While we were focused on preparing our CIO Travel Guide For 2012, we also prepared a set of more traditional predictions for Digital Europe and recommendations for ICT vendors as part of a “crowd-forecasting” exercise of independent ICT Analyst and “Boutiques”.
We believe that in 2012, European governments will become increasingly out of touch with digital society and disconnected from the general public. Most governments will fail to implement cloud services, perhaps for budgetary reasons, perhaps for political reasons, perhaps out of fear. As a result governments will be inefficient and digital services for citizens will remain scarce. This is all the more problematic because citizens and business have embraced digital commerce and social networking.
The threat of a digital divide keeps looming over Europe, as The Netherlands is the only European country where parliament embraced Net Neutrality and banned (mobile) operators from blocking or charging consumers extra for using Internet-based communications services like Skype or WhatsApp.
Concern about the reliability of online services will remain and Internet outages will occur and will get disproportional attention from the press. Consumers and businesses alike will increasingly be hit with security and privacy issues.
Despite the disconnected government, Europe will become increasingly dependent on the 100% uptime of critical digital functions like telecommunications, Internet, mobile networks, computing power, and access to data. Governments will need to ensure that critical digital functions will be available to citizens, government, businesses and other entities that must have access to those functions. Digital society continuity management will become an important new discipline that governments will need to master.
To successfully navigate the above, ICT vendors will need to:
- Support citizens in their quest for a digital Europe by helping governments embrace social networking, open data, and the cloud.
- Show their support for net neutrality. Consumers and businesses do not accept walled gardens on the Internet anymore. Ignore their demands at your own peril.
- Just like in food safety where the EU is regulating food traceability (from the farm to the fork), ICT vendors should be able to provide cloud traceability and track ICT deployment from the data center to the device to make sure the value chain is uncompromised.
- Help participating actors communicate to each other about dependencies in the digital supply chain and beyond.
The full set “ICT Predictions 2012”, with a particular focus on Europe, can be found here.