South Korean electronics giant Samsung today hailed the UK as a hotbed for technology adoption, adding that the nation is well on its way to becoming a 'smart society'.
Countries like Finland were considered technology pioneers a decade ago but the UK has more than caught up, according to Samsung.
Speaking at a luxury 5* hotel in London’s tallest skyscraper, the Shard, Samsung president for the UK & Ireland, Andy Griffiths, said: “We’ve seen the UK go from a more cautious late-adopter stance years ago to a society where our relationship with technology is increasingly confident and importantly, increasingly demanding.
“Whether it’s our capital’s transport, our children’s classrooms, or even just our weekly shopping, it is increasingly technology-led, and above all, smart technology-led.”
The claims were made as Samsung launched a report, in partnership with think-tank The Big Innovation Centre, looking at how far towards a smart society the UK has progressed and what needs to be done to ensure the nation capitalises on new technologies coming to market.
Based on the opinions of 20 experts spanning business, finance, education, industry, healthcare and academia, the Towards a Smart Society report identified that there is an overriding level of optimism when it comes to the UK’s adoption of, and appetite for, technology.
One expert said of the UK: “We are a digital society already in the process of becoming a smart society.”
Martin Hall, vice-chancellor at Salford University, claimed the UK’s strength is in “joining things up in smart ways”, while Roland Harwood, co-founder of innovation agency 100% Open, said the UK is well positioned because of its strong heritage in science and technology, as well as a diverse and creative economy.
Meanwhile, Tim Brooke, a creative technologist for the UK government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, pointed to the fact the UK is home to 850,000 IT and telecoms professionals in the UK.
Summarising the views of the experts, Griffiths said: “The overall consensus of the experts is that the UK is at the forefront of change with one of the most internet based economies of the whole G20.
“In short, the UK loves the digital age and we are embracing each development more enthusiastically than the last.”
However, the Samsung executive, who believes the next few years will be a pivotal time for Samsung in the UK, was keen to point out that the UK as a whole needs to embrace the idea of living in a smart society.
“We all have a role to play in helping our society to gain the best benefits from these changes,” he said. “Our confidence as a society in smart technology will be key to realising the most important benefits.”
The report will be used to inform Samsung’s strategic planning in the future, according to Griffiths.
Earlier this year, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that London was fast-becoming the tech capital of the world, pointing to the number of successful technology companies now based in the capital.