The Duluth Tribune News recently posted an editorial from Jim Kohlenberger. He is a former White House policy adviser to two U.S. presidents and is president of JK Strategies, a public policy consulting practice. He currently serves on the advisory board for Mobile Future. He’s based in Washington, D.C.
He notes the power of the Internet…
As one of the greatest equalizers of our age, broadband connections give any child, regardless of geography or income, a chance to reach a hand across a smartphone or keyboard to access the same broad universe of knowledge. It means that any rural or remote business with a good idea and an Internet connection can become the corner store in the global economy. Notably, in both big cities and harder-to-reach communities, wireless broadband is extending this opportunity by giving us the ability to connect anywhere, anytime, to do almost anything.
And the opportunities we are losing…
We’ve all seen how powerful the Internet has been, creating as much economic growth in the last 15 years as the industrial age did in 50 years. But we’ve only seen a fraction, about 10 percent, of what the broadband revolution has to deliver. Today, only 1 percent of the things that can be connected are connected. By 2020, some predict as many as 50 billion connected devices, meaning this smart revolution will spread from the palm of your hand to smart cars, smart meters, smart buildings, smart cities and literally everything around us. This connected revolution will mean a complete and utter transformation of our economy. And for consumers, it will be especially empowering, putting us in charge of more of the physical world around us.
For policymakers, the mobile revolution opens up huge opportunities to help solve some of our most pressing policy challenges — smart sensors that can help us cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, smart cities that can improve quality of life, connected cars that can cut car fatalities in half, and a connected world that can help create thousands of jobs. As I travel the country, I see communities that are looking for opportunities to become the next Silicon Valley — for connected agriculture, connected health care or digital manufacturing.
Kohlenberger represents the mobile industry. It is interesting to hear his predictions on the Internet of Things (devices managed online) and sobering to realize how far rural areas may fall behind if they don’t have the broadband to take advantage of it. It’s going to take robust wired connections to support the last mile wireless options.