Age of Information Technology in Bhutan
Information technology is evolving rapidly. Bhutan cannot escape the influence of Information Technology, rather Bhutan must invest in preparing future generations to adapt and cope up with information technology.
Information Technology (IT) is a tool that is used to feed, store, process, and retrieve data. IT is used by banks, hospitals, telecommunication companies, government agencies, private firms, schools, media houses, and almost every individual in the modern era. Humans have been storing and processing information for thousands of years. We have been doing this for a very long time before the invention of IT.
IT is used because of its processing speed. The computers are so fast that none of the traditional tools and techniques can be on par with them. IT can do the complex computation, which may take several years for a normal human being, in a few seconds. It can deliver messages thousands of miles away in milliseconds. It can retrieve a required page from a book of thousands of pages within a second. There were never any information tools or techniques that were as efficient as computers are.
Secondly, computers are user friendly. The peripherals that are used to feed and retrieve information from computers have advanced so much that you can communicate with computers effortlessly. Picture, voice, and video facilities in your mobile phones and computers are examples of some of the highly advanced peripheral technologies which have made IT even more tractive.
Over the past years, many new technologies have emerged. Some of these technologies are the Internet of Things, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Big Data, Quantum computing, and Blockchain. These technologies have the potential to make far-reaching changes in our lives. While some of them have been accepted by society, others are much debated and scrutinized.
In Bhutan, IT is extensively used in both government agencies and private lives. Applications like G2C, RAMIS, DrukZakar, and MBoB are some of the IT products Bhutanese use daily. This is a result of the government’s push towards digitization. At an individual level, we use Facebook, Wechat, and Google almost every day. Even Microsoft Excel and Spreadsheet that we use in offices are basic IT products. IT is deeply embedded in our personal and professional lives. Although IT is not new in Bhutan, there are still avenues to leverage IT for our socio-economic progress.
Technologies such as big data are widely used by corporations and agencies abroad. If Bhutan could achieve to build a centralized database, with the help of a data analytics tool, we can make sound and reasonable social development decisions. Currently, our data are scattered all over the places without a proper storage system. We need to integrate our IT systems. Various social institutes can work together very efficiently with IT integration. Public service delivery will improve significantly with system integration. For example, Bhutan Power Corporation Limited has integrated its billing system with Bhutan Telecom Limited’s mobile system, thus making mobile bill payments faster and easier.
Bhutan can become a leading ICT hub in the world provided we have the right set of skills. To thrive in the IT business, we do not need abundant sources and heavy production equipment. If we have the right set of skills, we can develop IT solutions for international clients without much difficulty. Also, unlike other products, IT products can be replicated and sold in the international market easily.
The modern world is driven by information technology. The superpowers compete against each other in the field of IT. IT has enabled us to solve some of the world’s greatest social challenges. But some of the greatest crimes are also committed through IT. IT is shaping lives and humanity. IT has become revolutionary and inevitable. Every country is making an effort to be part of this revolution and Bhutan is no exception to it.