We all know one. They're smart, savvy and completely at ease with gadgets.
Ordinarily, we'd call them young people. But, when it comes to technology
they're known as digital natives. The expression refers to someone aged between
16 and 24, who has grown up with digital technology and the internet. For this
group of people, computers, social networking and the wired world is the norm.
For them, a world without mobile phones and the internet would be like living in
the 'Dark Ages.' What interests me, though, is what makes them different? And
what do these differences mean for our future society and to the issue of
climate change? Before I move on to answer that, I need to state my position. I
believe that by investing in technologies that reduce our impact on the
environment, we will achieve sustainable economic growth.
Technology in its own right can help combat climate change. But what about
using this technology to sway opinion? Social media is a great example of a
smarter more efficient way to communicate that can bring about real change. The
potential of social networking has already been employed by people uniting
behind a single cause. The annual Earth Day event is one example. Suddenly, we
can connect the global community. But interestingly. it can still drive hyper
local activity-such as Gorilla Gardening, which connects small bands of
individuals working to green our cities. Technology is at the heart of this
activity helping to coordinate and maximise activity at specific locations and
times. ICT is improving the energy efficiency of products and services all the
time. Not only is the hardware more efficient, this same technology can be used
to increase energy efficiency in other sectors.
The concept of doing things 'smarter' will drive efficiencies. From smart
grids managing energy supplies to smart transport systems, it is technological
advances such as these that will help us all to live lower carbon lives. What's
really exciting is that we are seeing the first generation in history, that has
the potential to embrace these innovative solutions. It is the rise of the
digital native- pushing us all to embrace exciting new technologies-that will
ultimately have a far greater impact than before. That's why as an industry, I
believe we have an obligation to connect and communicate with digital natives.
The author is MD, BT Asia Pacific