The 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), released a few days ago, shows Ireland’s growth in the digital arena. Ireland has risen from 9th place in 2017 to 6th place in this year’s rankings and has cemented its place in the high-performing cluster of countries.
‘Outstanding in some areas’
The report showed how Ireland is ‘outstanding in some areas’. These included top rankings for STEM graduates.
Ireland was also shown to be ahead compared with the rest of Europe on the use of online trading by SMEs.
Ireland ranks top in the EU for Open Data in digital public services. It is also ranked second with a near perfect result in digital public services for businesses.
Falling behind in other areas
Ireland still has a way to go in some areas. More than half of the adult population still lack basic digital skills, leaving Ireland 23rd of the 28 EU countries. The rate of digital skills has increased by 4% over the past year but it is still behind most other countries ranked.
6% of homes still lack a broadband connection. This means Ireland ranks 19th in the EU for fixed broadband coverage.
It also ranks relatively low when it comes to the user-friendliness of services and the use of eHealth services. eHealth has been confirmed as an investment priority for the National Development Plan 2018-2027, so this should hopefully improve in the rankings in the coming years.
Improvements in these areas are critical for individuals, enterprises and public bodies to make the best use of digital technology, according to the report.