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A Preview of the Digital Future

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A Preview of the Digital Future

The last two years of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic have led to immense changes in the way we use technology. While the coronavirus wreaked havoc in the real world, breaking supply chains and limiting the availability of services, it accelerated changes in the digital world that would otherwise have taken years. In 2020 and 2021 we have observed the rapid and massive integration of services that admittedly existed before, but we did not use on such a large scale.

The best example is the e-commerce sector, which was growing long before the pandemic hit. In 2018, the global e-commerce market was valued at $2.98 trillion and it grew by 13% in the following year. Back then, however, few people used services such as ordering groceries or necessities from online stores. The pandemic has forced changes in our habits. In 2020, the e-commerce market grew by 28%, compared to 2019, and is projected to be worth about $5 trillion by the end of 2021 [1]. Another noticeable change is the way we use the means of telecommunications. Until recently, meetings via video chats were the domain of IT companies and an additional way of communicating in global enterprises. Today, they are a primary means. This transformation is not only affecting almost all industry sectors – it has equally affected the education system and our private lives. Moreover, we are witnessing the emergence of new innovations, supported by modern technologies. Augmented reality and holographic telepresence are no longer the domain of science-fiction movies. These solutions are slowly being implemented today and certainly they will become even more popular in the upcoming decade.

Digitization, enforced by the pandemic, will not go away and the technologies we are using will evolve. The more we use digital tools, the more we realize how much we need to improve them. This process is inevitable. Developed countries are aware of this and are putting increased emphasis on the digital transformation. This is taking place in multiple sectors, thus enabling the economy to grow across industries. In 2020, the United States was the undisputed leader in terms of digital growth. The US has the largest knowledge base, a competitive market size, and a legal system that is prepared for the digitization. The Euler Hermes report [2] shows only one weakness of digitization in the US – the connectivity quality. In this regard, Denmark outperforms all other countries thanks to the provision of high-speed broadband Internet (NGA) to its citizens, as well as a very high degree of use of high-speed Internet connections and the highest coverage of wireless technologies in Europe. In the Euler Hermes 2020 Enabling Digitalization Index (EDI) Poland was ranked 31st. However, its standing is constantly improving, mainly due to the improvement of connectivity quality and the expansion of the knowledge base.

Both global economies and people seen as individuals are generally resistant to such far-reaching changes. In this respect, the role of the external factor has been significant. The pandemic allowed us to adapt quickly to the new way we use technology in our daily lives. From the perspective of previous years, we have taken full advantage of the time to look for solutions that will help us recover quickly. A great range of companies have accelerated investments in automation and digital transformation. In different circumstances, a number of them might have been put off or not undertaken at all. It is worth noting that the biggest problems related to the pandemic occurred in businesses that had abandoned digitization efforts in the past and failed to act early in the crisis.

Author:

Wiktor Sędkowski graduated in Teleinformatics at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, specialized in cybersecurity field. He is an expert on cyber threats. CISSP, OSCP and MCTS certificates holder. Worked as an engineer and solution architect for leading IT companies.

This article was written as part of the statutory activities of the Polish think tank Warsaw Institute. If you appreciate the content prepared by our partner, we appeal to you for financial support for this non-profit organisation.

More information:
www.warsawinstitute.org/support/

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/

[2] https://www.eulerhermes.com/content/dam/onemarketing/ehndbx/eulerhermes_com/en_BE/belgium/01-documents/2021_02_17_%20Euler%20Hermes_Digital%20resilience.pdf

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