New Zealand has fallen to second place after Luxembourg in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of nations’ political and regulatory environments for IT, but has retained its place as number 17 in terms of network readiness.
The rankings have just been published by the WEF in its annual Global Information Technology Report, produced in conjunction with Insead and the Cornell University Business School.
New Zealand was in the top 25 of the 139 countries covered on most indicators, but scored very poorly on affordability, being ranked 97th. Affordability is assessed on the affordability of ICTs through measures of mobile telephony usage costs and broadband Internet subscription costs and an assessment the state of liberalisation in 17 categories of ICT services, “because more intense competition tends to reduce retail prices in the long run,” the WEF says.
The WEF says the report assesses countries’ preparedness to reap the benefits of emerging technologies and to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the digital revolution.
“We are at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which represents a transition to a new set of systems, bringing together digital, biological, and physical technologies in new and powerful combinations,” the WEF says. “These new systems are being built on the infrastructure of the digital revolution.”
It warns that digital technologies are driving “winner take all dynamics for an increasing number of industries [so] getting there first matters,” but says “a stagnating rate of ICT adoption and usage by existing firms across all regions suggests that a large number of firms are not getting into the game fast enough.”
The report identifies seven countries — Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States— that “stand out in terms of economic and digital innovation impact. It says: “It is noticeable that all seven are characterised by very high levels of business ICT adoption. This technology-enabled innovation in turn unleashes new competitive pressures that call for yet more innovation by tech and non-tech firms alike.”
The composition of the group of top 10 performers by overall network readiness is unchanged from last year. It comprises Singapore, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom Luxembourg and the United States. Singapore has retained its number one position.
The rankings are based on a combination of ‘hard’ data sourced from international organisations and ‘soft’ data from surveys. The main providers of hard data were the International Telecommunication Union, UNESCO, other UN agencies and the World Bank. The soft data came from a survey of more than 14,000 business executives in more than 140 countries.