Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

#DigitalCitizenSeries: Digital Countries – Stories of Success

October 19, 2015

All aboard the digital express

Communities and countries of all sizes are moving towards a digital future…and if they are not, they risk being left behind.

This begs the question, what does ‘digital’ really mean?

Certainly, there is no instruction manual for digitisation – which many agree is a complex one. The roadmap features identifiable landmarks—flagged by early pioneers—but there is still plenty of unchartered territory.

We frequently talk about all things being or becoming connected but, in reality, the majority of global citizens are still faced with limited Internet access. A disturbing fact when you consider the socio-economic benefits that technology affords. So the digital divide is real. And despite the proliferation and rapid advancement of technology, many are just not receiving the benefits of technological change.

However, an important tool for shedding light on digital is the sharing of success stories and best practice – to see through example how digital government can and should evolve.

Where in the world is our digital citizen?

So how exactly do you separate digital fact from fiction? By using the growing numbers of examples, we are now in a much better position to assess the subject in a more realistic manner. And, based on the experiences of early-adopters, to plan digital country strategies.

This week, our digital citizen is a jet setter. Think Carmen Sandiego circa 1990.

First stop, the United Kingdom. The country is in the second phase of country digitisation; public sector transformation, accelerated cybersecurity awareness and innovation, and public-private initiatives like the British Innovation Gateway (BIG). Strategic investment to accelerate existing government goals for economic growth through high-tech innovation is helping the UK to become one of the top digitised countries in the world.

Then, a quick trip over to the continent and our digital citizen is making the next stop in France. Drawing on its dynamic start-up culture, the country plans to extract value from its efforts to enhance security, increase productivity, create jobs, and improve citizens’ lives through digitisation. The Cisco Networking Academy Program in France plans to open 1,500 additional academies and train upwards of 200,000 students, giving the workforce the skills needed to accelerate country digitisation. Not only is France expected to gain a GDP boost of 1-2 percent, but this transformation will contribute to France’s overall global competitiveness by supporting job growth, education, cybersecurity, innovation and other entrepreneurial initiatives.

We’re off again. And on to India, where Smart City Bangalore is a prime example of a bottom-up digital country strategy in action, starting at the smart city level. Electronics City, in a newly developed area of Bangalore, is a model for smart cities; not just in India, but around the world. Our citizen learns that for this, and for the 90+ other smart cities planned for India under the new government’s plan, its leaders are thinking about new and better ways to deliver citizen services, and incubate education initiatives to nurture the next-generation workforce. India is working toward a scalable blueprint to ensure it remains at the forefront of evolving global growth.

And finally, we arrive in Singapore. While visiting, our digital citizen enjoys ubiquitous Internet connectivity – Singapore’s government has so far connected almost 99 percent of its residents to an ultra-high-speed network. Our citizen also can’t help but notice that Singapore is a bustling, world-class hub for modern business, enabled by the push for high technology adoption and by allowing innovation to flourish. In this year’s Global Information Technology Report, Singapore takes the top place among the world’s most tech-savvy nations, recognising the government’s successful promotion of innovative technology and delivery of online services to its citizens.

Well, we’re now fast approaching 2016 and, while we might not have quite ended the traffic jam conundrum, the future of digital transformation in government is with us and continuing to build momentum. The answer, however, is not a simple one and there is no simple fix using technology alone. It is clear that digital transformation, at any level, will not happen overnight. However, it is equally clear that the future of digital will rely on collaboration and best practice sharing. And Cisco can help!!

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next #DigitalCitizen post to discover more information about cybersecurity and staying safe online in #CyberAware month. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.

Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your questions answered on how to become the next digital community.

Finally, we invite you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #DigitalCitizen and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter.

For more information and additional examples, visit our Smart+Connected Communities page and our Government page on

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