What is digitalisation?

Student arbeitet an digitalen Arbeitsplatz nach BWL Studium mit Schwerpunkt Digitized Economy

What is digitalisation?

In an interconnected world where digital technologies permeate every aspect of our lives, digitalisation emerges as a formidable mega trend reshaping our global and social landscape. From the way we communicate to how we access information and interact with the world around us, the digital revolution has fundamentally transformed human societies, transcending geographical boundaries and cultural barriers.

Defining digitalisation

At its core, digitalisation represents the convergence of technology, connectivity, and data-driven innovation. It encompasses a broad spectrum of digital technologies, including the internet, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others. Together, these technologies form the backbone of the digital ecosystem, driving unprecedented levels of connectivity, accessibility, and empowerment.

On a global scale, digitalisation has altered the way we engage with one another, fostering a digital commons where ideas, information, and knowledge flow freely across borders. Social media platforms, online forums, and digital communities have democratised communication, enabling individuals from diverse backgrounds to connect, collaborate, and share experiences on a global scale. This interconnectedness has facilitated cross-cultural understanding, solidarity, and collective action, transcending linguistic, cultural, and ideological divides.

But this transformative force extends beyond technological domains, permeating social and political structures, as evidenced by the intersecting mega trends of globalisation and urbanisation. Crucially, attempts to impede digitalisation are futile, as it continually adapts and innovates, challenging existing social, legal, and economic frameworks.

A catalyst for economic growth

Digitalisation serves as a catalyst for economic development and inclusive growth, particularly in emerging economies. By bridging the digital divide and expanding access to digital infrastructure and services, countries can unlock new opportunities for socioeconomic advancement. Mobile banking, e-commerce platforms, and digital marketplaces allow entrepreneurs and small businesses to reach new markets and customers, driving entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic resilience.

In the realm of education, digitalisation has transformed learning paradigms, breaking down barriers to access and enabling lifelong learning opportunities for all. Online courses, virtual classrooms, and educational apps help individuals acquire new skills and knowledge, regardless of their geographical location or socioeconomic background. This democratisation of education nurtures a culture of innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement, laying the groundwork for a more skilled and adaptable workforce in the digital age.

Reshaping the future of infrastructure

Digital technologies are revolutionising how we plan, design, and operate infrastructure assets. Real-time data analytics and remote monitoring enable proactive maintenance, optimise resource allocation, and enhance overall system resilience. Moreover, digitalisation facilitates greater connectivity and collaboration among stakeholders, encouraging integrated and holistic approaches to infrastructure planning and management.

In the context of decarbonisation, digitalisation plays a pivotal role in advancing energy efficiency, renewable energy integration, and carbon emissions reduction strategies. Smart grids enable real-time monitoring and control of energy distribution, optimising energy flows and reducing wastage. Digital technologies facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power into the grid, enabling greater flexibility and reliability in energy supply. In addition, digitalisation enables consumers to actively participate in energy management through smart meters, energy analytics, and demand response programs, driving behaviour change and promoting energy conservation.

Digitalisation also intersects with demographic shifts to create tailored infrastructure solutions that meet the diverse needs and preferences of different demographic groups. From personalised transportation services and healthcare innovations to digital inclusion initiatives, digital technologies enable infrastructure to adapt to changing demographic profiles and societal trends. For example, mobility-as-a-service platforms leverage digitalisation to provide seamless, multi-modal transportation options that cater to the mobility needs of urban populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income communities.

The challenges of digitalisation

However, amidst the promises of digitalisation, significant challenges and concerns persist, including digital exclusion, privacy risks, and the digital divide. While digital technologies have the potential to empower individuals and communities, disparities in access to digital infrastructure and skills exacerbate inequalities and marginalisation, particularly among vulnerable and underserved populations. Bridging the digital divide requires concerted efforts from governments, civil society, and the private sector to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to harness the benefits of digitalisation.

Furthermore, the proliferation of digital technologies raises complex ethical, legal, and regulatory questions regarding data privacy, cybersecurity, and algorithmic bias. As we navigate the intricacies of the digital age, it is imperative to uphold fundamental human rights, and principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to mitigate potential risks and safeguard against unintended consequences.

Study the 3 Ds at PFH

Over the past 30 years, the requirements of students and employers regarding course offerings have changed tremendously. Future designers are faced with the challenge of finding effective and innovative solutions in business, society and politics for the three defining trends of our time:

  • Digitalisation
  • Decarbonisation
  • Demography


Students at PFH receive a thorough introduction to the 3 Ds at the start of their studies. Our professors also offer topics for bachelor’s and master’s theses as well as lectures, workshops and excursions related to the 3 Ds. Moreover, the best theses with a direct connection to the 3 Ds are awarded by the departments every year.


Many research projects at PFH are closely related to the 3 Ds and are funded by the university. We regularly publish our professors’ research papers, thereby providing impetus for practice.

Further training

We are currently in the process of creating a certificate course on the topic of the 3 Ds that will be available through our PFH Academy. This innovative training programme will prepare managers from business, administration and politics for the key challenges of the future.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post on what is digitalisation. Should you choose to start your studies here, take a look at the different study programmes we offer. 

At PFH we make sure you receive a high-quality education while fully experiencing being a distance learning student!