About 200 billion devices, sensors and people are expected to be interlinked by 2030, significantly increasing today’s levels of 11 billion. A similar data flow and sources would undoubtedly create multiple opportunities in all sectors of the industry and society and become effective in the engine of growth and differentiation. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the digital identity of individuals will become more significant than ever. Combining information from different sources would provide new and timely knowledge in society and serve as a basis for accurate forecasting in various fields – health, education and finance.

The forecast is made by IBM Southeast Europe and the main conclusion of the tech giant’s report is unambiguous – today’s leaders in industry, academia and governments must actively lead countries towards digital achievements to prepare the region for the future and avoid its marginalisation.

The results of Bulgarian students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that 42 percent are not functionally capable of working with mathematics and difficult texts. Every four out of ten 15-year-olds in Bulgaria still lack the skills to cope with this new economic environment, warns IBM’s analysis.

According to the company, the potential for Southeast Europe is high, but so are the challenges: cybersecurity, integrity and ownership of data and privacy. These challenges in the digital world are growing and must be managed before the full potential of digitisation is made available to everyone.

Since the process of digitisation continues, the opportunities for new technologies will also create new social needs. The transition from education to professional life will become more smooth and we need to prepare for this recurring cycle and a growing number of professions. Cities, industries and countries where infrastructure and social structure respond most quickly to these needs and these development dynamics will become global innovation centres.

In this perspective, Southeast Europe has prerequisites for rapid development and prosperity if it acts constructively and without a loss of time. Economic stability, energetic start-up communities and investment in infrastructure development and education place the region at a very advantageous position.