In a report released in June 2015, the OECD assesses how countries can maximize the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth, and discusses the evolutions in the digital economy that policy makers need to consider as well as the emerging challenges they need to address as a part of national digital strategies.
- Among the key messages in the report are the slower uptake rates of small companies, which are lagging behind larger companies. These smaller companies show lower rates of connection to broadband, web presence, participation in e-commerce, uptake of resource planning software and uptake of cloud computing. This means that policy makers have an important role to play in assessing the barriers the SMEs they face and promoting uptake of ICTs.
The report highlights transformative changes ahead, especially in data analytics and the Internet of Things. It estimates there will be 14 billion connected devices in OECD homes by 2022.
The infrastructure is progressing quickly, but there is plenty of potential for even greater expansion.
- Broadband markets are continuing to grow, especially for mobile, while fixed broadband prices per Mbps, as well as mobile broadband baskets for smartphones, are decreasing significantly.
- Safeguarding the Open Internet is key. Governments should continue and renew their efforts to protect competition, lower artificial barriers to entry and strengthen regulatory coherence. Competition in the digital economy is being challenged by the convergence of fixed/mobile/broadcasting networks and by the integration of business models among telecommunication providers and new Internet players. Bundled voice, video and data offers are also impacting competition. These changes necessitate regulatory reform in most countries.
- There is a need to build the trust that is critical to online economic and social interactions. Users still have concerns about security and privacy risks of digital products and services, and data security breaches continue to be a significant problem. Additional steps must be taken, including supplementing cybersecurity strategies with national strategic approaches to privacy, along with incorporating a whole-of-society perspective with the flexibility to capitalize on technological developments such as data analytics and the Internet of Things.