Indigenous rural development in the peripheral regions of Europe could be encouraged through the uptake of telematics by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, little is known about patterns of and resistances towards the adoption of telematics in rural areas and there exists a view that the main beneficiaries will be larger businesses in core areas of economic activity. After a brief exploration of the relationships between telematics and rural development, this article reports the early findings of a research project on the use of, and attitudes towards, telematics among SMEs in seven rural regions of the European Union. Results indicate that the predominantly very small, independent and privately owned businesses make very limited use of telematics services, mainly because of a lack of awareness and inadequate training. The main business problems faced by these businesses — cashflow, marketing, lack of qualified staff, and information technology support- present opportunities for telematics in rural areas. Yet successful adoption of telematics applications will occur only if they are sympathetic to the needs of small rural businesses. The article concludes by suggesting some ways in which the benefits of telematics can favour peripheral rural areas as well as urban core areas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Urban Studies