RealTime IT News

Sweden, Norway, Finland Top U.S. in Info Society Rankings

[London, ENGLAND] Sweden remains the world's most information oriented society, while Norway and Finland have elbowed the U.S. into fourth place, according to research company IDC.

The system of measurement that has arrived at these results assesses people's opportunity and ability to use information technology, taking into account computer, information, Internet, and social infrastructures.

The information infrastructure of the United States ranks ninth in the world, according to the 2001 IDC/World Times Information Society Index (ISI). However, its social infrastructure ranks 17th.

Each of the infrastructure components is given a specific weighting according to the extent of its influence within IT.

"The Internet had almost 100 million new users in 2000. Because of its importance and growth, we had to increase the weighting of the Internet-related ISI component for this year's rankings," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC.

Countries with the highest scores in Internet infrastructure were Sweden, Singapore, and Australia. Here again, the U.S. came well down the list -- in 10th position.

"Many people in the United States still don't have Internet access, and this is dragging down the country's total ISI rating," Gantz said.

Countries with the strongest information infrastructure are Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Denmark, while Norway, Hong Kong, and Japan have the strongest social infrastructure.

The U.S. scored most highly in the computer category, being the country with the strongest computer infrastructure in the world. Singapore and Australia came second and third.

Ganz pointed out that to reap the full benefits of the information society, countries need to be strong in all four areas. For this reason, the Nordic countries are best positioned to take advantage of the IT revolution.

As for the United Kingdom -- it is making a strong showing, according to the researchers, mainly on account of its hugely successful mobile phone industry. It improved its ISI ranking from 12th in 2000 to 6th this year.

To purchase the full report, "Information Society Index (ISI) 2001 Trends and Ranking," readers should get in touch with IDC direct at idc.com.