The Role of the Internet in Digital Transformation

14/11/2022

The Internet as we currently know it was the major catalyst for digital transformation during the pandemic and must continue to promote convergence and how human beings and business processes interact, said LACNIC CEO Oscar Robles in his presentation at the latest edition of the South School on Internet Governance (SSIG).

During the “Digital Transformation in a Changing Global Environment” forum, Robles stressed that, if these objectives are to be achieved, today’s Internet must be protected considering the pillars on which it is founded: unicity, ubiquity, scalability, adaptability, flexibility, and resilience. In his opinion, these factors were the cornerstone of the Internet’s success during the recent pandemic.

Scalability. Throughout history, no technology has demonstrated a greater degree of scalability than the Internet. “We went from zero to more than four billion users and more than ten billion connected devices. This means billions of users and connected devices and more than 70 thousand different networks. This is extraordinary,” said Robles. 

The second pillar he mentioned was flexibility.  When the first protocols were invented, not much was known about mobile networks or the possibilities that satellite or wireless networks would afford. Over the years, the Internet has shown flexibility and its ability to maintain the interconnection of all these various networks and types of connectivity despite significant differences between them.

Today, technologies that did not exist even in the imagination of the creators of the Internet 40 years ago are running on the protocols established in the 1980s and form the basis of the Internet.

Adaptability to new applications. For 50 years we have seen constant upgrades. “The Internet is not monolithic but a collection of building blocks. Imagine building with Lego – this is how dozens or hundreds of protocols that are essential for Internet operation have been upgraded in recent years,” Robles added.

The resilience of the Internet allowed maintaining educational and productive processes thanks to its ability to absorb shocks and continue to grow during the pandemic. “We had never seen this happen so drastically: in a matter of days, the amount of Internet traffic increased an average of 20 to 30% and, on some networks, traffic even grew by 100%. This was the typical behavior in most Internet links,” Robles said.

The role of the Internet in the digital transformation of the Internet in Latin America and worldwide is clear.

We must protect this Internet. Not just any Internet will enable digital transformation. The Internet must maintain many of these characteristics,” Robles reiterated.

In the future, he warned, particular attention should be paid to what governments and companies do, as their actions may potentially have a significant impact on today’s Internet.

“We must stay alert to any attack on the integrity of the Internet, almost always shrouded by unrealistic measures that seek to solve real problems,” he concluded.

We invite you to watch the presentation by Oscar Robles.

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