These Technologies Are Helping Bridge the Digital Divide

Mar 29, 2022 | by Rory Jordan, Guest Contributor

While modern technology brings the world closer together, many people continue to be left behind. In remarks to the UN General Assembly in April 2021, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed revealed that half of the world’s population is still offline. Here in America, a 2019 report from Pew Charitable Trusts titled America’s Digital Divide found that this translated to over 21 million people — or 3 in every 10 Americans — without ready access to the Internet. 
This so-called “digital divide” is multifaceted and impacts society in a variety of ways. In fact, Maryville University suggests the digital divide causes three gaps relating to gender, social stratification and accessibility. In brief, women, people from low-income households and people with disabilities are more likely to have less access to digital devices and connections. As a result, they cannot fully experience benefits like greater income potential, reduced food and health vulnerabilities and improved access to everything from government services to financial services and educational opportunities. 
With digital connections currently facilitating everything related to social interaction, education and the economy, multiple institutions and organizations around the world seek the divide’s urgent resolution. Here are some of the technologies that are helping bridge the gap. 

Data analytics 

Factors like low digital literacy and geographical barriers can hinder the goal of increasing access to digital technologies. That’s why strategies that aim to close the gap must take the needs of the disconnected population into account. Information on demographics, access to digital infrastructure, data literacy levels and existing public and private initiatives pertaining to the digital divide need to be collected. From here, data analytics tools are crucial for eliminating errors, generating serviceable insights for decision-making purposes and sharing them among key stakeholders. Predictive data analytics techniques can also be used to forecast future needs of disconnected groups, making any resulting strategies highly efficient, effective and far-reaching.


Government initiatives will also play a key role in bridging the digital divide: They have both the data and the resources needed to address the needs of such a large portion of the American population. Given the broad scope of the issue, collaboration between government institutions on the local, state and federal level is crucial to bring about the success of such initiatives. E-governance can streamline bureaucratic processes by digitalizing various functions like documentation and communication while centralizing inputs in real time to prevent redundancies. Technotification adds that e-governance allows for faster, cheaper, and more efficient operations, making digital divide strategies implemented through e-governance more sustainable and more likely to have a lasting impact. 

The cloud 

One of the biggest causes of the digital divide is access to infrastructure like mobile devices and broadband connections. Mainly, this is because it can be expensive and difficult to implement in rural areas. Cloud technology has immense potential to resolve this issue. As noted in the primer on “Distributed Systems and Cloud Native Computing” from EastBanc Technologies affiliate Kublr, services are infrastructure-independent and flexible, allowing for easier scalability. Costs incurred by cloud service providers are also spread across a number of clients, making access to such services cheaper for the average consumer. The cloud can thus have a significant impact on increasing access to digital infrastructure.  


However, enhanced access is not enough to fully bridge the gap: One must know how to use digital infrastructure as well. Key movers can address low digital literacy through community outreach programs, company upskilling initiatives, and school curricula. Here, critical thinking-centered topics can cover issues like cybersecurity, online scams and Internet etiquette. Educators can then use EdTech to teach through various engaging mediums like video and gamified lesson plans, while simultaneously tracking progress through integrated classroom management platforms. These tools leverage data analytics to pinpoint each learner’s strengths and weaknesses in a given topic. Such initiatives can help bolster digital literacy by using appealing and quantifiable teaching methods. 
A complex problem like the digital divide must be tackled with a number of unique and effective approaches. By using technologies like data analytics, e-governance, the cloud and EdTech, decision-making and implementation is enhanced from the data collection phase all the way to the execution of the strategies that are formulated. If done properly, those with inadequate digital access can finally experience the myriad of benefits offered by our modern world.