Why is an interconnected industry important?

13. 12. 2020 Sunday / By: Robert Denes / Generic / Exact time: BST / Print this page

Read this post in which Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark writes about why an connected industry is important in 2020 during a pandemic. Pekka describes below his own perspective on how working from home has become the norm in everyday life in 2020.

  • For many of us, working from home became the norm in 2020. And the commute from the house to the office was replaced by a shuffle from bed to desk.

  • But for all that, what percentage of the locked-down workforce could do their jobs from where they live?

  • Despite decades of the internet, constant connectivity and incredible smartphone penetration, the answer is just ten percent; and overwhelmingly those with steadier, more white-collar jobs. The other 90 percent didn’t have that luxury.

  • This digital divide is visible elsewhere too.

  • Seven in ten factories have no “smart” elements, meaning workers in those factories find it harder to social distance.

  • And e-commerce accounts for only about 16 percent of retail sales. Meaning many vulnerable people must still visit crowded shops and towns, even if they feel unsafe.

  • Why is that?

    An uneven revolution

    Let's rewind a few decades.

    The explosion in computing in the 1990s saw about 70 percent of private IT investment flow to digital industries – banks, marketing and so on – often associated with higher salaries and white-collar jobs.

    That was fine in principle, as long as those sectors also provided around 70 percent of private employment. But the real figure was more like 30 percent.

    The big employers were the so-called physical industries, including farming, manufacturing and healthcare. Despite their outsize role in job creation, they had to make do with relatively scant ICT investment. And as a result, productivity, profits and pay went up in those white-collar sectors. Elsewhere, they stagnated.

    But there is good news.

    Because while overall ICT spend is projected to grow at around 6.5 percent annually over the next decade, it will be weighted towards those critical physical industries. The historic 70/30 ratio will flip to more like 35/65 in favor of those hospitals, factories and farms.

    Why now?

    The obvious question is: why are we so sure that this is the turning point?

    The answer is: because recent advances in connectivity have unlocked capabilities that are particularly relevant to physical industry.

    For example, some of those advances include network latency and reliability down to the sixth decimal point; sensors everywhere, collecting real-time data; software and analytics to crunch that data; and machine learning to ensure a continually improving...read more

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