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The Internet of Documents

"Everything is connected to everything, always, and everywhere"

Internet of documents

Author: Walter Trezek Twitter Linkedin

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At A Glance

  • Digitalization creates new framework conditions for the service economy. By 2020 we will see how the core value creation processes in many organisations are not only completely digitally integrated, but also remotely and interactively operable.
  • The overall principle in the Internet of Things - "everything is connected to everything, always and everywhere" - is particularly relevant for document-based communication.

Defining an "electronic document"

In the digital world a document is "any content stored in electronic form, in particular text or sound, visual or audio-visual recording"[1]. As a result:

  • Business models need to be rethought from a customer standpoint: companies need to reconsider their processes, to redevelop and automate them. New business models alone are not enough: there is also increasing demand for new infrastructure, networking and the corresponding technical applications.
  • There will be an evolution in business models as they become integrated (scalable, sustainable & flexible) and seamlessly networked ecosystems. Within these ecosystems there will be a constant exchange of information about statuses and functions, with direct access for those with relevant authorisation.
  • Areas formerly closed will become incorporated into the system
  • Systems created in this way develop their own self-directed autonomy - they are self-sufficient
  • Monetary value can only be created within the ecosystem by those who are part of the system and are able to determine the added value in direct relation to the individual context of the consumer.  Transparent interaction with the consumer’s own value system is key.
  • Communication at the right time, via the right channel, with the right offer, to optimally meet the need of the individual consumer.
  • Guaranteeing agile, robustly dynamic development, production and logistics in order to interact at an individual level any at time whilst adapting to constantly changing market conditions
  • The Internet of Things - connecting everything with everything - will be driven by commerce logistics. Digitalization of the service economy will lead to annual growth of over 5% across all communication channels (call centre/in-house/service provider, business process outsourcing).
  • The rapid spread of smartphones, whose ability to scan and record documents and receipts (mobile capture), creates purely digital services which fundamentally change the formation of ecosystems (share economy - not limited to a single provider) in the field of service processes (banking & financial services, utilities, retail & online trade). The focus lies on the end customer.

Businesses in the contract management, order management, invoicing management and finance management industries only have a few years in which to adapt. Legal and regulatory framework conditions are shaping our evolution into a digital society, both in Europe and worldwide.

The use of digital communication media to support existing service offerings will fundamentally change the nature of communication as we know it: from analogue, to hybrid-semi-networked, and finally to digital and completely integrated real time communication logistics.

While postal operators are limiting their focus to extending postal service provision into the internet, over-the-top content providers (OTT) from the digital world are reaching for the huge potential offered by communication logistics.

Video (German): Interview auf der ITyX User Conference 2015 mit Walter Trezek, CEN Standardisierungsexperte, über den Digitalen Wandel, das Internet der Dinge und der Dokumente, schriftbasierte Kommunikation.

Boom in text-based communication

Internet of DocumentsFig. 1: A 14-fold increase in document-based communication in the last 10 years vs. a 1.5-fold increase in voice communication.

Since 2006 there has been a 14-fold increase in volumes of text-based communication.

The relevance of this development becomes clear if compared with speech-based queries which grew by a factor of only 1.5 during the same period.

Yet the Internet of Things has subjected text-based communication to a fundamental evolution.

In 2010 we assumed that electronic documents would gradually replace their analogue counterparts, chiefly impacting transaction-related documents such as invoices, account statements, compliance-proof communication, etc.).

Instead, the Internet of Documents is starting to redefine the term ‘electronic document’ itself.

This is because for the first time, content, transport medium and document integrity and authenticity can all be separated, and each adapted to the particular environment in which it is used.

Although we have understood over the last decades that business models from the analogue world do not fit into the digital world, now we are beginning to realise that the Internet of Things will revolutionise the way electronic documents are used to secure the communication of everything with everything in real-time.

Digital service infrastructure (DSI) secures electronic document transactions

In an ecosystem in which everything is connected to everything, any legally relevant interactions are subject to DSI technical specifications for the secure transfer of electronic documents.

Consequently, within the European internal market the DSI provides the basis for all communication logistics interactions.

Once the DSI building blocks are available throughout Europe, guaranteeing the exchange of electronic documents (see definition above), then certified, secure communications logistics between everything and with everything in an ecosystem becomes possible.

As systems become digitalised, receiving identities and using electronic documents to interact securely, the volume of exchanges for secured delivery and secured receipt of electronic documents rises.

Video: The eIDAS Revolution began in September 2014, when the EU adopted new rules for electronic identification and trust services.

The Internet of Documents market is valued in US$ billions

The Internet of Documents is part of the foundations on which the Internet of Things is built.

Communication logistics is taking these building blocks and combining them so that ecosystems can interact, global interconnectivity can be guaranteed, and the trust needed to create value can be established.

This is at the heart of new business models and revenue streams. Experts already estimate that the future market for the secured exchange of electronic documents will be worth billions of US$, explaining why work is forging ahead to set the clear development time lines and regulatory and legal targets which will make the Internet of Documents a reality.

[1] REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (short eIDAS Reg);  3 Article (35) "electronic document".

Author: Walter Trezek Twitter Linkedin

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