Rural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are vital to their local communities but face numerous digital challenges due to their size and physical location. Despite this there are expectations from their customers, regulators and the supply chain surrounding digital literacy and industry best practice.
The current and future inclusion of advanced technologies such as AI has the potential to minimize the digital divide for rural SMEs; for example, the automation and cloud services enable specialized accounting services. However, due to existing challenges such as internet access, these businesses may not be equipped to harness the benefits or protect themselves from the negative implications.
Susan will discuss the findings from her research into how advanced technologies such as AI impact the digital divide for rural SMEs. Together we will explore how the existing digital divide frameworks – access, ability and outcomes – relate to the current situation, and our proposal of a new wave to combat the novel forms of disadvantage that advanced technologies are perpetuating.