Singapore topped the Networked Society City Index… The NSCI Index [.pdf] looks at how 25 major cities are using technologies to grow and manage themselves. The index shows that cities which put technology to use more effectively are the ones that have a better grip on “environmental management, infrastructure, public security, health-care quality and education.”
The study lauds Brazil’s Sao Paulo as an up-and-coming city that has used technology very effectively. The impact of mobile too cannot be underscored, the study finds.
They improve access to people, in particular family and relatives, but also help people make and save money. Mobile services, particularly in low-earning segments, enable people to become more entrepreneurial. They can increase profits by, for instance, cutting out middlemen when selling their harvests, and save money by avoiding lengthy travel…
It is part of a larger trend of putting technology to work outside the realm of corporations. The productivity revolution’s first beneficiaries were big companies, and now we beginning to see schools, consumers and even governments start to think about technology as a productivity enhancement tool.
While productivity in the business sense is about maximizing profits, productivity from a civic perspective is about better resource management. As we become more networked and our devices can generate data, we can start to look at a future where technology tries to reduce waste.
The process is a dialectic – or can become one when more than one side of the equation participates. There is a PBS special starting to appear this weekend which compares existing broadband in the Netherlands, the UK and the United States – and what the next directions of growth will be. Where there is the political will.
Currently, the Netherlands enjoys broadband on average 20 times faster than the United States. They are plowing fiber-optic into the ground as fast as possible to increase those speeds another 20-fold. The short film also examines the path in the UK from 2 non-competitive sources for Web access to hundreds of choices and the concurrent growth in speed. Companies like AT&T and Vodafone – which support the UK model in the UK – works as hard as they can in the United States to stifle competition, expansion and faster speeds outside of their own managed systems.
So, how fast are speeds growing in your neck of the prairie? What are your friendly neighborhood politicians doing to hasten access to really big internet pipes? Do they even mention expansion of business opportunities derived from real broadband?