Keys to the Success of Digitally Advanced Societies

(notes from the homonimous session at the bdigital Global Congress)

Moderator: Miquel Mateu

Tim Kelly
Success factors for national ICT strategies: Case studies from global leaders

How do we recognise and measure success in ICTs?

Universal service:

  • Availability
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability

But new concerns or challenges that should be included in ICT measuring:

  • Participation
  • Quality and intensity of access
  • Lifestyle enhancement

Ubiquity of access: At anytime, by anyone, anywhere, to anything

Different perceptions of what quality is: reliability? time of response? depending on user and use.

For instance, in terms of proportion of Internet users, the digital divide is shrinking, but new types of digital divide are appearing, the most important of all, the broadband divide: broadband costs are 10 times higher in low income countries than in hight income countries. The cost of broadband access is nowadays a good indicator to prospect about the present and future health of one country’s Information Society.

Chart: Internet Access Inequality (Lorenz curve)Internet Access Inequality (Lorenz curve) (source)
Successful economies

Not only important their rank in the DOI, but also how many rank places they gained along the years.

Republic of Korea: DSL technologies, cable modem, appartment LANs, Wireless LANs, mobile broadband, low prices, active public-private partnerships.

Hong Kong: highest mobile penetration rate, multiple service providers and spreading over many different platforms.

Keys for success:

  • market competition
  • public-private parterships
  • independent regulation

One of the goals an Information Society should address is the “dematerialization” of the society, so commuting, material spending, etc. is reduced so a deep impact is done to stop climate change.

Amadeu Jensana
China, Japan, Korea and India: Asia and the Digital Societies

The importance of the cultural fact as a difference to be taken into account before trying to draw “generic solutions” for everyone.


The structure of big japanese corporations made it difficult to be flexible and face innovation as the new times required. It took some time until start-ups — and their “aggressive sharks” — find their place in japanese society. Of course, language is way an issue.

Homogeneity and the relative small geographical extension of the country have played an important role for standarization and spread of new technologies policies.

People from Japan are eager to experiment and adapt new things.

Long run R&D strategies (5 or 10 years ahead) are possible in Japan, which enables some developments that require some time to develop or to bring results.

Portable or mobile devices, with high number of features, have had great success because of the way of living in Japan (lot of commuting time, lack of physical space, etc.)


Huge importance of public-private partnerships.

China and India

Great infrastructures (India somewhat behind), though still low acquisition power.

Huge economies of scale that enable them to create their own standards.

Sebastián Muriel
The role of is to help Spain to become a networked society as soon as possible

In Spain: increase in both the share of budget spending and number of ICS services/devices in households.

Broadband subscribers have multiplied by four, coverage is at 98% and more than half the population are Internet users. Benefits of scale can be developed, indeed, by the fact that the Spanish speaking community is bigger than just Spaniards.

Goal: not access, but participation and content.

To enable the development of the Information Society, the DNIe (electronic ID) is crucial, so e-Administration and e-Government (among many other e-Services) can be made possible.

Concern in how new generations adopt ICTs: Chavales.

Jordi Bosch
Government of Catalonia: Vision and Strategy of the Information Society

We’re still far from having the solution to how to foster the Information Society. Benchmarking best practices seems to be a second best, though localization and keeping in mind the cultural differences is a must before copying-and-pasting others’ solutions.

Education is determinant for e-Readiness. So does intensity of use.

The key to the “Irish Miracle” is 1921: independence. Being able to define one’s own strategy is very important for a Public Administration (note: Mr. Bosch is speaking on behalf of the Catalan “regional” government, a second level administration depending on many issues from the Spanish “state” Government). If there is no coordination, collusion takes place. Thus, digital cohesion should be a goal.

Pilar Conesa
Barcelona, ICTs at the Service of the Citizens

u-bcn: ubiquitous Barcelona. Inspired in Seoul’s u-city: u-card, u-street, u-traffic, u-office, u-home, etc. Huge deployment of wire and wireless broadband. Goal: enable access anytime, anywhere and using anything.

Infrastructures: deployment infrastructures, with emphasis on Wi-Fi access for city services. All services should be integrated in mesh networks to provide real-time information.

Integrated interaction with the citizen. A big barrier being the zillions of solutions and providers existing… most time not following standards.

22@ Barcelona: transformation of a district based in obsolete technology industry towards a knowledge intensive district.