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To keep up to the global competitiveness, the EU industrial sectors, e.g. transport, services, farming, manufacturing, etc. shall use more actively modern digital technologies and ICT achievements. While Commission designs a plan for building Digital Single Market for industry the Baltic States shall be prepared to implement the plan…

Industry is regarded by the Commission’s political agenda as the main driving force of Europe's economy: industrial farming, manufacturing, health, engineering, etc. employs a lot of people and make EU exports larger.

However, the world turns more digital and the EU member states will have to turn digital too. Thus, the Commission’s digital agenda and Digital Single Market program are oriented towards getting industry digital while boosting innovation in several new growth areas (the data economy, the IoT -Internet of Things-, high-performance cloud computing, etc.).

The Commission revealed a plan to equip European industry with EU-wide tools to go digital.

Going digital is a complex operation, which affects almost every aspect of human lives. The Digital Single Market strategy gives European industry the chance to be at the cutting edge of technological progress: to get ahead, to prepare for the future by removing the barriers of the past and present.

In order to avoid missing out on the tremendous business and employment opportunities that digitising industry will bring the member states must lose no time. Below is a digest of the Commission’s ideas towards “digitalized” industrial development“ or Digital Single Market for industry, DSMI.

Common technical standards

The Commission intends to promote common technical standards and e-government services in the member states. Therefore, in the coming days, it will present a package of Digital Single Market initiatives in that direction designed to strengthen digital innovation and technology across all economic sectors.

Commission’s vision for industry within building “Digital Single Market for industry, DSMI” includes the following components:

  • to make sure that European industry is in a position to compete strongly in digital technologies;
  • to make sure that every industry in Europe (regardless of a sector, size and location) can get the full benefit from digital innovation.

In concrete terms, DSMI is about:

  • building and expanding infrastructure for data analytics in Europe;
  • giving the member states’ businesses interoperable systems (only once) across borders for interacting with administrations;
  • strengthening trust in cloud services for SMEs;
  • making standard-setting a strategic priority for Europe;
  • creating a seamless plug-and-play environment for the Internet of Things in the Digital Single Market;
  • coordinating new national industry strategies for the best effect on the ground;
  • and giving Europe's workforce the digital skills they need to fill future jobs.

Europe’s industrial digital future

The digital package is to create the right environment for Europe’s industrial digital future.

As a starting point, it is essential to attract more investment into “digitised industry”: high-performance computing facilities and data infrastructure for science and engineering.

A good way to do this is by pooling public and private resources to leverage investment.

Commission plans to improve coordination and efficiency of the EU's many research and developments programmes so they become a solid vehicle for EU-wide investment in digital.

More than 30 national and regional initiatives for digitising industry have been launched over the last few years, e.g. Industrie 4.0 in Germany, Smart Industry in the Netherlands, Industrie du Futur in France.

However, these initiatives may be put at risk on a wider European scale without cooperation and integration; this is highly needed in order to speed up technology's integration across all industry sectors. The Commission will support national and regional coordination to “digitise industry”, to monitor progress and align national strategies.

European industry's future will be based on “data”: whether in new and exciting forms, in different uses of data that brings their own challenges, in innovative data-driven business models or/and in rapidly changing industrial environment.

Cloud computing as an example

In the coming few years, this sector's market size is due to expand massively due to vast amounts of data generated by digital technologies, processed and analysed in ways and at speeds that were unimaginable until recently.

However, the gap is widening in Europe between production of data and the capacity to process it using high-performance computing. To avoid the real risk of falling behind when others are racing ahead, the Commission has designed the European Cloud Initiative, ECI to boost innovation capacity across scientific disciplines and industrial sectors.

The ECI is about creating some real, physical capacity in the form of world-class “cloud and data infrastructure” for science and engineering.

The plan is to blend different sources of national and EU funding, with investment leveraged from the private sector, to support new data infrastructure over the next five years.

Next-generation high-performance computing will bring large-scale data handling capacity to the fingertips of any scientist and engineer in the EU; it will allow the member states to compete and thrive in the global data economy.

Another part of the plan is to improve certification mechanisms to strengthen trust in cloud computing and encourage take-up of cloud services.

The exponential growth in data also affects the public sector, since it produces and gathers a wide range of information. Digitising public services is an obvious way to reduce administrative burden and costs as well as raising efficiency and service quality, especially for businesses.

Thus, the ext e-government action plan will address the ways businesses are operating across borders: to support them in dealings with public administrations, to help companies grow quicker in greater EU single market. Putting it more widely into practice could save business some € 5 billion per year by 2017.

Compatibility

Optimal development of the vital plan’s components, e.g. cloud infrastructure, IoT or e-government databases, requires compatibility. Systems, devices and networks have to be able to 'talk' with each other; all data shall flow smoothly, given the advent of 5G networks and growth in big data.

Technologies are changing faster than ever: boundaries between technologies are becoming blurred: one’s phone is now both a car navigation system and a health monitor… This type of convergence challenges both conventional standard-setting processes and the way “standards’ bodies” work with each other. The problem will only get worse as digital technologies become more commonplace, and the pace of innovation gets faster.

High-quality standards and interoperability are becoming the basic building blocks for the Digital Single Market. They are not only “the glue” that holds its different parts together; they allow innovators to scale up their products, and to compete globally.

ICT standardisation

Today, many key digital technologies are lost in a jungle of standards, and a plethora of standard-setting bodies. Standards are a highly strategic area and are essential for raising the competitiveness of European industry.

The Commission has identified five areas that are critical to the success of the Digital Single Market, where ICT standardisation is the most urgent: = 5G communications, = cloud computing, = the Internet of Things (IoT), = the big data and = cybersecurity.

Only together these five elements will provide a successive development in the European industry. Besides, standard-setting is vital for industrial and innovation leadership: the starting point here will be to map and assess what can be streamlined and simplified.

Reference: European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market; speech at the EU conference “Europe's Digital Prospects: Masters of Digital or Mastered by Digital?” Brussels, 5 April 2016. In: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-16-1242_en.htm?locale=en

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Eugene Eteris

Quelle/Source: The Baltic Course, 07.04.2016

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