As we seek to build back flourishing global economies, technology has a key role to play as an inclusive and unifying bridge to our digital futures.
As recovery ambitions and investments filter through to vital digital transformations, global collaboration, determination, and collective innovation must be called upon to turn the vision for a better, and more equitable world into reality. The consequences of today’s decisions will impact generations to come, and we owe it to them to build societies and economies fit for digital native generations.
Harsh realities require strong collaboration
There are plenty of challenges along this path of recovery. The WEF Global Risks 2022 report forecast that by 2024 the global economy will be 2.3% smaller than it would have been without the pandemic.
That’s without considering the impact of current global, geopolitical uncertainties, conflict, and unrest. But implemented well, technology and digital-led businesses can help reduce this impact, creating jobs and economic opportunity across the world. As we seek to build back flourishing global economies, and address some of the most pressing challenges facing society, technology has a leading role to play as an inclusive and unifying bridge to our digital futures.
This will be particularly important as we adapt to meet the evolving needs of a world engulfed in a climate crisis. The annual Global Trends Report by the United Nations found that nearly 5 million people in India were internally displaced due to climate change and disasters in 2021. By 2050, the number is projected to reach around 1.2 billion people globally, while vital ecosystems which are critical to both the planet’s prosperity and people’s livelihoods will continue to deteriorate, without significant action.
The challenge is large, but as we learned with the pandemic, when we truly invest and apply ourselves to a global problem – technology can speed up the pathway to solutions.
Tech-enabled solutions to global challenges
The technology industry has the capability to take on these challenges and start making a genuine impact. With emerging technologies maturing and powering critical innovations, they can help to bring hope right when we need it most. AI can help transform healthcare, and edge computing can unleash the full power of IoT for environmental monitoring and climate modelling, transport, and sustainable resource management. And with 5G connectivity rolling out in many countries, the possibilities really are endless – particularly when built on a solid foundation of cyber resiliency and data storage through multi cloud infrastructure.
The increased demand for connectivity will require more data transfer power akin to 5G. Intelligent platforms at edge and faster network, together, varying but connected systems will enable huge amounts of data to be wirelessly processed in real-time—anywhere in the world, providing ability to make intelligent data-based decisions faster.
More importantly, Edge computing also plays a crucial role of enabling digital transformation on a sustainable pathway to help reduce global emissions up to 15% by 2030 – further helping businesses to cut costs, energy usage, emissions, and waste by optimising processes and better utilisation of resources. From energy distribution to challenges in food provisioning, IoT applications powered by 5G offer many other innovative solutions to sustainability. Digitally enhancing our cities by empowering the Indian citizens and laying a robust knowledge economy foundation will be another critical area where Edge computing will come into play. An Invest India report highlights that cities contribute about 63% of the GDP, which is expected to increase to 70% by 2030. Leveraging 5G connectivity, IoT and data analytics innovations can provide critical information that will further enable crowd management and ensure smarter governance – using technology and data resolutely to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.
Building sustainable 5G networks is a massive undertaking that requires considerable public and private support for new infrastructure, devices, and services. However, despite the premium cost, it’s critical to future-proof the economy and sustain competitiveness. Further, 5G’s open innovation platform will also enable India to move closer to its vision of Digital India.
Beyond solutions, the skills gap remains a top concern for C-level executives and is increasingly becoming a board-level priority. According to the India Skills Report 2022, 75% of Indian organisations have reported a skill gap at their workplace. While the digital-first economy presents significant growth opportunities to the organisations, it also creates a critical need for new talent with significant expertise in cybersecurity, AI, cloud computing, blockchain and DevOps. India’s digital talent is now growing 5x faster than core tech talent, however, despite this quantum growth the demand- supply gap for digital talent is expected to increase over 3.5x by 2026.
These innovative solutions rely on human progress. It is our responsibility as an industry to drive the reduction in this skills gap, but we can’t do it alone. To unleash the full power of transformational technologies and to truly share those benefits with everyone, private and public sector commitment to work together to turbocharge digital skills growth, and tech infrastructure for the long term is vital. This means maximising the power of technology through adoption of 5G, AI, and Edge Computing underpinned by robust cyber solutions to ensure we are ready, and future-proofed for the economies of tomorrow.
In order to maximise the potential of people and our ever-evolving tech solutions for economic progress, we need to ensure our skills capabilities are developing and progressing at a similar scale and speed. Human progress is integral to our digital progress.
As we enter the implementation and practical stage of our recovery with ambitions for a new era of growth – determination, partnership, and a shared vision, based on trust and collaboration for our future, is key. This is inclusive of citizens, public, and private sector entities. Only by working collaboratively can we make recovery a reality, and deliver a digital first economy, underpinned by sustainability, skills, and inclusivity for all. Global societies are at a turning point, with the digital solutions needed to navigate and thrive for this decade now at our disposal - this is a critical moment of opportunity, and one we must collectively grasp.
- The author is Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Dell Technologies India