What Makes Up the Digital Economy
A relatively new term is gaining steam as dominant technology trends converge into an entity that is larger than even the Internet: the digital economy.
Around a year ago, we really started seeing an increase in the use of the term digital economy as we were researching technology trends for the IT Business Edge site. Basically, it is what it sounds like it is: an economy based on digital components. But technology moves so quickly that the term may already be somewhat obsolete. The digital economy and the traditional economy are merging so successfully that it can be difficult to see where they separate.
And that's a good thing. One of the inherent benefits of the digital economy is that walls come down, and options become endless. If a technology can accomplish a goal, in other words, it will be accomplished.
Let's take a look at the technology trends that make up the digital economy.
Big Data: Combining Unstructured and Structured Data
Key to the growth of the digital economy is Big Data, with which companies combine unstructured and structured data, in real time, in order to glean business insights. That’s the ideal, anyway. IT professionals, with and without training in data analysis or data science, alongside their peers in other parts of the business, are tasked with identifying the data sets that are available, what new insight could be learned from them, and how to quickly extract and apply those insights to improve products, sales and markets. Right now, the use of machine learning tools helps humans perform complex analysis at the speeds the business requires, and even allows components of platforms to manage themselves for maximum performance. It's predicted that machines will soon truly learn and, with that artificial intelligence, program each other.
Internet of Things (IoT) Creates New Tangible and Data Product
Discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) involve huge numbers. Suffice it to say that we are well on our way to having hundreds of billions of connected machines, devices, sensors and vehicles sharing date directly with one another, without human involvement. One of the most crucial aspects of the digital economy, the Internet of Things is creating new tangible and data products, new data analysis jobs, and new security threats that will have to be dealt with on the fly. It is driving change in the data center, where scalability and maximum efficiency will be necessary to deal with IoT data storage and processing.
Cloud Services For Rapidly Growing Data Storage and Analysis
While eliminating the local data center is not yet possible or comfortable for most enterprises just yet, many will be watching companies like Netflix, as it transitions fully to the public cloud for everything, including its content delivery network (CDN). Barring that commitment, private and hybrid cloud options are allowing organizations to ease into rapidly growing data storage and analysis loads.
Ecommerce: Making Use of New Channels
While ecommerce may come to mind first when we hear the term "digital economy," because of the immense processing demands that it can put on systems, that is not the only major impact it is having. Communication and the entire concept of customer service are both being turned on their heads now. Those companies that make use of multiple communication and troubleshooting channels in order to perfect ordering, tracking, upgrading/downgrading services and more will survive.
Kachina Shaw is managing editor for IT Business Edge and has been writing and editing about IT and the business for 15 years. She writes about IT careers, management, technology trends and managing risk. Follow Kachina on Twitter @Kachina and on Google+
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