A digital state of mind

By Louis Eksteen

I’ve recently become a subscriber to Amazon Prime. Having been a loyal Amazon fan for many years, I decided to try its digital content and subscription benefits, such as early shipping and special deals. I’m hooked! What surprised me the most about Amazon Prime is that it put me into a new digital state. More access to more entertainment and many deals not available to “ordinary” Amazon buyers.

There are many things to admire about Amazon, apart from its straightforward e-commerce offerings such as buying books and consumer goods. Its Amazon Web Services division is the best cloud hosting solution available. Clients such as Netflix say that “AWS enables

[them] to quickly deploy thousands of servers and terabytes of storage within minutes.” This means Netflix, or others such as Expedia and Foursquare, are empowered to deploy huge websites in a modular fashion, all at low cost. Truly a service to put your own large website into a better digital state.

Amazon has also embarked on many other initiatives, with some success (such as Kindle) and some notable failures (such as Fire phone). What’s most impressive about the company for me though, is how they are changing the way that we live our ordinary and, especially, digital lives. Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and OLX are examples of how the world will live in a new digital state.

A better digital state

As ordinary citizens are increasingly living in a digital state, so too should governments. Many government services can be delivered significantly better via digital channels. Just like banks, digital delivery by local and central government can increase the efficiency of services and improve communication on all levels.

Linking style with usability and substance, while enhancing the cultural ambience of government’s activities, can work really well. See this example of how Hawaii uses innovative web techniques to quickly get you to the place you want to be on their website.

Mobile apps, especially in healthcare, can assist with the transfer of quality information at your fingertips, when you need it.

South Africa is also sort-of getting in on the act, with the recently announced Mxit app.“The app links users to the re-launched mobile friendly government website, www.gov.za, which bridges the digital divide and can be accessed on any cellular phone.”

Let’s hope gov.za continues in this vein and roll out more and better digital services, sommer including fast internet for all.