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@ThingsExpo: Article

Low-Cost IT for the Global IoT

We now measure the total development challenge faced by 102 nations

Twitter is fun for me, if for no other reason than I "meet" many wildly interesting people through it. I've developed deep professional relationships through initial contacts on Twitter.

But like many of you, I'm sure, I also have numerous Twitter friends whom I've never met, and some with whom I've never spoken.

One of the latest is Dana Blouin (@danablouin), presumably an American who is currently studying for a PhD at Thammasat University in Thailand in the area of low-power wireless IPv6 networks. I say "presumably" as all his past education was in various locations in the US, including the Univ of Wisconsin-Stout, located more or less in the backyard of my office in Northern Illinois.

From the arctic to the tropics. And he's into the Internet of Things

I spent three years in Southeast Asia, from a base in Manila, Philippines, where my Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies is formally based.

My experience there led to the research, and I've worked since that time with a small team to divine which nations of the world - especially developing nations - are doing the most with what they have to develop robust ICT infrastructures.

Lower Cost = Good Thing
Dana's research may dovetail nicely with that of the Tau Institute, as it leads to the idea of lower cost technology deployment, which should provide a higher relative advantage for lower income countries as they build out their Information Age economies.

Low-power technology also reduces the energy footprint on a global basis as well, and will benefit all of its deployers and users. The amount of electricity generation the world will need to bring all of its citizens to a reasonable lifestyle is daunting. The Philippines, for example, uses only 3% of the electricity per capita required by the developed world.

The percentage is similar for at least half of the world's 7 billion people. It will simply be impossible to bring all of the world up to the developed level of consumption. Lowering power requirements is more of a key in raising the global economy than any method of raising power generation, in my view. Think of this as a supply-side economic idea that works.

What's Going On Right Now?
I write all these prefacing remarks as a segue to some of our latest research, which is measuring how quickly the 102 nations that we study are upgrading their ICT infrastructures in terms of Internet speed and access. We now measure the instantaneous change, i.e., how much acceleration and dynamism is going on right now.

The challenges faced by each of the nations we cover differ by degree and composition. We have the ability to create custom reports for specific countries and regions. There is a lot of nuance in the data as we dive into it, and I'm happy to have discussions with anyone who's interested.

Most of our analysis is done on a relative, per person basis. That say, a countries with small populations such as, say, Estonia, New Zealand, and Chile can be compared fairly with giants such as Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil.

However, we now have algorithms and data that take population into account. The goal is to find which countries face the most daunting challenges. (We can also determine the least daunting challenges for those who want to know).

As Dana Blouin and many others work away at improving technology and its affordability, we can help determine the difficulty of its use throughout the world.

And the "Winners" Are...
Today, the most daunting challenges - or perhaps this could be stated as the greatest opportunity - can be found in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Cote D'Ivoire, Tanzania, and India, according to our research. Each has a combination of population, dynamism, and relative under-development that presents a significant challenge.

Among these, Tanzania and Ethiopia have the most aggressive deployment on a relative basis per capita.

Within the highest income tier of the developed world, countries with significant momentum but also significant challenges in achieving more ICT development include Italy, the United States, Japan, and Spain. In the lower income tier of the developed world, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Oman hit the radar screen the most prominently.

Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in diving down into the numbers, learning how we make our determinations, and what value they have for you.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the fruits of all the labors from Dana Blouin and all like-minded individuals around the world.

Contact Me on Twitter

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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