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Digital Transformation: A Force for Equality or Inequality?


February 26, 2016

Digital transformation is a theme for our upcoming Ministers’ Roundtable next month. The Roundtable format has proven effective for government ministers to interact with peers and subject-matter experts. This isn’t a large crowded room. It’s just that – a single table with only one or two FreeBalance executives included. We believe the increasing adoption of digital technology and the transformation of business models have significant public policy implications.

Governments have been faced with more digital transformation issues and opportunities in the past 15 years than the period of the industrial revolution. Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, 5G, mesh networks, SMS, social media, bandwidths moving into the 100s of gigabytes a second – that’s an acceleration of transformation technology that makes canals, roads, steamships and railroads look quaint. And, this transformation threatens to extend inequality. A greater digital divide.

Sure, there’s an increasing adoption of mobile technology by the poor. But, the poor have to spend a much larger percentage of disposable income for this privilege than those better off. In addition, those who are better off have access to more bandwidth and more services. In other words, more opportunity.

Many governments recognize “digital transformation” could create more inequality of opportunity and more social unrest. That’s why governments are investing in digital infrastructure. Providing city-wide and county-wide Wi-Fi.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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