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ICT: Keep Your Eyes on Northern & Eastern Europe

Our First Tau Institute Report is Now Available

We've produced our initial report for sale by The Tau Institute. It's priced at $895, with a $200 discount if you mention "Cloud Computing Journal" when you order. You can visit our website or tweet me if you're interested.

But this is not a sales pitch. The report is just part of our activities. I started my research on national ICT environments about two years ago, with the help of Cloud Computing Journal and ComputerWorld Philippines.

I started the Institute a few months ago. I'm Executive Director, with an office and an assistant here in the US. Ibarra Gutierrez serves as our Associate Director. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Computerworld Philippines, and has some dedicated staff to the Institute from his offices along Ayala Ave. in Makati Metro Manila.

We now have eight other folks on our Advisory Board, drawn from all regions of the world. They've been invaluable in helping us set a direction for the research, and fine-tuning it. My goal is to expand the board to about 15 members by end of 2013.

Here's Where to Look
But again, this is not a sales pitch. What I'd like to do is focus my readers on the various regions of the world, and how they compare on a relative basis. As I've written many times before, most surveys and rankings in essence show rich countries at the top and poor countries at the bottom. They don't tease out the relative differences among nations, ie, which nations are doing the most with what they have. This is what we strive to do with our initial research, which we call The Tau Index.

When I first started putting numbers together and creating our algorithms, I found a lot of dynamism in Southeast Asia. This confirmed my initial reason for starting this research, ie, the region is a beehive of activity. Yet my travels also told me that certain countries were overrated by normal measures, while others were diamonds in the rough that needed more exposure.

Our numbers confirmed this as well, pointing out that Indonesia actually appears to be lagging, Vietnam is a shining star, and the Philippines is more dynamic than Thailand. Our algorithms do integrate the perception of corruption, but are neutral about the form of government or underlying societal stresses.

So the flawed democracies of India and the Philippines, for example, are not compared against the Communists of China and Vietnam, the Islamists of Indonesia and Malaysia, or the severe class friction of Thailand. The same neutral approach goes for the rest of the world. The recent US election and its result have no bearing on the Index, nor do the current political struggles in Greece and Hungary, or the turmoil and serious violence throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Instead, our algorithms measure a country's overall commitment to ICT and the benefits it brings. Over time, we may find that certain types of government or a long period of societal turmoil affect how a country migrates to ICT, with a subsequent affect on its economy. Our view is that higher levels of commitment to ICT equal more economic growth and less economic disparity.

In particular, the growth of mobile technology and social media are driving more open societies - something that we favor, of course - even as government attempts (including in the US) to control it become increasingly ham-handed.

As we enter the final weeks of 2012, I urge everyone to keep their eyes on Northern Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, but particularly on Northern and Eastern Europe. Countries and regions that could stand improvement - and may in fact be the leading beneficiaries of our research - include Latin America, the United States, the BRICs, and Southern Europe.

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Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, (@IoT2040), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo. He is also Editor of SYS-CON Media's Cloud Computing Journal & IoT Journal & & writes for Computerworld Philippines. He has a BA from Knox College, Technical Writing Certificate from UC-Berkeley, and conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.