Cloud computing for developing world economies: Crucial for global connectedness

Oct 19, 2012

(Phys.org)—As the world prepares to convene for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT 2012), the role of cloud computing in creating economic opportunity and enabling the rapid flow of information in the developing world continues to gain momentum. This according to a new report, "Unlocking the Benefits of Cloud Computing for Emerging Economies—A Policy Overview" by Peter F. Cowhey and Michael Kleeman of the University of California San Diego, which examines the critical benefits to lower and middle-income economies, in particular those of India, Mexico and South Africa, from international and domestic adoption of cloud computing.

"Cloud computing is a scalable technology ripe for developing world adoption, helping lower costs, improve speed of service and expand operation flexibility," said Cowhey, Dean the University of California, San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) and holder of the Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communications and Technology Policy.  "By 2014, 60 percent of the world's server workloads will be done in the cloud and the scalability of this new technology will help the developing world sustain the rapid growth of the Internet economy."

Among the key findings in the report from UC San Diego:

  • The cloud enables developing world economies to be competitive with higher value added products as goods and services become more information and communications technology (ICT) intensive;
  • The cloud bolsters South-South commerce, the fastest growing share of world trade investment;
  • The cloud's scalability boosts job creation by helping small to medium sized businesses reduce costs and investments;
  • The cloud enables countries' governments to deliver core services more effectively and efficiently; and
  • The cloud boosts investment in lower income economies.
"This technology will only realize its fullest economic and information potential where governments encourage effective, light-touch regulation and empower multi-stakeholder groups with relevant expertise," said Kleeman, a senior fellow at UC San Diego.

"We've seen the cloud model work before – for credit card systems, cross border medical consultation and fraud detection services.  With proper care, transnational data transfer can only improve the infrastructure and quality of life in any country that embraces its potential."

Cowhey and Kleeman's paper, Unlocking the Benefits of for —A Policy Overview, can be viewed at irps.ucsd.edu/Cowhey.

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