Networks are fundamental to how people do business. They are the basis for building business relationships: Networks have connected the world for centuries.
But the extent to which we can use them depends on the amount of energy available. So communication depends on energy.
1. We live in a time of enormous change: Where energy and globalization meet!
In this article the argument is put forward that digitization is nothing new. It is part of a larger historical phenomenon. This is not to deny that digitization plays a central role in the 21st century, to the same extent as energy. The point is that energy is the basis for social and technological developments. Without cheap and readily available energy, we cannot move forward and expand the boundaries of society. Over time, social and technological developments lead to globalization. Globalization is changing the structure of the world economy and fuelling social developments that create an ever increasing demand for more energy.
The point is that digitization is the latest iteration of a global communication system that takes advantage of the planet’s existing energy resources. Digitization has led to far-reaching changes in the energy industry and society as a whole. This change, this digitization, is not yet complete, and we have not even reached the eye of the storm. We are still at the beginning of this new global communication system based on a fully functional energy system in which more and more aspects of our lives are being digitized.
What is often missing is a sense of historical perspective. In fact, many existing trends are a continuation of what has already happened. Global trade flows are a good example. As early as the 18th century, international trade took on global dimensions. If we were living in the 18th century, we would look back at previous centuries and see that the 17th and 16th centuries were quite global. Global trade, global transport was not fast, but there was the Silk Road and maritime transport from Europe to East Asia.
But there is one aspect that makes the 19th and 20th centuries unique: from the 17th and 18th centuries onwards, trade shifted from land to sea. Maritime transport and the availability of energy (improved sailing techniques using wind energy, later the use of coal and later even oil as a fossil fuel) made this shift from land to sea possible. New trading networks opened up.
In the 18th century, water-based transport allowed more flexible logistical arrangements. A traveler could reach many more places. In addition, larger quantities could be transported across the vast, blue ocean. The main point is that world trade was made possible either by wind energy, coal or oil.
2. The global energy system gave rise to global corporations. Digitization is the latest iteration of a process that began centuries ago.
3. CONTEXT: Energy is the basis for networks and innovation. The question is: What is the next big thing? We had maritime trade networks, the internet, what comes next?
In a broader social context: nanotechnology. With regard to the energy industry, chemical recycling.
Perhaps the pandemic is also the trigger for such a revolution in the physical world, through nanotechnology. Since the 1930s, there have actually been few major innovations that have fundamentally changed the physical world in which we move, such as the invention of commercial aviation, the automobile, modern telecommunications technology and the chip. Nanotechnology would bring us closer to the physical world, because the internet is relatively abstract.
4. Is there any credible evidence for this?
5. So what must energy companies do to be successful in this new digital age?
6. What we can take away from this to strengthen our business.
Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!