Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Finnish digital economy ranks 3rd in Europe

24 May 2018, 00:13 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 24 May 2018, 10:35 ( 1 Month ago)

DF Report
File Photo VisitFinland by Julia Kivelä.

Finland is among the top three in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI 2018) published by the European Union.

Denmark secured the top position in the overall index while Sweden ranked second.

Finland, however, ranked top in the section on digital public services, said a press release.

The index compares all the 28 EU member states across five subject areas.

Finland’s top ranking in digital public services is attributable especially to the improved availability of open data and to digital healthcare services such as the Kanta patient data system.

There has long been a great variety of Finnish information resources available as open data, such as data on terrain, the environment, weather, climate, sea, transport, finance and culture, and statistical data.

In the DESI comparison, one of the key factors mentioned was the re-launched Suomi.fi web service, where people can check what information is held about them in public authority registers.

“Finland’s sustained efforts to ensure the take-up of new practices, covering several parliamentary terms, are now producing results. We can be rightly satisfied with our position as a frontrunner. It is also essential to keep in mind that digital public services are produced for the benefit and convenience of the general public, businesses and other entities. How well we succeed in this will depend on customer experiences with the services,” said Local Government and Public Reforms Minister Anu Vehviläinen, whose responsibilities include the digitalisation of public services.

Finland also ranked highly in other indicators within digital public services, but in digital business services it is in 21st place within the European Union. 

“We will shortly be analysing this at the finance ministry to see why Finland’s performance against this indicator is below average,” said Vehviläinen.

In the section on digital skills, Finland has been a leader for many years now. The EU’s DESI comparison takes into account digital learning environments and new teaching methods, which are areas that Finland has been focusing on more intensively. The digital matriculation examination is mentioned in DESI as a significant step forward.

Finland also rose to second place in the DESI section on integration of digital technology. One in every two Finnish companies uses cloud services, according to DESI. Finland’s national artificial intelligence strategy, published in December 2017, was also mentioned. Its aim is to make Finland a leader in the application of artificial intelligence.

“Finland is among the leading countries when it comes to the development of artificial intelligence. We are currently preparing a data policy report, which focuses strongly on artificial intelligence and ethical considerations,” explained the minister.

Finland fares the least well in the indicator of connectivity due to the low concentration of fixed broadband connections.

Although fixed broadband access is offered to almost all households, its use in Finland is clearly below the EU average (Finland 57%, EU 75%). In mobile broadband use, however, Finland ranks first by a clear margin.

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