Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to return to my home country and participate in theGeorgetown Global Forum in Madrid. The event brought together leaders from the business world, entrepreneurs, academics, and more, interested in discussing the challenges facing Spain and how to position the country in the coming decades.
The panel that I joined specifically focused on how Spain is being perceived from abroad. Since 2007, Spain has experienced challenging times – both economic and political. The economic downturn has been especially difficult for Spain’s youth. Today, unemployment in the country for those under 25 is at 53.6 per cent. They have been called the “lost generation.”
So how do we help drive more economic growth in Spain? How do we lower the unemployment rate for its youth? We can look to connectivity.
As President for AT&T Wholesale Solutions, I lead a global organization of professionals responsible for delivering a full portfolio of end-to- end voice, data, mobility, IP, outsourcing and professional services solutions to wholesale customers throughout the world.
We work with our customers in developed and developing countries, so it is always fascinating to see the diversity of creative solutions to challenges in our rapidly evolving communications landscape. I’ve seen first-hand how the Internet changed the way we manage our lives, connect with others and operate our businesses.
As we look to the next decade, connected devices and the Internet of Things are going to give us unprecedented control of our lives. We’re going to be connected in ways we can’t imagine. A recent report by Pew Research provides a few examples of what we can expect from the Internet of Things by 2025:
• Remote control apps that allow users’ phones to monitor and adjust household activities—from pre-heating the oven to running a bath to avoiding a water leak or fire.
• Smart cities where ubiquitous sensors and GPS readouts allow for vastly smoother flows of traffic.
• Sensored roadways, buildings, bridges, dams that give readings on their state of wear and tear and provide alerts when repairs or upgrades are needed.
• Trash cans that signal when they need to be emptied. Alarm clocks that start the coffee maker.
From an economic perspective, we’re just starting to see on how the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine technologies will impact our economies but it’s clear the mobile Internet will continue to be a significant driver of growth and job creation. Europe’s app economy is already driving growth – EU developers took in €17.5 billion in revenue in 2013, and that’s forecasted to increase to €63 billion in five years.
Spain can play a big role in this next wave of technology. It’s a country full of creative geniuses. By creating a culture that drives innovation, investing in a highly-skilled workforce, and developing growth-oriented public policies, Spain can take full advantage of the digital economy. And, I am optimistic about its future.