What is the Digital Strategy of Your Company?

Digital revolution has started

The modern digital revolution that includes the computers, connectivity, data, mobile Phones and internet, is both disruptive and divisive. It is disruptive because it can and has changed the way people work, and in the process removed millions of jobs. It is divisive because it divides those who have technology skills from those who are technology ignorant. Those with technology skills will have promising careers and business opportunities, while those who are technology ignorant will know that their jobs are replaced by intelligent technology. This disruption and division will significantly impact the newer economies like Vietnam, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, and Brazil.

In recent years, information and communication technologies (ICT) impacted greatly socioeconomic development in developing countries. Encouraged by the development of rural IT network projects in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Philippines, the government of Vietnam focused on IT infrastructure and capacity building efforts. Under the framework of public administration reform in Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), a study was conducted in setting up Rural Telecentres to provide information to farmers in Vietnam. Farmers’ opinions and their needs in relation to agricultural and rural issues were considered in setting up 13 rural telecentres. The post-implementation survey indicated that the rural telecentres fulfilled their objectives in improving the livelihoods of rural farmers.

Till now the advanced countries have led the world in R&D in new product development. For the vast majority of consumers in the emerging markets, they consider these products as expensive, not user friendly and with many features that are not necessary. There is a need to keep the product simple that directly bring immediate benefits. There is the principle of reverse innovation that says that firms will need to start moving product development, sourcing and marketing functions overseas.

What are the Technologies that will Reshape Our Future?

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies reveals the Top 10 Emerging Technologies that could reshape our society in the future: Body-adapted Wearable Electronics, Nanostructured Carbon Composites, Mining Metals from Desalination Brine, Grid-scale Electricity Storage, Nanowire Lithium-ion Batteries, Screenless Display, Human Microbiome Therapeutics, RNA-based Therapeutics, Quantified Self (Predictive Analytics), and Brain-couter Interfaces.

Technology in Financial Services for the Unbanked Population: Most researchers agree that growth in the banking sector in terms of customers, deposits and lending is likely to come from the emerging markets. In these markets, about half the world’s adult population do not have a bank account at a formal financial institution, whether it is a bank, a savings and loan association, or a credit cooperative, according to a recent household surveys undertaken by the World Bank and Gallup. Although the emerging markets have different profiles in terms of depth of banking, many have low levels of bank usage. This offers the significant potential to engage new customers and deepen the financial sector. For example, in China only some 64 % of adults have a bank account, with lower levels in Brazil (56 %), Russia (48 %), India (35 %) and Vietnam (20 %)

Technology for Education Mass Market: There are possibly five trends that warrant our attention that will definitely affect education, especially in emerging markets because of the size of their young population. Firstly, there is the Cloud Computing. Virtual learning saves time and resources. More money and more teachers are needed for the traditional brick-and-mortar education model. For countries that have scarce financial and manpower resources, virtual learning is a good approach. Secondly, is the use of mobile technology. These mobile devices are more affordable than laptops and require little infrastructure. Thirdly, Game Based Learning as gamification has become an effective teaching and learning tool. Fourthly, it is MOOCs, Massively Open Online Courses. It allows students to learn at their own time, own pace, and free of charge.

Health Innovations and Technologies: The WHO (2011) has published a compendium of new and emerging technologies that addresses global health concerns. These technologies are likely to be suitable for use in low-income environments. The publication aims to increase dialogue between ministries of health, procurement officers, donors, technology developers, manufacturers, clinicians, academics and the general public. In doing so, WHO hopes to raise awareness of the importance for appropriate design solutions, and for further development and for the spread of technology. The compendium specifically focuses on innovative technologies that are not yet widely available in developing countries and some product concepts are still in progress. Other examples of health technology innovation for emerging markets are breathing diagnosis Lei et al. 2014) and programming a mobile phone application to perform diagnosis of Bell Palsy disorder using the House Brackmann score.

What is an Emerging Market?

The term emerging market first appeared in 1981 and was reported by economists at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) when the group promoted the first mutual fund investments in developing countries. Vietnam is definitely an emerging markets based on several definitions. It is believed that in the next 50 years, emerging markets will be twice the size of today’s economic leaders. Assuming that information technology is deployed to full effect, the populations of these countries would be wealthier, healthier and better educated. Since then, references to emerging markets have been popularized by the media, used in foreign policy and trade debates, and proliferated in investment fund prospectuses and multinationals’ annual reports. The OECD Report 2014 revealed that OECD countries on average invested 2.4 % of their GDP in R&D. In the emerging markets, China invested 1.8 % of its GDP (second highest spender on R&D in the world for 2011), followed by Brazil 1.2 % (2010), Russian Federation (1.1 %), South Africa 0.9 % (2008), India 0.8 % (2009), and Indonesia 0.1 % (2009). Although they invested less than OECD countries, China has made great progress in the last decades (OECD 2014, p. 80) (OECD 2014). The report further stated that productivity among firms in China, Indonesia, and South Africa was higher than those firms that did not have R&D spending (OECD 2014).

How will you respond to these challenges and opportunities in your industry?

Excerpt from Vong, J. and Song, I. (2015) Emerging Technologies from Emerging Markets. Springer

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