Access to technology, confidence and innovation are key to digital success

Open access to information, public confidence and entrepreneurship are key to boosting the digital economy, says a new report.

The findings were revealed today in the first Telefonica Index on Digital Life report, created in partnership with Imperial College Business School.

The report assessed 34 countries worldwide on their ability to successfully use technology to drive their economies in relation to their overall wealth as a nation and their GDP – the measure of the total output of a country, dividing it by the number of citizens.

The study revealed that the world’s highest digital performers were Canada, the UK, Colombia, Australia, the USA and Chile. Saudi Arabia was shown to be the greatest under-performer in relation to its GDP.

The research reveals that the strength of digital life varies strongly across the world. Many Latin American countries are showing strong progress in relation to their current economic wealth – in particular, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. Italy is the lowest-ranking G7 country sitting in 17th place, with all other G7 countries ranking in the top eight (USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Japan). In the competition between the world’s largest countries by population, China ranks ahead of India.

Whilst high-income countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK top the index, we also see that many Latin American countries are ‘punching above their weight’ and look set to make good progress in developing their digital economies.

– Professor Erkko Autio

The report takes a holistic view of the different social and economic factors that make up digital life within a particular country. The comprehensive Index measures three key components, taking information from 50 pre-existing sets of public data relating to digital life across the world.

The first element is digital openness – measuring the ease with which digital information flows within a particular country, including access to digital technologies and services. The next area is user confidence – the extent to which people engage with and trust the digital world, including issues surrounding security and privacy. The final area is digital entrepreneurship – looking at how economic activities prosper in the digital environment, including the freedom to innovate.

Professor Erkko Autio, Chair of Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School said: “This report opens up the black box between investment in digital infrastructure and economic progress. Whilst high-income countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK top the index, we also see that many Latin American countries are ‘punching above their weight’ and look set to make good progress in developing their digital economies.”

He continued: “Looking specifically at the UK, we see encouraging indications that we could soon take our digital economy to an even higher level.”

The report suggests that bottlenecks exist in the global landscape, obstructing certain countries’ ability to achieve a successful digital ecosystem on behalf of citizens. Alongside the Index, Telefónica has today published a set of recommendations for governments and policy makers to overcome these challenges including better regulatory conditions, more legislation to enhance consumer’s experience and policies to support innovation, e-skills, cultural attitudes and start-ups.

To download the full Index and corresponding report, please visit:indexdigitallife.telefonica.com

Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton

Communications and Public Affairs

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6127

Email: l.singleton@imperial.ac.uk

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