#DigitalCitizen Series: Digitisation in Latin America
Digitisation in Latin America
Innovation at the Forefront
As the 2016 Rio Olympics draw nearer, the eyes of the world are turning to Brazil and South America. Latin American economies have historically been exposed to global uncertainty and economic volatility. However, the region has made significant progress by exploiting technology innovation to drive economic development and sustain initiatives that accelerate and stabilise growth.
And as host to some of the world’s largest events, Latin America continues to attract industry leaders, economists, technologists, and government innovators who support that quest for change. Along with the rest of the world, Latin America is witnessing how digital technologies are not only an essential building block of society, but also a key driving force behind social, economic, and political development.
We are all fortunate to be living through – and having the responsibility to shape – an era in which ubiquitous connected information and communications have become a significant catalyst for change. But we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible and, as we observe businesses, communities, and countries progress their digital revolutions, we can better understand the ways by which technology might genuinely transform our world.
A Trip Around Latin America
This week, our digital citizen is feeling as adventurous as ever. He has decided to take a break from his typical week at work, and plans a trip through Latin America. Follow that trip to learn first-hand how technology is transforming lives in the region; with new skills, entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative services and stronger, digitally inclusive societies.
First stop is Cancún, Mexico. More than ever, information technologies are driving change in Mexico and are seen as fundamental for community transformation and social inclusion. As a Cisco Live Latin America attendee, our citizen has the opportunity to understand innovative Cisco solutions that are revolutionising the way in which governments can address common challenges, change citizen engagement, and exploit digital inclusion for maximum the economic and social impact.
Our digital citizen then hops down to Guayaquil, Ecuador. The city is Ecuador’s largest port and widely known for its delicious seafood dishes. The food is great, and everyone loves food, but our citizen wants to dive deeper and experience the lives of the people of Guayaquil. And, by immersing in the local social scene, our citizen learns that the city council wants everyone to become a ‘digital citizen’ and that the mayor is focused on equipping people with the right tools to be better prepared for the future. The Guayaquil Initiatives – including free wi-fi hotspots, connected kiosks to provide Internet access to residents, and a telemedicine program that allows patients to receive remote diagnoses and treatment by healthcare specialists – support this effort and are improving the overall community experience and increasing confidence in local government.
Next, we’re on our way to Brazil, where Rio de Janeiro is already seeing the benefits of digitisation. With the upcoming Olympics, there has been an unprecedented opportunity to re-invent the city. While roaming the City of Rio, our citizen is able to access mobile traffic and public transit information that makes his use of public transport much easier and hugely improves his travel experience. And, having witnessed an unfortunate traffic incident, he saw a very quick and efficient response that sent first responders to the scene, notified travelers, and redirected the flow of traffic. This type of response is all thanks to Rio’s Operations Centre, which monitors a huge number of information sources, and connects over fifty city agencies, to provide a more coordinated and effective response to incidents in the city .
Finally, our digital citizen ends his journey by volunteering with the Grameen Foundation’s Progress Out of Poverty Program in Haiti. Our citizen is placed on the business intelligence taskforce, which supports training and certification programs, an online resource centre and improves communications to help more partner organisations who serve people in real need. He helps the taskforce to develop, and expand the adoption of, its technology-based tools among its partner organisations so alleviating poverty, improving local financing initiatives, and facilitating mobile health solutions.
These are just a few examples of where digital transformation is genuinely changing the way people in Latin America live, work, play and learn. It is vitally important that leaders understand how such local tools and initiatives can be further exploited to change government.
Stay tuned for the next #digitalcitizen post. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.
Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your questions answered on how to become the next digital community.
Finally, we invite you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #digitalcitizen and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter.