The Networked Society – Opportunities or threats

Ny bild (9)The term The Networked Society is use by the global telecom equipment and service provider Ericsson. The term is used to depict their vision of the future use of communication technologies and it’s fundamental impact on our lives. The core of and basis for this prediction is a society where everything that can benefit from a connection will have one. We have all for many years seen futuristic and rather tech centric illustrations of a society fully utilizing the potential of IT  like the Networked Society Film by Ericsson, but also by many other IT and telecom companies. But these illustrations of the future do seem far less futuristic today, given the high penetration of smart devices and the general acceptance of IT in all parts of the society and age groups. The impact of telecom has for instance been essential to the development of Africa and in democratization movements around the globe.

Let’s assume that the vision of the Networked society holds and that it’s actually not that far away. As an example, the Danish and World’s largest shipping company Mearsk Line have connected all their vessels supported by Ericsson. This is an example of business that is new to Ericsson but that may not seem that futuristic. But what if this trend continues and all fright containers should be connected and possible to managed remotely, all cars, all suitcases etc. We quite quickly end up in a situation where the number of connected items increase 10, 100 or even 1000 times compared to the number of mobile devices today. What implication will this have? How will this change the communications market? New roles and business models? And what do actually benefit from being connected? What may drive this development and what are your concerns? Assuming that we want to have much more connected compared to today, what needs to be in place to make this work well and how would you like to pay for the value this is creating for you? Any concerns about integrity? So will it actually happen at all or is this just the engineers dream of the future?

3 responses to “The Networked Society – Opportunities or threats

  1. In the Maersk article, the word “efficiency” is repeated several times. I wonder what the benefits of this mobile connectivity installation are in numbers. How much will Maersk save? What is the payback-time of the installation?
    Addressing the question of increased number of items that communicate with each other, I would guess that this development must benefit Ericsson enormously. Maybe this is why they are driving this ‘campaign’ “The Networked Society”. Increased data traffic as a consequence of increased level of “internet of things” will absolutely benefit Ericsson. But I think that the figures of cost reductions from having a system where different “things” communicate with each other often are diffuse and hard to measure, and an investment with a payoff-time that is hard to estimate. Even so, I think that the communication between things will increase, and so Ericsson’s position in the value-chain is a good one.

    Perhaps I will see more benefits of “the Networked society” during the next few days.

  2. Pingback: An Introduction to the Information Age. Manuel Castells. | CSA·

  3. Pingback: The Network Society: From Knowledge to Policy. Manuel Castells | CSA·

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