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High Speed Broadband and the Future of the Way We Do Business

IBM Australia has just released a report [1] that looks forward to the future and explores the impacts that high-speed broadband will have on Australia’s economy, as well as some aspects of Australians home lives. The report was prepared by IBISWorld, written by Phil Ruthven on behalf of IBM.

business growth

Which Industries Benefit?

26 percent of Australia’s current industry revenue will be boosted by high-speed broadband, those which are most likely to benefit include education, health and tourism services. This shift in direction for industry means that Australia could transition from a natural resource economy to a developed resource economy.

The export of services, rather than the export of raw materials, could well be the next frontier for the Australian economy. The report predicts that tourism could account for $175 billion per year in exports, which is currently the same amount that the mining industry brings into the country.

Which Industries Lose Out?

With the advent of news article proliferation throughout the internet on PCs, tablets and smartphones, newspapers are well on their way out. The challenge for the newspaper publishing industry is to successfully transition to the new format. Editors, journalists and photographers jibs should stay safe as long as the content is being transmitted online.

Other entertainment industries, such as free-to-air television channels and cinema operators might not be so lucky, with the technologies inherent to their operation becoming outdated and incompatible with the consumers methods of entertainment in the future.

How Does This Affect Australians Home Lives?

The report suggests that there will be integration of health services in the home, effectively letting you know about potential health hazards and preventing people in the household from becoming ill.  Imagine your fridge telling you what to eat to keep your heart healthy, or your treadmill letting you know how many more minutes to keep at it to reach your ideal weight in 3 months time.

Online shopping is only at the beginning of its personalisation stage, where soon the consumer will have more choices than ever before. Want to buy those running shoes you just saw Usain Bolt win the 100 metres sprint in? Perhaps a pop-up ad will appear offering you the choice to buy them directly after the race, letting you interact with a custom-colour palette, allowing you to choose the way they look. This may mark the end for the bricks and mortar retail store as we know it.

The Growing Importance of the Internet for the Average Australian

The report claims that high-speed broadband will be seen as important in the future to improving quality of life, as utilities such as electricity and water have in the past.

The average Australian household will need massive amounts of data to sustain the growth in quality and quantity of content on the internet. With High-Definition 3D movies streaming in seconds, entire video games being downloaded so you can play them instantly and the internet interacting with household appliances.

To handle these powerful new applications, Australian homes are going to require a household data allowance of 200 GB per month by 2020. Looking just ten years further down the track, by 2030 it is predicted that 5 times as much will be needed, 5 TB of data per household per month. This is reflective of the speeds that will be reached, with performances of up to 10 Gbps possible by 2050.

Stranger Than Fiction

The report explores the possibility of the human body amalgamating with the digital world. Speculations are made regarding contact lenses that enable viewing the internet at all times, using skin as a touchpad and perhaps the most ambitious of all, using neural signals instead of a keyboard. With medical technology and information technology converging, these science fiction-esque predictions may just become true.

What Does This Mean for Australian Industry?

Well, those industries that put this increase in broadband speed to good use are bound to thrive, with 10 percent of Australia’s industry set to be heavily dependent on high-speed broadband.

There is going to be less need for people to commute to work, taking cars off the roads, while also allowing workers to make more efficient use of their time. Up to 1 in 4 will be able to work from home, allowing them to spend more time with their families.

The Logical Conclusion

High-speed broadband is forecast to generate around $1 trillion in revenue for Australia in 2050, in 2012 it has generated $131 billion. Important for industries, especially those in danger, to embrace the new technology and adapt or they could end up disappearing.

In the above video, Ruthven offers a glimpse into the future by detailing the impact of high-speed broadband on industry.


[1] http://www-03.ibm.com/press/au/en/pressrelease/38034.wss

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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