Future of ‘smart’ hinges on confidence in technology and networks

UK progressing from digital society to smart society, but future development hinges on confidence and solid network infrastructure

A research report commissioned by Samsung has suggested that the UK is well on the way to becoming a smart society – one in which working and daily lives are enhanced by internet connectivity and smart technologies – but the future of smart depends on maintaining user confidence and building a better network.

The report, which was produced alongside think tank the Big Innovation Centre and surveyed both members of the public and 20 technology experts, said two-thirds of Britons now believed the UK was on the way to becoming a smart society.

Only 10% considered the UK to be at the forefront of adoption, however, with almost half identifying the US as the world leader.

Panelist Roland Harwood, co-founder and networks partner of creative agency 100% Open, commented: “The UK is very well positioned. We have a cosmopolitan society, we are strategically located and we have a strong heritage in science and technology, as well as a diverse and creative economy.”

The Future Cities Catapult’s Tim Brooke added: “All the expertise needed to develop workable solutions is here. [The UK] also has world-class research capabilities in the built environment and city systems.”

The Samsung report also suggested that 45% of the British public believed more investment was needed in the underlying network infrastructure, findings echoed by Samsung UK and Ireland president Andy Griffiths.

“We also believe infrastructure is key to the realisation of the smart society,” he said, “and we are working with people from across the industry to look at the possibilities for 4G and the future of 5G.”

The report revealed that smart technology was already a part of day-to-day life for many, with mobile apps the most common manifestation, used by 41% of Britons. This was followed by smart TVs, used by 29%, and home efficiency and energy metering technology, used by 16% and 10% respectively.

Home efficiency, security and lighting solutions were cited as the next smart technologies likely to be adopted by the majority, but those surveyed also expressed interest in smart city technology, such as traffic management systems, and healthcare, with 18% keen on the ability to print their own 3D medicine.

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