Since the early days, French inventors have played a fundamental role in innovations such as the development of photography and the internal combustion engine.
France was recently ranked by the United Nations as the number one country in Europe and number four globally for its e-government services, telecommunications infrastructure and education levels. More than half 53 per cent of the French population now pay their taxes online, while 86 per cent of farmers apply for aid under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) online.
Since the early days, French inventors have played a fundamental role in innovations such as the development of photography and the internal combustion engine. They were pioneers of the first mechanical adding machine, electric generator and the refrigerator, among others. French industry has also been at the forefront of the development of high-speed transportation systems such as the Concorde and the TGV high-speed train. French subway companies have built as well as provided equipment for mass-transit systems in countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
France was the third nation, after the former Soviet Union and the US, to launch its own space satellite, in 1965. Presently the country focuses on contributing to the different missions of the European Space Agency. Pertinently the US and France have signed an agreement for the Mars Insight mission planned for launch in 2016 and are continuing to negotiate an agreement on solar activity and space weather, which will push the boundaries of scientific exploration.
Currently, digital technology represents 5.5 per cent of French GDP. According to a recent study from McKinsey, France may increase the share represented by digital technology in its GDP by almost ?100 billion by 2020.
Also, statistics show that 83 per cent of the French use the Internet as compared to the European average of 75 per cent according to the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Research (Insee) in 2012. They are also very active on social networks; a study found that Facebook has 28 million active users in the country.
What is more, France is also at the cutting edge of Big Data and recent studies have found that three out of five French companies use advanced analytical processing to improve their efficiency and save time. The country is also known for the number of online courses it offers making education in diverse fields more accessible through the French Digital University (FUN - France Université Numérique).
Further, statistics from Maravedis Rethink, a leading wireless infrastructure analyst firm, found France to be well ahead of many countries, including the US, with more than 13 million public Wi-Fi terminals and the country is all set to increase the number of terminals by 80 per cent by 2018.
France is also aiming to make it possible to send paperless invoices to all state suppliers by 2017, which will result in estimated savings of ?700 million per year for businesses and the public sector, making sure it offers high-tech across the board in the future.