People in Britain are keen to use new technologies such as smart cards and online facilities in their everyday lives but most have limited access to them, according to a survey published today.
The survey, conducted by market research firm Mori on behalf of Motorola, found that although much of the technology is readily available and many items are becoming more affordable, there is still some way to go before Britain becomes a true Information Society.
The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,037 adults aged 16-plus and a further 100 board directors. Key findings conclude that over half of the UK public think it would be acceptable to use smartcard technology for a range of applications including driving licences (73 per cent), ID cards (70 per cent), passports (64 per cent) and social security benefit cards (61 per cent).
Three quarters of those questioned said they would be willing to ensure smartcard security by using fingertip identification while half would be happy voting electronically in an election.
Fifty five per cent would be prepared to use online facilities to fill in government forms such as income tax returns while 85 per cent believe children should have access to the Internet at school. Only 36 per cent currently have a PC at home, although 56 per cent expect to own one by the year 2000 - an increase of over 50 per cent.
However, the survey also found that society is divided in its use of technology between the 'Haves' and 'Have-Nots'. According to Mori, almost half of the general public feel they are being left behind in terms of understanding new technologies.
Advertisers who are heavily promoting their Web sites will not be pleased with the results. Despite 85 per cent having heard of the Internet, three quarters of them do not know how to get connected to it and only nine per cent of the population use the Internet on a regular basis.
Also, over 43 per cent of the population do use on a regular basis any main IT items currently available such as mobile phones, computers, electronic organisers or pagers.
?The British population is ready for the application of new technology to everyday life but this survey shows that we are still a nation of IT haves and have-nots,? said Mike Alderson, chairman of Motorola. ?If the information society is to become a reality, we must make sure that we make IT work for everyone.?
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