Many of the global companies that facilitate e-commerce have their headquarters in or around San Francisco, California. This city was the ideal setting to present the latest research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Which Wheels to Grease: Reducing Friction in the Internet Economy [PDF, 235 KB], and the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-SFBay) were the perfect hosts.
In January 2014, BCG released The Connected World: Greasing the Wheels of the Internet Economy [PDF, 983 KB]. The report identified 55 indicators of e-friction that inhibit online activity by consumers, businesses and governments. The BCG e-friction index used those indicators to rank 65 economies that are home to more than 80 percent of the world's population and more than 90% of the world's economic activity. Which Wheels to Grease: Reducing Friction in the Internet Economy updates the 2014 index and expands the analysis to show economies how they can move up the e-friction ladder.
The e-friction index measures four types of friction that prevent consumers, companies and countries from realizing the Internet's full benefits. Some examples of friction include: lack of infrastructure, shortages of capital and skilled labor, lack of data security, and lack of content available in local languages.
The five major causes of e-friction identified in the 2015 update are: wealth, population density, the urban-rural population mix, literacy and English-language skills. Wealth is an important factor, but it does not explain e-friction on its own. The common causes of friction suggest high-potential solutions.
I encourage you to read the full report and think about the challenges your communities face. ICANN commissioned both BCG reports.
Also, there are exciting things happening at the ISOC-SFBay Area Chapter. The group just launched its new website and are planning events in the coming months. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, ISOC-SFBay is a great way to stay engaged on ICANN and other Internet governance issues. ISOC-SFBay is an At-Large Structure within the North America Regional At-Large Organization at ICANN.