Priority Areas and Future Trends in the Digital Economy

The Technology Strategy Board has identified ‘Digital’ as a core focus area for their current and future programmes. They define ‘Digital’ as the complex interaction of people, processes and technology that creates digital technologies – along with their socio-economic benefits.

The internet economy in the UK is growing at 10% a year and will account for 10% of GDP by 2016. We spend more per head on and over the internet than any other nation, and UK businesses are leaders in digital technology and its uses. Our computing and telecoms, software and data, broadcast and publishing industries together contribute over £100bn to our economy – yet the impact on service industries is only just beginning to be felt. 

In this fast-moving marketplace, smaller, agile companies are particularly prominent and form an ecosystem anchored by global businesses that set standards and supply chains. 

Challenges 

We already enjoy many of the benefits the digital sector can deliver, but challenges remain which prevent effective exploitation and the formation of new high-growth markets and business models. Of particular relevance for us are challenges that if left unresolved could block a whole market to a new digital product or service. Such challenges may be around monetization, quality, resilience, trust, interoperability, security or inclusion. 

Often such challenges are hard to resolve due to misaligned incentives, conflicting interests, conservatism amongst incumbents, lack of – or out-dated – regulations, lack of standards, incomplete or disjointed value chains and industry fragmentation.

Opportunities

The TSB aim to help businesses work together in new ways to create value from digital information, content and services; rapid and continuous innovation is needed to stay ahead of the changes sweeping across the digital economy.

They aim to mitigate the risks in moving ideas towards commercialisation. The confidence needed for progress can be built through networking and knowledge sharing, and working on projects moving from small-scale feasibility studies to more ambitious collaborative work.

The internet, with increasing mobile access, is fundamentally changing the way business is done. Entire new value systems will require companies to look far beyond their existing supplier and customer relationships and work with new partners to deliver the experiences that users require. Sustained co-working will be needed to create industry-wide conversations, across sectors and between service creators, suppliers and users.

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