This annual report offers a wealth of information on the trends and developments taking place in the digital economy and in the e-health, e-education and e-government sectors. The report analyses the issues surrounding the development and growth of these services. It includes global and national statistics.
Subjects covered include:
- The importance of the smart infrastructure that the NBN will provide to these e-sectors;
- The social and economic benefits of a trans-sector approach to the development of these services;
- Digital economy market overview, analysis and statistics;
- An overview on the e-health market including analysis and statistics;
- An overview on the e-education market with developments, analysis and statistics;
- An overview on the e-government market with some key facts and figures;
- Information on the involvement of the key market players.
Researchers:- Paul Budde, Stephen McNamara, Kylie Wansink
Current publication date:- April 2013 (6th Edition)
Transforming the social sectors
Parallel to the rollout of the national broadband network (NBN) the government also has its National Digital Economy Strategy.
Based on the trans-sector model the NBN will become the shared infrastructure for a range of sectors such as e-health, e-education, smart grids, e-government, digital economy, digital media, etc. The first release sites are playing a key role in testing this concept, while at the same time allowing organisations to obtain first-hand experience in building the digital economy.
A new way of thinking will be required to guide us through the next stage of human evolution, and the trans-sector approach to the NBN will be critical infrastructure in this process. In this report we draw attention to the importance of looking across sectors to create synergy.
We are convinced that convergence offers unprecedented digital productivity opportunities if the NBN is linked to trans-sector innovation, creating a true digital economy. Such a parallel strategy can break through the many silo-based structures that have been created over the last 50 years. And it can break through the inflexible vertically-integrated structures that increase costs and impede competition and innovation.
Such an approach will most likely result in economic and social benefits worth many billions of dollars and, as we are already seeing, it will create significant new business opportunities for Australian companies. In healthcare alone there is talk of savings worth more than $10 billion, and $2 billion in smart grid.
This report also discusses a new approach, which applies across infrastructure projects and looks at the potential synergies between the building of roads, sewerage systems and water and gas pipe networks, as well as telecoms and electricity networks.
Education, information and ongoing community engagement are critical in ensuring that the projects receive the widespread support needed to make them successful. Adaptation issues, plus a review of silo-based regulations, funding mechanisms and legal barriers, need to be addressed.
E-health is becoming an area where killer applications that utilise truly high-speed broadband networks emerge. In both early diagnosis and after-treatment patient monitoring significant synergies may be found using applications provided to users at home.
As the financing of the public health systems in Australia becomes increasingly costly an opportunity exists to lower costs through more effective use of web services for healthcare consumers. With widely available and cost-effective high-speed broadband infrastructure e-health is enabling customers to benefit from advances in medical technology and medical services.
While broader economic conditions in Australia remain subdued, spending on e-health solutions is likely to continue.
Progress remains relatively slow and low key, but the sheer number of new e-health initiatives that have been undertaken over the last few years is significant. However, unlike the USA for instance, where e-health is driven by health insurance companies and private health care organisations, the developments in Australia are predominantly led by government initiatives.
Dozens of NBN and other e-health-related pilot programs are now underway, some linked to the Medicare reforms, which provide health insurance coverage for selected video consults in rural and regional areas, as well as projects linked to the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
The latter is a secure, electronic record of a person’s individual medical history, stored and shared in a network of connected systems. The PCEHR will bring key health information from a number of different systems together and present it in a single view. Progress has been disappointing, with a possible review and relaunch needed to push it to the next level.
Education is seen as one of the key sectors that will benefit from developments in the digital economy, but so far the results of adaptation have been mixed. While new ICT equipment has entered the classroom it is being used within the traditional classroom learning system. In order to fully utilise these new technologies a true industry transformation will need to take place.
Good examples can be found in developing economies, where there are little or no traditional systems in place. There, for example, children are using smartphone apps and the internet to bypass these traditional systems and are basically using the new technology for self-education. Schools are then adapting to these new circumstances. Freely available educational material from many school and university websites around the world is assisting this development.
It is most unlikely that the traditional education system will be able to cater for the massive requirements that lie ahead of society in relation to the rapid changes in skill and knowledge requirements. Digital adaptation will be needed to break through the old structures.
The use of IT and telecommunications technology within educational environments is set to increase dramatically over the coming years as high-speed fibre-based broadband becomes widely available in Australia. Simultaneously, the capability of internet services dedicated to e-education purposes will increase enormously over the next decade as well. Australia, with its large landmass and relatively small population, is an ideal market for remote education services, and as such Australia is home to many successful e-education service providers, as well as being a relatively important export market for e-education services.
The Australian government already provides Australians with sophisticated e-government services and, as with education, the establishment of a fibre-based broadband network may see the government improve and broaden the range of web services that it is responsible for. Australia, therefore, is a fascinating and relatively advanced market for both e-education and e-government services.
This report discusses related telecommunications infrastructure developments, as well as trends and innovation related to e-education and e-government services. In the report we provide information and analysis, an overview of survey results, with some statistics throughout the text in tabular, easy-to-read chart formats.
Many e-government services on offer around the world already provide citizens with relatively sophisticated services and the establishment of a fibre-based broadband network may see governments improve and broaden the range of web services even further. In addition, mobile services are being incorporated in service offerings and cloud computing is becoming integrated. The Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M will also impact upon this sector.