In 2020 the democratization of technology is considered one of the year’s top technology trends. Information, data, and communication can be exchanged easier than ever before. The distribution of knowledge and barriers to access have shifted drastically and as a result business has changed too.
What is Democratization of Technology?
In the context of technology and business, democratization isn’t a political notion. According to Gartner research firm The democratization of technology refers to the ease in which people can access technical and business expertise. In our current landscape technology is capable of serving all demographics in every aspect of life. Technology is ubiquitous and that is because of its democratization.
How did it Happen?
Much of the democratization has been said to be a result of the Internet.
Democratization was slowed as a result of patents. When access to information was limited and patents protected existing technology from being replicated it was more difficult to understand how to design new versions of existing products and services.
Because of the Internet, there is greater sense of global connectivity and ideas are being shared faster which pushes the speed of innovation further. Social media significantly increases the ability for people to connect and exchange ideas online which extends information and ideas to people who would not have been able to connect to them without the help of the Internet.
For example, keyboards which seem like the simplest form of technology were once a matter of skill, limited to an exclusive group of people who were professionally trained. When typewriters were first introduced there were schools and training programs dedicated to teaching select numbers of people how to type efficiently. Presently typing isn’t considered a standout skill because of the widespread accessibility of computers and associated hardware.
Decades later other technology has followed the same pattern. As barriers to access have come down software, hardware, and training related to different technology are common and readily available. As more companies are able to innovate competition has also made buying new technology more affordable.
Why is it Meaningful?
The democratization of technology enables businesses and consumers to get a hold of new advantageous tech without having to pay high prices. People no longer have to be specially trained to be able to benefit from innovations. The ability to leverage technology helps to even the playing field in competitive industries which often inspires more innovation. This shift in how we live and operate has overhauled the business environment completely.
The competitive advantage?
Deloitte says that this profound change in technology is advantageous for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in their attempts to grow. It’s now easier for new technology to be created and for businesses that use technology to find software that better suits their needs and give them a competitive advantage.
The democratization of technology is so profound it has changed the way businesses operate permanently and it represents a shift in the way we connect and how companies preform. Businesses are immersing themselves in tech at an increasing rate. North American IT spending has risen at an average rate of 4.8% over the last two decades and software has become one of the most important technology investments for businesses.