There are still billions of people unconnected to digital telecommunications, including increasingly growing aging populations and people in developing countries.
Today, UN World Telecommunication & Information Society Day (WTISD), aims to spread awareness about the social changes caused by the evolution of the Internet and new communication technologies. And it is the ideal time for information and communication technologies (ICT) companies to step accelerate their efforts.
ICTs play a central role in making these digital technologies accessible for aging and underserved populations globally, addressing the challenges in to ensure equal and universal access to these technologies.
Access to the Internet: a vital prerequisite
Of course, a lot has already been done, including the deployment of the newest generation of land-based mobile network technologies, like 5G, the provision of fiber-based connectivity solutions, and satellite connectivity in the more remote areas.
But, according to market research company Statista the number of Internet users worldwide was 4.9 billion in early 2021, which puts the global internet penetration rate at only 59%. Gender, generational and affordability gaps remain a huge challenge.
The past two years of global pandemic have once more underlined the vital importance of Internet access for society. People were forced to work from home, schools turned to on-line education, key health-care services had to serve patients online. The pandemic showed that access to digital technologies is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a moral obligation and essential for global prosperity and sustainability.
The United Nations has defined ambitious goals to provide vital Internet access for everyone around the globe by 2030. A lot more work is needed to achieve this goal. And this includes the more than 1 billion people aged 60 years or older, which is where this year’s WTISD places the spotlight on.
It’s not about technology, it’s about people’s lives
Ensuring access to the Internet, along with vital technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and the Internet-of-things, is the foundation for tapping into limitless opportunities to impact people’s lives. It provides the essential fabric to further improve the way you live, work, are educated and interact with others.
Take aging: ICTs play a key role in achieving healthier aging. This includes providing remote patient care and ensuring easy access to it, but also helping people build smarter, more accessible cities. Digital technologies can help combat age-based discrimination at the workplace, ensure financial inclusion of older persons, and support millions of caregivers across the world.
The vast potential that ICTs possess to enrich people’s lives can only materialize by enabling an older generation to continue to participate and contribute in a meaningful way to society – in an age-friendly digital environment. This means making technology solutions easily accessible, understanding the needs of each group in society, and reflecting that in how digital services are offered, providing automated solutions where possible.
At the same time, ICTs can help to ensure that digital technologies are used in a secure way, fighting misinformation and the exploitation of personal data. In technology terms this means providing access while bringing available data together and using it in a meaningful way – focusing on ease of use and excellent end-user experiences and building a safe environment for all generations. With our API management, integration and process mining & management solutions we at Software AG can help ICTs build a more sustainable, inclusive, and accessible world for people.