Scandinavia is pulling ahead of the rest of the world on Internet of Things (IoT) adoption, according to a new report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations specialized agency.
The report showed the twenty countries with the most machine to machine subscriptions relative to 100 mobile subscriptions. Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark were all in the top 10.
The Scandinavian block appears to be seeing more IoT investment than its European counterparts, apart from France, in fifth place. Germany came 17th in the report, and the United Kingdom wasn’t in the top 20.
Sweden came first, bolstered by the performance of Yanzi Networks, a software platform built to make IoT more efficient and Ericsson, one of the largest network giants in the world. Norway and Finland came third and fourth respectively, with Denmark filling out the Scandinavian countries at sixth.
Scandinavia most active but not the only players
Apart from enthusiasm for IoT and lower regulations, there isn’t much the governments of these four countries have been doing that others haven’t tried. The U.K. announced IoT funding in the 2015 budget and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently ran a contest for the best smart city, which led to hundreds of millions in public and private funding.
While Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were expected, Finland is a surprise. The country is wealthy and standard of living is high, but mobile penetration in was much lower than its Scandinavian neighbours in Google’s Our Mobile Planet survey, at 45 percent compared to Norway’s 67 percent, Sweden’s 62 percent, and Denmark’s 59 percent.
It appears Finland has fell behind in the same way, though we can’t be certain since the ITU did not provide actual device ownership numbers.
Connected devices will outnumber Scandinavians 2.6 to one in 2017, according to Machina Research, which should give a good indication of how ubiquitous these connected devices are becoming in the region.