Shaping the digital future

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Colin Loveday, Managing Director of 4G Scotland, outlines how business will be  done in the future and how Edinburgh Chamber is ensuring its members’ needs and views are heard and understood.

Remember dial-up? Remember how our initial wonder over the internet turned to frustration as web pages slowly appeared on screen?

For many of us, it really isn’t so very long ago that the internet was very new and often very slow. Since then, the pace of change has been rapid with easier, speedier access from a whole range of devices.

A generation is growing up in a digital dominated world, where social media as a business driving force is the norm. We are all touched by a digital strategy of some kind.

It’s been fast and furious– but as the saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet! That is why Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has established an Inspiring Digital policy group, which I chair.

We need to make sure that we – businesses  – make sure our voice is heard by policy makers when it comes to ensuring we have all the access we need to remain competitive in the digital future.

Without pre-empting any outcomes, I would like to share some thoughts on four universal
digital market drivers that have an increasing impact on business – People, Connectivity, Data, and Materials.

Regarding People, Generation Y are a cadre of tech-savvy individuals who have grown up with ever-increasing ways to communicate using technology. This is important as the older part of this group will soon be in boardrooms, which will have a profound effect on the way businesses communicate.

No longer will a basic phone and laptop be the tools that get business done, with social media rationed in the work place. Increasingly it is the work place.

Digital Natives are people who know nothing other than the connected “it just works” digital world. As they move through education there will be a greater understanding on how the nuts and bolts of digital work. Coding needs to be considered as a vital skill for the future in the same vein as the three Rs.

Connectivity speeds and availability have increased beyond all recognition. There are
still major challenges to be overcome but 4G mobile networks now allow out of home or office connectivity at speeds equal to, and often much faster, than broadband. This provides the final piece of the connectivity mosaic along with fibre and fixed line broadband that will enable creativity and content to bloom.

Data is now a firm fixture in the cloud. Accessing it anytime, anyplace and without restriction is the de facto requirement. There are a number of internets being created that are vital to our future growth, not least the “internet of things”, or machine to machine communications.

Materials help shape the devices through which we access our information and we are going to see extraordinary developments. For example, Graphene, a material discovered in 2010, one atom thick, immensely strong,flexible and that carries an electrical charge, will shape new devices.

Digital is democratising the way we do things and is constantly disrupting existing industries and practices. Digital technology is inspiring new ways of looking at our world. The future is very exciting.

Colin Loveday,
Managing Director of 4G Scotland
Published August/September 2014 Business Comment Magazine

Copyright 2016 4G Scotland Ltd