Coal, Communication Technology, Cybersecurity, DER-Grid Edge, Generation, Natural Gas, News, Smart Grid

Asia and Europe are global industrial digitalization leaders, says BNEF

BNEF AI Chart
BNEF digitalization score vs GDP per capitaCredit: BloombergNEF. GDP data for 2019 from World Bank

Last week, BloombergNEF (BNEF) announced the release of its 2020 national industrial digitalization ranking which shows that South Korea, Singapore and Germany are the top ranking regions.

BNEF’s annual ranking highlights the top countries for industrial digital transformation and technology development, taking into account policy, technology, investment, education levels and venture funding.

Digitalization has become a key pillar of government policy during the nationwide economic struggle due to COVID-19. Government digital strategy is aimed at boosting industrial competitiveness and building capabilities in key technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

AI remains the top technology focus in leading countries. National AI strategies generally address two fronts: forming incentives to boost adoption and setting standards for ethical development. Twenty-one countries adopted national AI strategies since the 2019 rankings. Several more South American and African countries were expected to launch AI policies this year, but progress was stalled due to COVID-19.

Leading countries for the 2020 report hail predominantly from Asia and Europe with each region taking four of the top 10 spots.  China ranks fifth and the U.S. took seventh. In addition to 21 countries that launched AI strategies over the past year, 14 have launched digitalized manufacturing initiatives since BNEF’s review in July 2019.

South Korea took the top spot in 2020, advancing from third place in BNEF’s 2019 ranking due to new policy developments such as a national AI strategy and ‘new deal’ recovery package. Also, the link between digitalization and sustainability has been solidified globally in 2020, with leading nations elevating these as vital elements for future economic growth.

Also, France and Germany, among others, have committed to building a European cloud to challenge the dominance of American and Chinese technology giants. Japan is paying its high-value goods manufacturers to move production away from China, and South Korea is committing to develop a Korean AI chip.

Danya Liu, lead author and digital industry analyst at BNEF, said: “The ranking reveals the markets where industrial systems – from manufacturing to power distribution – are likely to experience the fastest improvements in efficiency thanks to smart technology. Perhaps more importantly, they also indicate which governments are positioned to become new global technology leaders.”

Additionally, fourteen governments have also digitalizing their power, mining, agriculture and oil sectors with policies and incentives. Saudi Arabia’s national strategy allows digital technologies to help enable a new logistics industry, helping diversify away from oil and gas. Germany emphasized digital technologies by developing a battery cell industry for electric vehicles.

Top 10 countries in the BNEF 2020 national industrial digitalization ranking

  1. South Korea
  2. Singapore
  3. Germany
  4. U.K.
  5. China
  6. Japan
  7. U.S.
  8. France
  9. Canada
  10. Sweden