I’m headed to London this week, to talk to people about the future of cloud computing. Although innovation and progress today spread more uniformly throughout the world more quickly than in the past, there are still some severe discrepancies in technology adoption.
For example, the United States will be the site of more than half of all global cloud budgets in 2013, according to different reports I’ve read, even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population and about 25% of the world’s IT budget.
Our research at the Tau Institute over these past few months has shown differences of 10X among how nations score on a logarithmic scale – a difference of 1,000 times on an unadjusted numerica scale. Broadband connectivity ranges from close to zero percent to more than 40 percent. The highest average speeds are more than 30X the slowest. And the difference in the number of dataservers per capita has a range of several-thousand-X.
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Yet the world is your technology marketplace today. It’s not uncommon for large enterprises have sources, contractors, and locations in 100+ countries. I knew an open-source software entrpreneur who had developers in Pakistan several years ago. Today, I’m working with a small developer who has a small team in the fifth-largest tech area in the Philippines – not the primary area in Metro Manile, or even in the country’s “second city” in Cebu, but in an emerging area in the south of the country.
I’ve met several entrepreneurs who are now working in Tanzania, others who are focusing on Ghana.
Our own research shows strong potential in such far-flung areas as Ukraine, Jordan, Uganda, and Mongolia.
As I’ve written before, the United States does not score especially well in our research. Rising income equality, a worsening primary and secondary educational system, and a lack of commitment to customer service by the major telcos are all conspiring to make the US a laggard compared to Canada in its own region, and to a few dozen other countries throughout the world. Cloud technology is being pioneered in the US, and being adopted here more quickly on an absolute basis.
But I’m looking forward to returning to Southeast Asia next year, and traveling to other parts of the world in search of true dynamism within the world of ICT. I’ll report back on what my colleagues in London have to say. London is among the most global of cities, and still in the absolute top tier of economic influence in the world. The UK, by the way, does well in our research, especially in comparison to its Western European neighbors. It will be fun to hear what people think when I meet up with them.