This post is by Caroline Guillaume (Vice President, Solution Sales, Asia Pacific, Gemalto)
The advancements in technology over the last decade or so are having a profound impact on the lives of many people around the world. Every day, digital technologies are creating new ways for people to work, play, transact and communicate with each other. These developments are making people’s lives more convenient. On a larger scale, they are ushering in the dawn of a digital society.
A digital society can be defined as a community where the creation, distribution, uses and integration of information is able to create significant social, economic and cultural value. We are seeing many digital societies emerging, especially in areas with high-tech clusters such as Singapore, as well as around the Silicon Valley area.
There are many factors behind this trend, which are coming together at just the right time to enable digital societies to thrive – such as the explosion of smart devices, and the pervasiveness of online services. But one of the most crucial amongst all these is the development of advanced, high-speed mobile communications infrastructure, which enables more complex interactions to occur online. This high-speed internet access – more commonly known as Long Term Evolution or LTE – offers data speeds of approximately 400 per cent faster than 3G networks and is growing at an astonishing rate. By 2017, it is expected that there will be approximately one billion LTE connections, up from 176 million LTE connections at the end of 2013. Nearly 500 LTE networks are forecast to be in service across 128 countries, roughly double the number of live LTE networks today. With more end-users ditching landline connections, mobility and mobile networks will become the lifeline of telecom operators’ revenues in the future, and we can expect LTE networks to grow in the coming years.
This abundance of connections and high data speeds create two enablers. The first is that people are now constantly connected to the internet, from almost anywhere. This enables enterprising individuals or corporations to leverage the data generated by an individual’s activities and use it to create new services. One of the best examples of this is in transport, with smarter taxi booking applications like GrabTaxi in Singapore, to information sharing tools like Waze that make one’s commute less of a hassle.
The second enabler is that that larger packets of information can now be sent. This enables more innovative services that were previously not possible to implement due to the smaller bandwidth on 2G or 3G data networks. For example, Gemalto has worked with Audi to enable the first-to-market 4G in-car entertainment system, with features such as multimedia streaming and downloads, advanced navigation with street-level imagery streamed to the vehicle and a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot for up to eight devices.
Both these enablers come together to enable services and solutions that allow communities to take the leap to become a digital society. But with users constantly having to share their personal data with service providers in order to enjoy the benefits of this digital society, the importance of trust cannot be overstated—it is crucial for the success of this model for data to be openly available.
So, how can trust be built? Well, for members of the public to share their data with complete confidence, the data streams need to be secure. And this is where a security comes into play. Having a secure LTE communications network will give consumers and businesses confidence that the data they create will only be shared with the people to which they have given permission. And that is where digital security providers like Gemalto can add value. By playing the role of an enabler that enables the creation and implementation of services and solutions that power a digital society.
According to the GSMA, the global LTE market is poised at a tipping point with many developing markets starting to make the move to LTE networks in larger numbers, with forecasts of double-digit annual growth. This rapid infrastructure development creates opportunities for various communities, states and nations to advance to a digital society. However, it is crucial to remember that the role of security will be the cornerstone that enables this evolution, and should be the main consideration for any individual or organisation looking to develop digital services for society.