Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Societal digital infrastructure -- a term I am coining to capture the concept of fundamental software-powered services and corresponding data structures needed to ensure basic interoperability of services and information exchange at the societal level. For eg in Norway there are a number of different secure registers for companies, vehicles, individuals, properties, insurance claims, securities etc. These registers are used by businesses and government to simplify business and public sector services. For loan processing, insurance claims management, tax returns management etc

For example: I can, at any time check, if a vehicle I wish to buy is put up as collateral for a loan. See Previously this service was manual, it is now digitized and offering many usage scenarios. Used together with other similar services, this offers almost limitless opportunities.

I believe these services and registers will offer a competitive advantage to societies through the exploitation of machine-to-machine communication. This can open the path for a unique value proposition. Caveat: The service needs to interoperate at the global level -- so what we need is a Business equivalent of the DNS and ICANN; some kind of agency that manages the registers and unique identifiers.

Developing and exporting the usage of these services to developing countries could be a unique business opportunity :-) --- there is ofcourse a significant investment needed in building trust and transparency that is a prerequisite so that such services can thrive.

This is an evolutionary process, in the same way mobile telephony and IP has taken to gain momentum ...

So will there be professional Societal Digital Infrastructure Service Providers? I think so...

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