Which countries are leading the digital transformation? Where is the “digital mindset” most well established? Which countries (and the companies headquartered within) are leading the charge toward a more digitally switched-on business? I get asked these questions quite a lot. The truth is that it depends, although one would be hard pressed not to talk about North America in the first place. But, we might be surprised to see many other countries well ahead of the US. There are different parts of the world that are progressing and excelling in different areas, using different platforms, devices and tools in differing ways.
Of course, it will depend on what we are truly measuring. From a business standpoint, one needs to have the digital framework on which to operate digitally. What is the underlying…
- internet penetration?
- speed of connection?
- mobile penetration?
- social media penetration?
- freedom of expression…?
Last year, the Digital Skills Committee of the House of Lords in Britain, published a paper “Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future.” In it, they determined that the internet needs to be defined as a public utility to ensure Britain’s digital competitiveness. Let’s dissect some of the different options to gauge and implement.
Internet Connectivity – Speed
Looking at the world through the filter of internet connection speed, courtesy of this mapping on the Telegraph created in August 2015, the darker the color, the faster the connectivity. According to this map, the leaders, in order, are South Korea (average internet speed of 23.6 Mbits per second), Ireland (17.4) Sweden (15.8) Netherlands (15.3), Japan (15.2) and Switzerland (14.9). In a second tier of speed, the US (11.9), Canada (11.6), UK (11.6), Germany (10.2) and Russia (9.4) are grouped together.
Among the more developed countries, trailing behind are Spain (8.9), Australia (7.6) and France (7.5), on par with Mongolia and Uruguay.
Mobile Connectivity – Download Speed and Coverage
The story should increasingly be considered in terms of mobile connectivity. A report by OpenSignal, looking at download speed and amount of coverage, ranked Spain (18 Mbps per second) as the country with the highest download speed with LTE, followed by Finland, Denmark and South Korea.”LTE is, on average, the fastest network technology available, outperforming 3G and Wi-Fi by a considerable margin globally.” Note that the USA is a total bottom dweller, with a painfully slow 7 Mbps/second.
South Korea was the country with the best coverage (95% time on LTE), followed by Japan (86%), Kuwait (83%) and Hong Kong (81%). The Netherlands was the top ranked European country, followed by the US and Canada. Among European countries, France (56%, 19th) beat out Spain, Italy and the UK (42%, which ranked second to last in a list of 29 countries).