Since 1983, when researchers started developing the “network of networks,” which later became the Internet as we know it today, the world has been on a wave of perpetual change. Thirty-five years on, the changes catalysed by this invention have not only disrupted the way we live and communicate but also how we do business.
Our telecoms providers have made it possible for Jamaica to have one of the most advanced ICT infrastructures in the world. Therefore, when predictions were first heralded that the Internet will become as normal as electricity by 2025, Jamaica was expected to keep pace. Mobile phones have galloped this reality for us. And, while there are still places across the island that could do with improved connectivity, continued advancements in the technologies that deliver Internet along with government policies and the work of the Universal Service Fund are collaborating to ensure people are connected everywhere every day.This type of connectivity allows for greater and faster access to information and markets which facilitates business growth and a more informed and happier citizen.
I premise this argument from the vantage point of the marvellous business innovations that have been enabled by the Internet. We look at a service such as payments and it is easy to see that the ability to buy online; paying a bill on an app; making a debit or credit card payment at a point-of-sale machine in your favourite store; or utilising an ATM to transact business, are all facilitated by the Internet. As a shopper you just want to know that when you go to pay for your items your card works, and you are out of the store without thinking of what made that transaction possible. The people who are involved in ensuring that the money moves instantly from your source (whether your personal account or your credit card providers’) to the merchants’ coffers, have a very different view of that simple activity and we know the power that the Internet holds in making this possible. The businesses and business services that are involved and exist because of that simple transaction are numerous and varied.
Layer support services
We are talking software companies, security companies and numerous equipment manufacturers from different parts of the globe. Then we layer on the support services that come from Bops, lawyers, bankers and IT experts, for example, and it is clear that many complexities in delivering services in business are made simpler for the consumers by the Internet.
As a complexity-reducer the Internet has also made it easier for citizens living abroad to support their families via remittances ‘as you quint it reach’; manufacturers to improve sales, for example, by allowing remote access to inventory which closes a deal in minutes versus days; food service providers that use online platforms to fill orders; medical professionals who see patients via video communication and GPS-vehicular tracking used in fleet management. All these services are Internet enabled and are happening right now in Jamaica.
When we think about the Internet and the fact that it makes all things faster, easier, more accessible, convenient and safer the possibilities in this Internet powered world becomes quantum.
This is of course not without its dangers and reasonable concerns. But as the Internet threats increase so do the solutions to combat that get even better.
In much the same way every business is going to be impacted by software and digital technologies, the Internet will be integral in how businesses are set up, how they operate, what markets they serve and how well they serve their customers.
Well served and satisfied customers tend to be happy people who are good for business. Good business means a great economy, something our already good Internet can make even better
– William Dewar is the assistant general manager (AGM) for MC Systems. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org