree videos. So far it has had relatively little impact on social or functional applications such as providing an interface for social media.
The same cannot be said for its more versatile but currently less well-known cousin, augmented reality. AR – which involves overlaying images of the real world with additional graphics or information – has enjoyed much success of late as a gaming platform, particularly thanks to the release of Pokémon Go.
Yet AR functionality already goes beyond games, and it is an ideal delivery mechanism for limitless forms of digital information. Concepts include heads-up displays attached to cyclists’ helmets that provide them with a 360-degree field of view and also alert them to potential dangers by tracking overtaking vehicles. But also applications such as visual overlays that can virtually redecorate your entire home without a single lick of paint.
The real future of AR however is in it’s potential to give us a new and improved means of accessing content and services we already cannot do without. As Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google Glass have alluded to, 2017 could see us using AR to check our emails, posting on Facebook and discovering the best route to our meeting place across town, with all content delivered straight to our eyes. Not a single aversion of our gaze or break in our stride required.
Current investment in the sector is prioritising advances in relevant underlying technologies such as depth-sensing camera lenses and physical environment mapping systems. This suggests that the industry is readying hardware to ensure these exciting ideas can materialise. It doesn’t mean that all ambitions of AR will be realised in 2017, but they are tantalising possibilities, depending on whether the underlying technology can make them a reality.
Internet of Robots
The other area where we are likely to see some fascinating research developments moving into commercial applications is artificial intelligence and machine learning. And the application most likely to dominate 2017 is the Internet of Things, the connection of millions of ordinary devices, from cameras to kettles, to the internet.
The concept of the Internet of Things champions our seeming desire for constant connection, with the physical objects we use everyday all linked together in a glorious (or terrifying) chain. 2017 could be the year we’ll all be telling our telling our barista coffee machine at home to prepare us a chocolate fudge Café Cubano from five miles away, using a bespoke interface in our car as we’re driving home.
Or perhaps not. But this ethos of interconnectivity is already reaching the realm of artificial intelligence with Cloud Robotics. These systems allow robots that have been optimised for different tasks to work on specific problems individually, but to pass solutions between each other.
The robots use the cloud to share the data, enabling it to be analysed by any other robot or intelligence system also connected to the same network. One robot teaches something to another, who in turn develops it and passes it forward in a collaborative effort that could massively increase the learning potential and connectivity of machines.
Personal digital assistants
All of these trends comes together for our final 2017 prediction: the rise of humanised digital technology in the form of intelligent personal assistants. These are essentially human-emulating data hubs. They use advances in artificial intelligence to capture and interpret our data, the Internet of Things to operate everything around us, and the advances in augmented reality to project themselves convincingly into our mobile world.
This will provide a single, naturalistic interface between us and our digitally connected universe. It is the next iterative step for the likes of Siri, Cortana and Alexa: an intelligent assistant able to travel with us wherever we go, across every device we use, to assist us in nearly every aspect of our lives.
The insanity of Black Friday is upon us, but don’t succumb to the madness at the malls tweeted many observers – and it’s only one day, I for one would not mind adding. Newsweek Europe published this article about the introduction of the notion of Black Friday into the Middle East or rather into the countries of the Gulf part of the region. The other regions are either undergoing traumatic upheavals of civil wars and / or internal political unrest and have no serious propensity or disposition of mind to indulge into acquiring at an exceptional bargain a desired product. The varying levels of ICTs penetration into the countries of the Middle East play against all other countries other than those of the Gulf. And within these latter countries, the diverse populations can also be differentiated through their response to the afore-said notion of Black Friday.
Souq, the Amazon of the Middle East, aims to break its own records in third year of sales bonanza.
BY JACK MOORE ON 11/25/16 AT 10:12 AM
The dizzying array of discounts, department store frenzies and violent wrestling bouts over electronic goods that have come to define the American tradition of Black Friday have arrived in the Middle East—not in the shops, but online.
Souq, the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world launched a four-day online shopping bonanza known as ‘White Friday’ in 2014 and this year it began on Wednesday, seeing consumers from seven Arab countries vie for a bounty of luxury goods until Saturday. The site’s chief executive, Syrian entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar, earned the company a billing as the ‘Amazon of the Middle East’ and prompted a host of other Middle Eastern retailers to follow suit.
White Friday takes an American tradition and turns it on its head. It seeks to resonate with the culture of the Middle East, where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, and Friday is a weekend day, reserved for the holy worship of millions of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia. While black can denote a sombre event (in the U.S., Black Friday actually refers to hoisting a business “back into the black”), the color white takes on a more positive meaning for Mouchawar and the team at Souq.
Mary Ghobrial, Chief Commercial Officer, SOUQ
Mary Ghobrial, chief commercial officer of Souq.com and Ronaldo Mouchawar, chief executive and co-founder of Souq.com, two of the faces behind the Middle East’s White Friday sale.
“We wanted to own an event that was not really tied to thanksgiving as much but more tied to our Friday, our White, which is kind of positive and happy,” says Mouchawar, speaking to Newsweek from his Dubai office by Skype. “We launched it in 2014 and it was a massive success. Last year, we did about 600,000 units, and hopefully this year we go over a million.”
The scenes of mayhem witnessed in the West upon the opening of Black Friday sales across thousands of stores will not be reflected in the Middle East, but the feverish hunt for bargains online will be, in what is predicted to be a record year for the sales event. The event has grown year on year, Souq’s co-founder says, and this year they have expanded to three new countries, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, on top of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
A subject that is currently preoccupying all MENA’s oil exporting countries leadership is the subject of this article. It is in fact about how to re-distribute the export revenues of the underground resources amongst their national populations. Nobody throughout these countries, these days has any doubt that it should be done and to be undertaken only through improving data collection for a better welfare.
This article written by Aziz Atamanov and Nandini Krishnan was published on The World Bank website on May 10, 2016, is meant to follow on our previous ones about the on-going revolution of the ICTs that is presently affecting all countries, oil exporting and importing alike of the MENA.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has witnessed a surge of conflict and economic uncertainty and, while the causes of conflict vary, there is no ambiguity about the negative impact it has on people’s wellbeing. Today, the region is both the world’s largest host for displaced populations and the single largest source of forcibly displaced people. As a result, for us the development challenge has broadened beyond issues of governance, accountability, youth unemployment, and job creation, to humanitarian aid, post-conflict reconstruction, and targeted help for a range of vulnerable groups—all set within a difficult security and political environment. In such a context as this, developing countries in the MENA region will face a huge challenge meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The data challenge Timely, accessible, good quality data is key to measuring and tracking poverty and other SDG indicators. And monitoring progress in poverty reduction starts with collecting household consumption survey data. MENA’s 13 developing countries have been making progress on this front since 2000—in the 1990s, one-third of them had not done a single survey but between 2006 and 2015, all collected data for at least one survey, and two-thirds collected data for at least two. Despite this, the availability of household surveys in MENA is far from ideal. MENA countries collected on average four surveys per year between 2006 and 2010, but this rate slowed to three per year between 2011 and 2015. To the best of our knowledge, only three countries of 13 considered had two comparable surveys after 2009. And in the Mashreq region (Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Syria and Iraq), where conflict and displacement have been particularly acute, no poverty estimates using household surveys have been released since 2012. Thus, the region is at risk of data deprivation.
The lack of recent data is the reason why estimates of extreme poverty have not been produced by the World Bank for MENA since 2010, and why they are not included in the “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016” flagship report. Access to survey data is another problem: Only one-sixth of the surveys from 2006–15 contained data needed to measure poverty and were freely available to the public for downloading. Turmoil has also diverted resources from data collection. Official sensitivity to numbers about poverty has reduced accessibility, as has concerns over confidentiality. At the same time, though, national statistics agencies recognize the need for data to inform policy, particularly during these tumultuous times.
Gathering to troubleshoot
Participants from national statistics’ offices discussed the challenges involved in collecting micro-data
To stimulate peer-to-peer learning both outside the region and in it, the Bank’s MENA Team for Statistical Development organized a regional conference at the Centre for Mediterranean Integration in France. Keynote speakers and high-level participants from national statistics’ offices across MENA discussed the challenges involved in collecting and sharing micro-data for monitoring welfare, and for evidence-based policy making. Speakers from Mexico and Indonesia shared their experience of systems for micro-data collection, data access, and linking systems to policy making. They emphasized the importance of informing policy by creating a loop connecting frequent, high-quality data, to rich public feedback.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is an example of this as it shares most of the micro-data it collects on its website. Its president, Ola Awad, said the main goal of statistics bureaus was to produce data and disseminate it: Any responsibility for its misuse lay with users and was anyway rare. The Bank has used Palestinian household budget surveys and a census to construct a detailed poverty map of the territory, drawing links between various barriers and constraints to growth and investment. Najla Ali Murad, the Director of Iraq’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, showed how Iraq was turning to new technology and data collection methods during a time of crisis. Iraq’s statistical offices, supported by the Bank, collected high-quality household budget surveys for 2006 and 2011—they are available on the Bank’s website. The 2011 data helped the Government of Iraq assess the implications of the crises Iraq faced in 2014 on poverty. The Bank itself has advanced tools that may be able to help countries collect new information, and may be able to measure wellbeing in fragile and conflict-affected areas. These include the use of satellite images when census data is either not available or outdated; using small-area estimation techniques for poverty maps; and using the Survey of Well-being via Instant and Frequent Tracking to collect household income and expenditure data in a cost-effective, user-friendly way. The ways countries can benefit from tools to help statistics agencies anonymize, document, and disseminate their data were discussed. Many countries in the region share problems in common, including the widely held perception that national statistics agencies need only publish indicators rather than share microdata. Collecting meaningful data and putting it to good use is a critical step for countries—in MENA and around the world—to identify and manage the many challenges their people face.
Mobile World Live has undertaken in partnership with Mahindra ComViva an interesting report titled the Business of tomorrows. It deals with all future developments in the ICT world. Some excerpts of the report are reproduced here.
The Business of Tomorrows report gives us an insight into how operators around the globe see the future of their companies, and what impact current and emerging technologies will have on the wider telecoms ecosystem.
This in-depth report quizzed large operators across the world on some of the biggest issues facing their businesses today. The idea was to garner a perspective on what ails today’s operators and what measures they are likely to take to resolve those issues.
The report is split into six of the market’s most important segments; Overall Industry Landscape, Mobile Payments, 5G networks, Content, Customer Analytics and Mobile Broadband.
We found that the results highlighted a wide range of opinions from operators on the impact and development these technologies and services will have on both the enterprise side, as well as the end consumer.
. . . . Biggest priorities
Customer experience management (CEM) ranked as the highest priority for operators going forward, with 27 per cent of respondents putting this ahead of other key metrics like big data, cloud computing, network function virtualisation and BSS/OSS transformation.
From Comviva’s experience, it is clear that as mobile operators improve their systems to understand the pattern of customers, usage, network quality, and how their businesses are performing against competitors, it becomes ever more essential to match real time data collection with customer experience.
Big data followed in close second as a top priority. Indeed, we have found, that, as technology evolves and new sources of data are uncovered, service providers are seeing an unprecedented rise in volume, variety and velocity of information due to the rollout of next generation mobile networks, increased use of smartphones and the rise of social media.
With a quarter (25 per cent) of survey respondents placing big data as a top priority, it suggests operators are keen to step up their efforts and investment in this area, with strategies now imperative for all to increase market share, as well as drive external revenue streams.
. . . While 5G standards are yet to be defined, there is a growing consensus around what the next generation of mobile networks will bring to the industry.
Delivering faster mobile broadband speeds from today’s 4G LTE technology will only be one element to 5G, with the network also expected to act as a catalyst for a wide range of services, both on the enterprise and consumer side.
In addition to improved spectral efficiency, lower energy consumption, better battery life and security, 5G is also expected to fuel the Internet of Things (IoT), drive possibilities in advanced virtual reality and connected cars, as well as better enable data intensive applications.
. . . 75% of respondents believe IoT will drive growth in the internet sector.
IoT is no doubt considered a huge opportunity, with respondents hailing it as the prevailing digital service to generate incremental revenue rises, and the reason why 5G will be a game changer for future business opportunities.
A Youtube rendering of the report is embedded below.
In Algeria like elsewhere, the Global Information and Communication Technologies Revolution (ICTs) are a set of technologies used to process, edit and share information as well as transport, store it. This would definitely have implications on the political governance, business management and administrations. It also has an impact on our new lifestyle referring to the knowledge and innovation sectors. We, as politicians, entrepreneurs and / or citizens of today all live in a plural and immediate communication society that compels us to make decisions in real time. Control of time would be the main challenge of the 21st century and any inadequacies in these mutations might isolate still more this country.
The new information system; a global revolution ?
The birth of new ICTs is notably due to the convergence of computing, telecommunications and audio-visual technologies. The development of broadband Internet, the democratization of the computer and new technologies stem basically from a decrease of the rates proposed by suppliers and by an ever increasing demand. The boom of the blogs and email gives all ICTs an increasingly wider presence in our society. This interaction of electronics and Informatics explains ICT applications to be able to meet the needs of both business and Government; households and individuals alike.
Now subject to the same laws of the market like any other activity in market production, the ICTs are, in addition, a sector where competition is played directly on a global scale. The globalization of businesses, markets and finance channels has not only involved a reshaping of the economic structures and exchange flow, it has also led to the professionalization of the communication and information sectors, as well as to a more integration of the phases of design, creation and consumption of the products along with the merger of formerly separate or even opposed activities.
More than just an opening to the general public , the ICT are revolutionizing the internal organisation of the enterprise, in its management so-called ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software to manage different tasks such as inventory or cash, collaborative work is simplified through the use of the Intranet and messaging, the ‘wireless’ system or ‘Paperless office’ maintains a permalink with employees on the go just like the video conference; all this generates a better sharing as well as better internal information flow. Thus, the world has become a large glass house, granted against totalitarian regimes insofar as the information is no longer the fourth power but the power by itself.
Today, the infrastructure of the Internet is spreading around the world to create a broad global network and thanks to computers that can now digitise all information and manage new systems. The integration of telecommunications, computing and audio-visual technologies gave rise to the Digital Society which is the subject of special attention on behalf of all States and international organizations. For more than a decade, this interest increased because of all socio-economic and cultural benefits of the ITCs : indeed, the ‘Digital divide’ transcends the geographical enclosures and goes through all human societies. The new means of communication facilitate the exchange and dissemination of knowledge.
So, these new ITCs are deeply changing the daily lives of citizens, the functioning of enterprises, and of the State. That means new mental and social representations. This is most obvious in the mass-media (TV, DVD, GPS, Music, etc…) on cell phones. On a macro level, new processes implemented through ICT have consequences on the analysis of the value of goods and services, throughout their life cycle that tend to be shortened whilst affecting productivity gains and growth related to the introduction of ICTs. These also influence all scientific and technical R&D and indirectly allow new discoveries that have in turn a macroeconomic effect.
Finally, ICTs do impact in many other areas such as recreation, culture, health, time management, and all behaviour in society. The advent of the Internet and its tremendous development in a few years has practically put on notice the enterprise – of any importance whatsoever – to both adapt and make the most sensible and productive use. Competitiveness, forcing it to get or give information in real time, the enterprise will indeed invest the web and use electronics to face competition and develop its activities further. In a few years of ICTs presence, these have helped organizational models of work to gain characteristics that are decentralization and flexibility.
The phenomenon of relocation of employment is largely due to the research of gains in productivity as well as certain possibilities that offered by ICT to companies, particularly those that are large : interactive TV, teleprocessing and maintenance are now a reality of every day.
Algeria and the challenges of globalization of the information society
In recent years, the ICT industries contributed a great deal to the growth of the economy and remain an important sector in trade at the global level as well as for the development of intra companies’ trade. In Algeria, the 4G was recently installed with some delay despite the 3G largely outdated and the existing skills. Every day, new technological advances increasingly make obsolete any previous progress. Hence the issues – in terms of opportunities but also risks of marginalization of this country – posed by ICT or lack of it for growth and social development.
This delay is partly due to a problem of mentalities and negative attitudes that hinder innovative and very interesting projects that are proposed by experts. The Internet connection being too slow, Algeria has failed to catch up this year in ICT world; on the contrary, it lost ground in its ranking by the World Economic Forum on the development of these technologies. Algeria however got three small notches up as per the WEF report 2016, from the 120th to 117th out of 139 countries. It is not even among the top ten African countries due to the prevailing environment and its current use of ICT below world standards.
Between 2010/2015, Algeria went from the 114th place in the global ranking of 167 countries in the development of ICT index according to the report of January 2016 of the ITU. And according to the more detailed Global Information Technology Report 2013 on 144 countries, the NRI index calculating the ability of a country to exploit fully the ICT in terms respectively of ICT, the cost of access and availability of skills needed for optimal use, the use of ICT by Governments and the business community, the economic context and the climate for innovation infrastructure in the policy and regulatory framework, and the economic and social impact of ICTs, Algeria displays a low leverage of ICTs, with a worldwide economic impact (143rd place in the world for this criterion).
The poor (119th) ICT infrastructure, combined with a low skills base (101st), translate into a very low usage of ICT (140th) levels, finishing respectively in 100th place on the basis of the criterion of the individual use of ICT, ranked 144th in business, and 139th in institutional and Government with serious deficiencies in the regulatory framework (141st) shortcomings in Environmental Affairs and innovation (143rd). An Algerian study shows that only 15% of the country’s SMEs on the identified 321,000 use ICT in their activities according to the National Agency for Development of SMEs (ANDPME).
In summary, Algeria is in need of a strategy so as to adapt itself to the new world that with the advent of the fourth economic revolution will be based on digital technology, and environmental industries with an energy Mix between 2020 and 2030. It is a matter of national security provided that it quickly adopts a strategy of passage from a rentier economy, through deep structural reforms, currently suffering from a crisis of governance and not of a financial crisis to that of realistically balanced economy.
Without deep structural reforms, whilst assuming a minimal political and social consensus, a visibility and coherence in the approach of the reforms, miracles are not to be expected. The more these are deferred, the more the reserves of foreign exchange will be depleted and this crisis of governance might risk to go into financial, economic and political crises with the risk of regional destabilisation.
NB – Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL, son of a National Liberation activist, former emigrant whose primary and secondary studies, a fraction of universities studies were in Lille, France has a PhD in Economics (1974), Accounting Expert from the Institute of Management of Lille (1973). Dr A. Mebtoul is a member of several international organizations, and author of more than 20 books and more than 500 national and international conferences
A. Mebtoul has been an administration officer at the Road of African Unity – (1972/1973)
Director of Studies in the Department of Energy/SONATRACH 1974/1979-1990 / 1995 – 2000 / 2006
A former magistrate – first Adviser – Director of economic studies at the Court des Comptes (1980/1983)
President of the Privatisation Program Council, with the rank of Minister delegate – (1996/1999)
Director in the Office of Sacurity – DGSN – (1997/1998)
Expert economic and social Council 1995 2007
Expert at the office of the President 2007/2008 – with independent Expert the Prime Minister (from January 2013 to date) who headed several important s records on behalf of successive Algerian Governments from 1974 to 2016
Independent Expert since November 10, 2016, for economic issues directly to the Secretary General of the ruling FLN party and the Presidency of the Republic.
AMEinfo.com magazine has published this piece of reflexion on the amazing progress of technology of information sharing and processing generally. Evolving into a connected world challenges is an article on the prospective vision of our daily life in year 2020 and beyond but also a retrospective review of past revolutions in the technological world. It is based on a report of a recent Euromonitor. Professor Khalid Al Begain elaborates in the second article for a better grasp of the workings of such changes. Here are 2 articles on the latest happenings.
Meanwhile, “The southern Mediterranean Governments should subsidize connectivity instead of subsidizing energy”, said Professor Adel Ben Yousef at the inaugural meeting of the economic week in the Mediterranean, the 10th SEM on November 2 through 4th at the Villa Mediterranée in Marseille. Read more in French on its programme here.
Almost half of the global population will be using the internet by 2020
People are connecting through different devices such as smartphones, automobiles and fridges
Society is on the brink of a new technological revolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The number of Internet users has doubled during the past seven years, reaching 3.2 billion users globally in 2016, According to a recent report published by Euromonitor International.
According to the findings of the 2016 Digital Consumer Index, the figure accounts for an estimated 43 per cent of the global population. In 2020, 49 per cent of the global population is expected to be connected to the Internet.
The connectivity of such a vast percentage of the global population has created a fundamental shift in almost all industries, especially commerce. Today’s consumers browse and buy products and services in a different manner: online.
While developed nations lead in terms of Internet access through fixed broadband connections at home, digital connectivity among emerging markets has been driven by mobile, given the cheaper network investment and falling prices of mobile devices.
China, ranked 12th, and the UAE, ranked 17th, lead emerging markets on the Digital Consumer Index.
In developed markets, as of 2016, 79 per cent of consumers use the Internet, compared with 36 per cent in emerging markets. According to the findings, this gap is expected to narrow by 2020 as the number of Internet users in emerging markets is expected to grow vastly, expanding four times faster than that of developed markets.
Moreover, today’s consumers expect brands to interact with them before, during and after they make a purchase.
Connect through your fridge!
Connectivity is no longer limited to certain devices, as today’s consumers are connected through almost anything – a computer, a Smartphone, a Smartwatch, or even a fridge or an automobile.
Given the variety of media enabling connectivity, consumer behaviour changes across the way they live, play, work and shop.
A new way to do business
Catering to the new consumer behaviours across the globe, brands are changing how they do business, allowing new ways of engaging and conducting commerce.
The new model also allows firms operating through their own, unique formulas to prosper – one of the major aspects of disruption, such as the shared economy, given the likes of Uber and Airbnb, and other subscription-based services, such as Netflix.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
According to the experts, society is on the brink of yet another technological revolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Below is a quick look at the three previous revolutions the world has witnessed:
First Industrial Revolution: Leveraged water and steam for manufacturing in the 1700s.
Second Industrial Revolution: Electrically powered production machines to introduce mass production in the 1900s.
Third Industrial Revolution: Used electronics and information technology to automate production in the 1970s.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution illustrates the fusion of technologies and the physical, digital and biological spheres, creating new horizons for humanity. Breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and self-driving cars are new advances under the Fourth Industrial Revolution umbrella.
Professor Khalid Al Begain of the University of South Wales asks how mobile technology of the future will affect our lives.
Connectivity and information access is evolving. In the space of just four decades, our needs have evolved from basic connectivity for e-mail and document sharing, to the Internet revolution and finally the introduction of social media. But where are we going next?
In parallel, mobile networking and mobile connectivity have experienced unprecedented development. From the start of mobile telephony in 1990s with the introduction of GSM (2G mobile networks) followed by data capabilities through technology enhancements including General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) in 1997 for low rate access (around 50Kbps), 3G technology in 2001, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) in 2010 and currently Long Term Evolution Technology (LTE) (promising 50Mbps) that has been advertised as 4G mobile technology although it does not yet meet the technical specification of 4G according to the technical standards.
In the coming years, research and development will turn to 5G technologies with keywords being mobile broadband; sensors; automation; Open Data; Big Data; Information Explosion; Security and Privacy.
Mobile broadband will become the enabler for a wide range of services such as mobile TV and video sharing on the fly. LTE network deployment will reach 60% in the world in 2018, and mobile users will reach 7 billion. New technologies such as LTE Advance, Voice and Video over LTE and mobile video conferencing will become available to enable new creative services and applications.
People connectivity will be overtaken in the coming few years by sensor connectivity. It is predicted that over 50 billion sensors will be connected to the Internet in 2020 (equating to 6 devices per person) creating what is called “The Internet of Things” and paving the way for the realisation of Smart Cities and Smart Communities. Ambient sensing and automation will become global phenomena.
As a result, according to Cisco, it is predicted that
The data traffic will grow 12 fold between 2013 and 2018.
By 2016 3 zettabytes of data will whiz around the world’s wires (372 exabytes in 2011).
Video downloads are expected to increase five-fold between 2013 and 2016.
Digital television uptake will surge from 694 million subscribers last year to 3 billion in 2016.
Peer-to-peer traffic volumes will rise, from 4.6 exabytes a month to 10 exabytes by 2016.
Storing and making sense of this data will create new challenges. This has evolved into the new concept of “Big Data”: datasets so large that it is difficult to capture, store, manage, share, analyze and visualize with typical software tools.
Knowledge extraction will be the next revolution namely the “Knowledge Revolution” but it won’t be straightforward. The collected data is incomplete and as such it may provide intuitive knowledge in contrast to traditional algorithms as not everything can be abstracted into data for computers to act upon. In the future, service delivery will be based on massive abstractions and virtualization technologies. In addition, this “Big Data” will not be “Open Data”. It can be owned by many different authorities and organisations.
A large portion of this data will be personal which raises questions regarding privacy and security. Who can store personal data and in what format? How can we ensure it is securely stored and shared? How can we make sense of data without violating personal freedom? How can we stop malicious and criminal use? These are questions that will have to be considered together with the technological research and development.
On a final note, cyber security will be important in the design of any future system. Innovation and creativity will become one of the most important Intellectual Property assets targeted by criminals. One major UK company hosting significant government and other data have to deal with over 80 million individual security attacks per day. This is an example of the growing challenges we will face in the future.
Further to our article on Which languages do most people want to learn?, we propose here to dwell on the preoccupying issue of the Language as a Communication Tool for all Sciences between individuals as well as between communities and countries at the dawn of the Fourth Revolution, which today, all mass media worldwide refers to as the ‘Digital Revolution’ or the ‘Knowledge Revolution’.
In fact, the Fourth Revolution for most relate to the technological advances of cheap long distance, interactive communications, predicting that because of the current development of the technology, the reel revolution is deemed to happen, because it fundamentally increases the collective cognitive capability of humankind in a manner never possible before.
We propose the reading of a brilliant article written by Cedric Villani, a French academic under the title of “LA LANGUE DE CHEZ NOUS”. We took the initiative of translating some of the first paragraphs for the subject’s historical background setting out. We shall endeavour to bring in more of the same for the subject is an on-going as we speak topic and would most probably remain so with us in the foreseeable future.
This article dated back to February 2016 gives out also an idea of the current resentment perceived here and there towards the technological related ever increasing use of the English language.
The MENA region which is in our view itself, between the Anglo and Francophone worlds in its day to day relations with the world share in the same preoccupations.
After over 200 pages of discussion, Montgomery answered YES… a fairly natural response: global business, science works according to global exchanges, and research articles should be accessible to all.
But as one might expect, the debate is more subtle, and the book was not all completely devoted to the question: it dealt with, more generally, of the delicate subject of the language of science communication and all that this implies. Because «language is power.
Let us put the discussion back in a historical context. Simplifying by big strokes, we can say that the language of science was first Greek; then Arabic; then Latin. The rediscovery of Greek authors, translated from Arabic into Latin, was a considerable upheaval in Europe in the 13th century…
During the Renaissance, Latin has established itself as the language of international scientific exchanges, for several centuries — Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Euler will publish most of their major works in Latin. In parallel, the scientific writings in common languages multiply; so Galileo wrote his scientific-polemics works in Italian ”Il saggiatore and Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo”, or as Euler writes in French his “Letters to a young German Princess”. The first scientific journals appear in Paris and in London in the 17th century, and are published in the language of the country.
When Latin goes out of fashion, common languages take off. For mathematicians, differential geometry perhaps best symbolizes this evolution: If Gauss publishes his famous “Theorema Egregium” of 1827 in Latin; it’s in German that his student Riemann posed, a quarter century later, the foundations of a general theory of non-Euclidean geometry.
However, it was not question to use all common languages; the multiplication of language barriers would have hindered the flow of ideas. On the other hand, as the European academics were all, at this time, more or less multilingual, it wasn’t a matter of letting several languages co-exist. In the 19th century, three languages therefore got cleared: French, German and English – and, to a lesser extent, Italian. Thus, Einstein published in 1905, his famous articles in German in “Annalen der Physik”, the most important journal of Physics of the time. In fact, German was the dominant language in physics and chemistry, while French had the leadership in mathematics.
Came then the world wars! Provisional annihilation of French and German Science at the end of the first world war; boycott of German scientists; rise of a generation of American scientists who wanted to publish in their own language; propulsion of American universities to the top global ranks, with the help of an economic boom and the massive immigration of European scientists… All this made English establish itself as the dominant language as much in science as in world culture. Beyond simple communication, linguistic domination was also a source of power and income in a world where the handling of knowledge became an economic issue. Two other notable scientific languages of the 20th century, Russian and Japanese, remained rather confined to their respective spheres of influence, and got finally erased also.
Symbol of this evolution: in 1924, Einstein still took the trouble to translate the work of Bose from English into German; twenty years later, no one was thinking anymore of doing the same. Another symbol: in the interwar years, Torsten Carleman, the greatest Swedish mathematician of his time, published in French, in German or (more rarely) in English; nowadays, his brilliant Nordic successors publish exclusively in English. As for “Annalen der Physik”, it became a 100% Anglophone review, except for its title!
In search of the universal language of mathematicians
vAt a time of globalisation notably through its digital expression, there seems to be greater polarisation of languages around a handful few. In effect and despite of leaning on techno Hard & Software based direct translation systems, more and more do still rely on human capacity to learn and naturally practice a language. Which languages do most people want to learn? It is an article written by Keith Breene, Senior Writer, Formative Content of the WEF gives an expressive rendition with colourful images of the present conjecture. Wouldn’t you agree?
Which languages do most people want to learn?
A handful of popular languages win out every time. Image: South China Morning Post
A new map gives us an easy way to visualize how languages grew as cultural, economic and religious influences spread around the world.
According to the data is this graphic map, the distribution of languages closely follows patterns of human migration, colonization and religious influence. The Romans spread the use of Latin across Europe and the Mediterranean basin as their empire grew. Latin has fallen out of common use but it is still the basis for many of the most frequently spoken languages.
The British Empire made English the global language it is today.
Image: South China Morning Post
A total of 335 million people have English as their native tongue; 225 million of them in the United States. English is spoken in 110 countries, more than any other language.
Spain’s colonial history in Latin America left a strong linguistic legacy, too. Spanish is the native tongue in 35 countries and is spoken by 399 million people as a first language.
Image: South China Morning Post
Key: SV (El Savador), GT (Guatemala), NI (Nicaragua), PA (Panama), UY (Uruguay)
Arabic is another language that has spread far and wide. It is spoken in 60 countries by 242 million people. It became widespread with the conquests of Muslim armies in the seventh century BC, as Islam emerged as a new religious and political force.
But the most commonly used language? Chinese, with by far the largest number of speakers.
China’s various dialects are the mother tongue of over a billion people. Most of them live in mainland China but there are Chinese-speakers all the way across Asia.
With the world again witnessing a mass movement of people, language patterns will evolve even further. But the most popular languages look likely to keep on being the most popular, at least in the near term.
So, which languages are people learning? Of the students surveyed, 1.5 billion are studying English and a further 1.6 million either French, Chinese or Spanish.
Have you read?
How your language shapes your worldview
There are advantages to speaking two languages
Is the internet killing off the world’s languages?
The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA) ranked the UAE 8th globally in the e-smart services index of the E-Government Development Index (EGDI). UAE leading the region in UN’s 2016 e-smart services is an important component in the overall index used to determine growth in e-government development and does help in consolidating the UAE’s regional leadership in the e-services index as being top notch in the Gulf, the Arab World as well as the West Asian region but 3rd overall in Asia.
However, for the e-participation index, the UAE are ranked number 1 in the Arab World and at the 32nd place globally.
The report is about the development of e-government across 193 countries of the world, using the elaborately composite index of EGDI. The results are based on the average of 3 sub-indices, i.e.: online service (OSI), telecommunication infrastructure index (TII) and human capital index (HCI).
Wealth Monitor published on July 31, 2016 the following article. Excerpts of it are reproduced for the commendable performance of the UAE’s.
UAE ranks 29th in UN’s E-Government Development Index (EGDI)
The UAE is ranked in the very-high E-Government Development Index (EGDI), as issued by the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
The report shows that the UAE is listed among the world’s leading countries in terms of the level of progress in e-governance. The UAE is also among the world’s leading countries in terms of e-participation.
The report throws the spotlight on the development of e-government across 193 countries from all over the world, through the measurement of EGDI, which is a composite index. The results are based on calculations of the average of the three sub-indices–online service (OSI), telecommunication infrastructure index (TII) and human capital index (HCI).
The UAE ranked 29th globally, jumping from its rank of 32 in 2014.
On a regional level, for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the report highlights, e-government has become a development indicator. Much emphasis has been placed on advancing e-government in the region, as both a means and an end in development. In promoting knowledge sharing among the GCC countries, the biennial GCC e-government Awards are presented to government entities that have demonstrated excellence in e-government (GCC, 2015). Bahrain (24th) and the United Arab Emirates (29th) are among the global leaders with Very-High-EGDI levels, while Kuwait (40th), Saudi Arabia (44th) and Qatar (48th) are among the top Asian countries with High-EGDI levels.
Keith Breene wrote on July 6, 2016 a piece on the World Economic Forum dealing with what is “networked readiness” and how it is a key indicator of how countries are doing in the digital world. Below is the extensive version of the article:
“The World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index 2016 measures how well an economy is using information and communications technologies to boost competitiveness and well-being. The world is at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which represents a transition to a new set of systems, bringing together digital, biological and physical technologies in new and powerful combinations. Networked readiness shows how ready each country is to reap the benefits of that transition.
How is it measured?
As you would expect from such a complex issue, the ranking is drawn up using a wide range of information. Data is gathered from international agencies such as the International Telecommunication Union, UNESCO, other UN agencies and the World Bank. Further indicators come from the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey, which was completed by over 14,000 business executives in more than 140 countries.
Impacts and drivers
Networked readiness depends on whether a country possesses the drivers necessary for digital technologies to meet their potential, and on whether these technologies are actually having an impact on the economy and society. To get an accurate picture of all the drivers and the full effects, the study breaks down the information into different subsections.
The networked readiness framework
The drivers are grouped within three sub-indexes: the overall environment, readiness (which includes infrastructure, affordability and skills) and usage (which is made up of individuals, business and government). Impact is measured in terms of both economic and social impact.
The 2016 index has highlighted a number of key issues. The digital revolution is changing the nature of innovation, which is increasingly based on digital technologies and on the new business models it allows. It is interesting to note that economic power does not necessarily reflect networked readiness – the top 10 Asian countries show that while Singapore leads the world, China is only four places higher in the ranking than Sri Lanka.
Companies are facing increasing pressure to innovate continuously. Seven countries stand out in terms of the economic impact of their corporate digitization: Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States. It is noticeable that all seven are characterized by very high levels of business information-technology adoption.
Businesses and governments are missing out on a rapidly growing digital population. Demand for digital products and services by a global consumer base is largely being met by a relatively small number of companies. Businesses need to act now and adopt digital technologies to capture their part of this growing market. A new economy is taking shape, requiring governance and regulation to keep pace. As the new digital economy becomes more established, the right framework conditions will be crucial to ensuring its sustainability.
A new world
Digital technologies are unleashing new economic and social dynamics that will need to be managed if the digital transformation of industries and societies are to deliver long-term and broad-based gains. This rapid change is being managed better by some countries than it is by others, with some surprising results. Iceland tops the ranking when it comes to the use of social networks. In this new global economy, a country’s industrial might no longer plays a key factor.
A resilient digital economy calls for new types of behaviour, leadership and governance. The Networked Readiness Index helps identify which policies are working and which are not, which countries are leading the way and which need to do more. In this way it is helping the world understand and navigate a crucial but complex journey into a very different world.
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