As part of its single digital market strategy, the European Commission has presented a plan to help Europe’s industry, medium and small companies, researchers and state institutions to use all the options provided by modern technologies.
On Tuesday, 19 April, the European Commission presented a number of measures intended to support and combine initiatives to digitize industrial sectors of member states and enhance investments by means of strategic partnership and networks. The commission also proposed specific measures for the development of general standards in priority fields (such as 5G connection networks) and modernization of public services. By realizing the current plan, the commission will create European cloud service. The first objective of this cloud will be to provide 1.7 million European researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, manage, analyse and re-use massive volumes of scientific data, as reported by European Commission’s press-service in Latvia.
Vice President of the Digital Single Market issues Andrus Ansip said: «The industrial revolution of our time is digital. We need the right scale for technologies such as cloud computing, data-driven science and the internet of things to reach their full potential. As companies aim to scale up across the Single Market, public e-services should also meet today’s needs: be digital, open and cross-border by design. The EU is the right scale for the digital times.»
Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger said: «Europe has a very competitive industrial base and is a global leader in important sectors. But Europe will only be able to maintain its leading role if the digitisation of its industry is successful and reached fast. Our proposals aim to ensure that this happens. It requires a joint effort across Europe to attract the investments we need for growth in the digital economy.»
Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: «The digital economy merges with the real economy. We need leadership and investment in digital technologies in areas like advanced manufacturing, smart energy, automated driving or e-health.»
While many parts of the economy have been quick to take up digital technologies and processes, European industry across sectors and regardless of a company’s size must fully use digital opportunities if it is to be globally competitive. Traditional sectors (like construction, agro-food, textiles or steel) and SMEs are particularly lagging behind in their digital transformation. Recent studies estimate that digitization of products and services will add more than €110 billion of revenue for industry per year in Europe in the next five years.
Several EU Member States have already launched strategies to support the digitization of industry. But a comprehensive approach at European level is needed to avoid fragmented markets and to reap the benefits of digital evolutions such as the Internet of things.
As part of this approach, the Commission will: help coordinate national and regional initiatives on digitizing industry by maintaining a continuous EU-wide dialogue with all actors involved. A governance framework will be set up with Member States and industry; focus investments in EU’s public-private partnerships and strongly encourage the use of the opportunities offered by the EU Investment Plan and European Structural and Investment Funds; invest EUR 500 million in a pan-EU network of digital innovation hubs (centres of excellence in technology) where businesses can obtain advice and test digital innovations; set up large-scale pilot projects to strengthen internet of things, advanced manufacturing and technologies in smart cities and homes, connected cars or mobile health services; adopt future-proof legislation that will support the free flow of data and clarify ownership of data generated by sensors and smart devices. The Commission will also review rules on safety and liability of autonomous systems; present an EU-skills agenda that will help give people the skills needed for jobs in the digital age.
In total, the European Commission has put together 20 measures that have to be realized before the end of 2017.