This change is long-lasting. The world is set for a new Network and so Anand Agarwal of Sterlite Technologies asks: Is the Network ready for the next phase of mortality? Who does Latin America and the Caribbean partner with to answer this question? Mixed-reality spectacles are now a meshwork of different pieces of technology which were never intended to be connected but which are now stitched together using No-code Low-code platforms. Sewing them together puts companies ahead of the curve. Digital natives are already building parts of the NextGen Digital Network. The NextGen Digital Network combines four technological confluences: wired and wireless, software and hardware, interoperability and computational literacy, and open-source.

On ‘Alter Ego’, the artiste is in a bodysuit covered with sensors that trace body movements. Above the performer, Infrared Markers send feedback to a bank of fourteen cameras. Eight of the cameras use motion-tracking technologies. The markers and the cameras communicate with ‘Unreal Engine’, a video-game design software, to render the avatar in real time. ‘Silver Spoon’ designs the avatars in advance with creative involvement of the performers.

‘Lulu’, an augmented reality company, supports the stage-plotting. Avatar data — effects like eye colour, wardrobe, and special effects — motion-capture data, stage lighting data, and camera data, all converge in a nest of servers next to a micro stage nestled behind the actual stage. The human performer is actually in a booth behind a curtain. Every other performance is now so pre-pandemic and may have missed the portal for Digital Transformation (DT).

The Portulans Institute 2020 Network Readiness Index (NRI) and McKenzie coincide on a four clade typology for DT. Both champion: 1) the competitiveness of firms in global state-space and an economy that disparages waste; 2) the virtuous functioning of the economy and society under a constitution, a particular economic system, and a cadre of cultural and confessional ideals; 3) the everyday delivery of education, government services, justice as fairness, and health care and; 4) the regalian functions of a sovereign state in fiscal matters, soft laws, edicts, finance and security.

In every clade, services are migrating to the cloud at different velocities across the spectrum of income groups. Nevertheless, DT strategies have accelerated across all four layers regardless of income grouping. To prevent costly mistakes and strategic ambiguity, the Portulans Institute distinguishes ‘digital initiatives’ from ‘digital strategies’. Isolated initiatives often miss how entire sectors have been swept away and others meaningfully reshaped.

The acceleration impelled by the pandemic has induced a significant deepening of the ways in which humans view DT. Below the surface, there are continuous directed movements  that remain imperceptible: – 1) cryptocurrencies have disrupted monopolies of national currencies; 2) international conflicts have cyberwarfare episodes; 3) Digital competiveness has caused sectors of economies to migrate from traditional geographies; 4) Talent has become globally ‘liquid’ as cognitive capitalism quickens; 5) Talent now flows smoothly across borders and drifts along corridors creating value in hubs like Miami, Fortaleza in Brazil, Punta del Este in Uruguay, Las Toninas in Argentina and Praia Grande in Brazil; and 6) Value chains have migrated to new archetypes of wealth creation, and fresh frontiers.

Flux is now fixed. McKinsey and the Portulans Institute therefore ask: How can the core of a national economy be digitized? They have distilled four types of DT: 1) Business Process; 2) Business Model; 3) Domain; and 4) Cultural/Organisational. Shifts across these four levels are happening concurrently at provincial, national and international levels. Countries like Singapore embrace these fluctuations and have purposely set out to build a Smart Nation of endless possibilities, where no dream is wasted. Every idea is collected. Everyone is counted.

Economic growth now transcends coast-lines. Smart Nations are being built around: 1) Open Data and a culture of Experimentation; 2) Creating a hotbed or living laboratory of firms and thinkers to pilot porotypes; 3) Supporting a startup ecosystem of angel finance and futurists to converge and create iconic solutions; 4) Prioritizing data privacy and cyber security; 5) Nurturing Computational Intelligence; 5) Prioritizing digital inclusion; and 6) Cross-border collaboration of ‘next practices’.

The Portulans Institute 2020 NRI is a composite index built around four pillars: Technology (Access, Content, Future Technologies); 2) People (Individuals, Businesses, Governments); Governance (Trust, Regulation, Inclusion); and Impact (Economy, Quality of life, SDG Contribution). The People pillar focuses on how citizens, companies and governments use technology and how they leverage their digital talents to contribute to the Network Economy.

On the NRI, Brazil (59th) remains an economic powerhouse among Latin American and Caribbean countries just behind Uruguay (47), Chile (50th), and Costa Rica (54th). Brazil transcends Argentina (60th) and Mexico (63rd). Development in Brazil is coupled to ICT usage among its People (47th), especially in the way the Government (29th) uses ICT to engage citizens. Its weakest pillars are Technology and Impact (69th in both). The urgent issues facing Brazil in the Technology dimension are expanding Access (73rd) to ICTs and increasing the adoption of Future Technologies (85th). As for the ‘Impact of ICTs’, one area that needs urgent attention is the reduction of income inequality, which would help lift the Economy (69th) and the Quality of Life (80th) scores.