Digitization is the conversion of information into the electronic language of bits and bytes. Once the data is available digitally, it can be further processed by computer systems and form the basis for new knowledge through factual linking, interpretation and evaluation. This process, also known as “digital value creation,” is a basic technology of the digital age.
In addition, the exchange of digital data is also constantly generating new knowledge with enormous opportunities for value creation. Of course, for connectivity and digital communication to take place at all, basic network technology first had to be invented and developed. This includes in particular the use of various data transmission technologies via wired networks, and later increasingly also via mobile networks. We have known this network as the Internet since the mid-1990s at the latest. The Internet is, of course, THE most important communication medium of the digital age. It is global in scope, backed up by standardized procedures, and ideally does not exclude any political, social, or economic interest groups.
Size does matter
Another important point is the mobility that comes with digital communication. The possibility of mobile data use decouples the creation and use of digital information spatially. You can communicate from almost anywhere in the digital age. In turn, this mobility was only made possible by the development of miniaturization of computer systems, i.e. the reduction in size of hardware components. In addition, other forms of input and intuitive user interfaces had to be developed, which then led to the widespread use of mobile offerings, particularly in the form of the smartphone.
When we speak of the digital age, it is also because every individual and all other parts of society have now become embedded in a data-driven infrastructure. Private user data that we leave behind on the web became the basis for new markets and business models. More social media platforms, messenger services and digital media channels are constantly emerging. User-generated content (such as memes) forms a flood of images and other information that many can hardly escape. Companies can only survive in this landscape if they professionalize their media accordingly. For example, by using AI-based DAM* systems.
* DAM stands for digital asset management.
Examples and statistics
For a better understanding, we will take a look at some statistical data. Whereas smartphones, tablets or on-board computers were still rare and expensive in the early 10s, today they are standard devices that are an integral part of everyday life. At the same time, the World Wide Web is so ubiquitous that by 2020, 100 percent of 14- to 49-year-olds in Germany would be Internet users. Even among 60- to 69-year-olds, the proportion of users was 93 percent. Only among people over the age of 70 is the proportion of users just under 80 percent. The fact that the proportion of smartphone users among 12- to 13-year-olds is already around 95 percent is also hardly surprising. This implicates the obligation to prepare children for the digital world both on their own responsibility and at school.