The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a report on how new technologies open up opportunities for leapfrogging in developing countries. Leapfrogging is the concept of ‘bypassing intermediate stages of technology through which countries have historically passed during the development process’. However, it necessitates innovation policies to uphold the deployment of frontier technologies and their adaptation to meet their needs and promote sustainable development. The report notes that rapid technological advances and cost reductions in ICT have enabled some developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, to skip the development of landline infrastructure by moving directly to mobile telecommunications. According to the report, countries need strategic innovation policies, sound infrastructure and institutions, and appropriate technological standards to promote leapfrogging.
The impact of the Internet on businesses and the global economy has been crucial in shaping new economic models, and at the same time, raising new concerns.
The Internet is one of the primary drivers of economic growth, which is visible in many countries that have placed the development of ICT as one of the primary tools for boosting the economy.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.
The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.