Evolving from a data network of wire-connected PCs to a much broader network of portable devices, from mobile phones to tablet computers, the Internet has become fundamental infrastructure supporting the economy. It is also on the cusp of a much larger expansion, to objects that until now did not typically have communications capabilities, such as household appliances and items of clothing. The “Internet of things” is projected to have more connections than the people using it. This raises many important socioeconomic and political issues, as economies and societies become increasingly intermeshed.
Supported by time series data, OECD Internet Economy Outlook 2012 begins with an overview of trends. It highlights how the Internet sector has proven to be resilient during the recent economic crisis. It then examines the various drivers and impacts of Internet use and deployment, as well as emerging technologies, e-health, digital content, security and privacy, and it also reflects on a methodology for measuring the Internet economy.