miércoles, 30 de abril de 2014

Las tres bodas de Manolita

Las tres bodas de ManolitaLas tres bodas de Manolita by Almudena Grandes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continua Almudena Grandes recuperando la memoria de un país que "nunca ha estado preparado para ser feliz". Historias de resistencia interior, de refugiarse en el amor como fuente de la fuerza para hacer frente a tanto oprobio. Buscar la isla desierta donde "atrincherarse y resistir". Una época de España en la que Dios "nos apretó y nos ahogo, pero nada podía salir mal eternamente". Aunque al final el régimen nunca cambió en realidad, aunque los traidores y los torturadores salieran sin mácula, el sacrificio de nuestros padres y abuelos no fue en vano.

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martes, 29 de abril de 2014

#Internet #Skills #Economy Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (29/4/2014)

Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on a Guide to human rights for Internet users

This declaration comes as the human rights organisation launches a guide detailing information on how internet users across Europe can better understand their rights online and what they can do if they feel these rights are challenged. The guide covers topics such as freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly, association and participation, privacy and data protection.

"Workplace of the Future, A view from European youth"

An research study on what young Europeans think about the future workplace. The research was carried out on young people from EU28 countries whom were asked a series of questions on their thoughts for a future workplace. Not published yet the detailed results, but a summary of them could be found in some online publications

Global flows in the Digital age 

The movement of goods and services, finance, and people has reached previously unimagined levels. Global flows are creating new degrees of connectedness among economies—and playing an ever-larger role in determining the fate of nations, companies, and individuals. To be unconnected is to fall behind. This report of McKensey establishes a ranking of the countries better coonected to the global flows.

Global Information Technology Report 

This year marks the 13th edition of the Global Information Technology Report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote economic growth and well-being. Using updated methodology that was introduced in 2012, the report ranks the progress of 148 economies in leveraging ICT to increase productivity, economic growth and the number of quality jobs.

jueves, 24 de abril de 2014

#ICT Somewhere in Digital Europe ... (22/4/2014)

European ICT Poles of Excellence report

A study that aims to identify the top ICT Hubs in the European Union. The findings relied on a Composite Indicator bringing together 42 Indicators to evaluate ICT activities.Several data sources and databases were used to elaborate the indicators and measurements: University rankings, citation indexes, information on European research projects' collaborations, how many global top R&D investor companies in ICTs are present in each region, venture capital funding or employment data and companies' turn over information.

martes, 22 de abril de 2014

ICT Standardisation in Europe

Standards are important in every aspects of the economy. Their main role is the promotion of competition through collaboration, the establish  a win-win relationship between the demand and supply side of goods and services. Their importance for the ICT sector is well-known by the usual reader of this blog, but their importance goes beyond the ICT sector. The impact of standards in the EU GDP growth is estimated between 0.3% and 1%.

The promotion of standarisation in the EU ICT sector within the standarisation of EU goods an services can be easily traced. On one hand, the Digital Agenda for Europe set up "Interoperability and Standards" as one of its seven pillars. On the other hand, as standardisation is also important to other initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, an "Standarisation Package" were put forward by the EC in June 2011 with the aim of promoting the modernisation of the European Standarisation System. This package was composed by the communication "A strategic vision for European standards: Moving forward to enhance and accelerate the sustainable growth of the European economy by 2020" and a regulation proposal on European Standarisation (this proposal was finally adopted by the Parliament and the Council as the Regulation 1025/2012).

The framework described above is the driver for a major review of the EU ICT standardisation policy. Without leaving aside the WTO principles for the development of standards (transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, and coherence), the Regulation 1025/2012 set up a fast track fot using existing ICT specifications in public procurement. At the heart of this process is the ICT Standardisation Multistakeholder Platform (ICT-MSP), which has its main role the identification and evaluation of specifications for this purpose. The political backing of this processs and the group is given by the fact that its introduction in the Regulation 1025/2012 was introduced by the Parliament and the Council, as it can be easily appreciated the original EC proposal does not include neither of them. 

The main achievement of the ICT-MSP has been the development of "The Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation". The plan is a living document that try to foresee the standardisation needs on the ICT area for the support of the EU policies.

ICT standardisation sometimes it is seen as a hinder for the development of new products and services, as an obstacle for the accelerate process of the digital age. Nothing is farther od reality. As the European Council underlines in its conclusions on octuber 2013 
"There is also a need to address the bottlenecks in accessing one's "digital life" from different platforms which persist due to a lack of interoperability or lack of portability of content and data"
And only standards can help us in this task.

martes, 15 de abril de 2014

#egov #vat Somewhere in Europe ... (15/4/2014)

Study on eGovernment and the Reduction of Administrative Burden

This study was foreseen under the eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015. It contains a mapping of the current initiatives in Membrer States, an estimation of the economic benefits of the Reduction of Administrative Burden and a hint about future actions.

Explanatory notes of the new VAT system

The Commission published explanatory notes to help businesses prepare for the new VAT rules for telecom, broadcasting and electronic services which will enter into force in 2015.

miércoles, 9 de abril de 2014

#cloud, #telco Somewhere in europe last week ... (10/4/2014)

Trusted Cloud Europe

A policy paper published by the European commission and elaborated by the European Cloud Partnerhip. It is a proposal open to public consultation,  it contains a list of possible  actions needed to be taken to accelerate the adoption of Cloud Computing in Europe. 

Telecom Single Market Regulation (Parliament proposal)

After a long debate, the European Parliament approved its ammendments to the European Commission proposal of a Telecom Single Market regulation. The end of roaming charges by 2015 and the strenghtening of Net Neutrality are the highlights of the Parliament proposal.

Unleashing the Power of Big Data for Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Research 

This OECD paper shows the opportunities for big data in a concrete field. How big data could help to tackle Alzheimer and the hurdles needed to be removed for it.

lunes, 7 de abril de 2014

Signs of the importance of the Digital Single Market for new EU legislative period

As the moment of the European  Parliament elections gets closer, more and more reports try to foresee which challenges will be need to be tackled by the new European legislative period. There is a general consensus that the Union is at a cross-road, harrassed by Eurosceptics from the inside and sieged  by the emerging economies from the ouside. Only a quick, visible and fair-for-all economic recovery would help to overcome this critical moment. And, like it or not, the European economic recovery is unlikely to take place unless we do an smart use of digital technologies.

We are just in the middle of an evolution. Europe is on the brink to be the "Knowledge Society" that takes its roots in eEurope Plan, but this aim should be quickly replaced by the "Knowing Society". There is a need to develop the social, operational and capital infrastructures that enable a continuous tracking, measuring and interpretation of  our environment in order to react to any expected or unexpected event in real-time. The need to convert Europe in "Knowing Society" is the cornerstone of the report "The Digital world in 2030", written by the EIF. The importance of this report is due to the fact that the board and founders of the EIF are MEPs. A similar exercise in 2009 ended up in the European Parlament proposals that shaped the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Becoming a "Knowing Society" is critical for Europe. It would be the first consequence of fully achieving the "Digital Single Market", and the efficiency gains of achieving it are valued in 260 € billion by the European Parliament. Therefore, ir should be no surprise of the growing interest of our MEPs on the digital issues since the approval of their resolution "Completing the Digital Single Market" on December 2012. And although the European Institutions have greatly advanced towards this objective in the last two years, specially after the backing of the European Council in Octuber 2013, we are still far from reaching it. 

The paper of the EIF mentioned above identified some of the stones we need to lay down to build this "Knowing Society". Of course it pointed the need to adquire the command in the triade of technologies that are driving now the digital economy (mobile, cloud and data) and the pre-requisite of a seamless connectivity in the continent. But it gives greater emphasis to non-technological measures as developing the ICT skills individually and as a society or embedding Internet of all the future legislation and the elimination of the paper-based constraints of the current legal framework.

But also recent reports and studies conducted officially by the European Parliament underlines the need to take seriously the digital issues in the next legislative period. "Streaming and Online Content Services" is one of this documents. Again, it speaks of the need of fostering the appearance of cloud infrastructures and ubiquitous connectivity. But it also proposes that the next Single Market Act (a kind of roadamap with the legislative priorities for EU) should have the focus on the Digital Single Market. 

However, the biggest sign of this interest can be found in other paper produced by the European Parliament: The controverted report on NSA cyber surveillance activities. As a way of conclusion, among its final recommendations, it calls to "Develop a European strategy for greater IT independence". This call is the best way to define what looks as one of the main objectives of the EU Institutions for the new legislative period.

jueves, 3 de abril de 2014

#telco #eLearning #ehealth #crowdfunding Somewhere in Europe last week ... (3/4/2014)

The value of more Europe

Europe’s economy could be boosted by €800 billion – equivalent to 6% of current GDP – if more action is undertaken at EU level, according to a study by the European Parliament. Creating a digital single market alone would generate an additional €260 billion, more than Denmark’s estimated GDP for 2014. The study looked at the cumulative efficiency gains of a series of policy actions at the European level to help set priorities for how the EU should invest its money the coming five years.

European Commission Communication: Unleashing the potential of Crowdfunding in the European Union

Crowdfunding is an emerging alternative source of financing. It refers to open calls to the public, generally via internet, to finance a project through either a donation, a monetary contribution in exchange for a reward, product pre-ordering, lending, or investment. The Communication of the European Commission explores the potential and the risks of this relatively new and growing form of finance, as well as the national legal frameworks applicable to it, in order to identify whether there is value added in European level policy action in this field.

Special Eurobarometer 414 - e-Communications Household Survey

The Commission has released the results of a Eurobarometer survey to measure the attitude of EU households and citizens towards the main e-communications services in the Single Market: fixed and mobile voice telephony and Internet access, TV broadcast services and service packages. The survey measures consumer's perception of mobile roaming, broadband speed, quality of experience of access services, affordability, switching service provider and price transparency, 112 awareness and use of public payphone and directory enquiry services. The fieldwork was conducted between 18 and 27 January 2014. It covers the 28 EU Member States, with a total of 27,736 respondents interviewed. It follows on from the previous Eurobarometer survey which was conducted in February-March 2013.

European Hospital Survey - Benchmarking Deployment of eHealth services (2012-2013)

A survey carried out in about 1,800 hospitals in the 28 EU countries plus Iceland and Norway measures the level of deployment and take-up of ICT and eHealth applications in acute care hospitals in Europe.

Survey of schools: ICT in Education

This study collected and benchmarked information from 31 European countries (EU27, HR, ICE, NO and TR) on the access, use, competence and attitudes of students and teachers regarding ICT in schools.

martes, 1 de abril de 2014

Tridimensional long-term industrialisation plans

A consequence of the economic crisis we are still living is the revaluation of industry and its value as leverage for growth. The industry has shown more resilence as a source of employment and, therefore, there is an apparently firm commitment in Europe and other advanced areas to promote a reindustrialisation of the economy. And it is really needed, because as started the EU industry strategy, although it has shown its resilience it has lost weight in the EU GNP (from 15,4% in 2008 to 15,1% in 2012).  Not surprising that those who has managed to stop this decline as Germany has also been less impacted by unemployment.

In order to maintain or recover the industrial power, several countries and multinational organisations have developed long-term strategies. The European Union, mentioned above, is not the only case. Japan has include a Plan for the Revitalization of Japanese Industry as one of the three axis of its new growth strategy, United Kingdom also has included and Industrial Strategy as part of its Plan for Growth and there are other cases around the developed countries. Some common trends could be identified in all of them, as the importance given to ICTs, skills and capability building (e.g European Commission has included Industry-led training as a principle for National Coalitions for Digital Jobs) or the promotion of enterpreneurship. Long-term investment plans are increasingly look as the tool for the implementation of these reindustrialisation strategy. Plans that are a collection of projects that sum up a big budget in order to tackle at the same time the productivity problem and the challenge to discover new sources of industrial growth.

The answer takes the shape of the development of an industrial dimension for the digital policies. The promotión of this dimension through a collection of projects oriented to boost the digital revolution in the industry. Why this is needed in the European Union? Some reasons could be found in the executive summary of the "European Competitive Report 2013". On one hand, during the economic crisis, productivity in Europe has decreased 1% while in the USA has increased 4%. On the other hand, more than 40% of manufacturing employment in Europe is in low-tech industries. It is more than clear that somthing need to be done.

The traditional approach to the design of long-term investment plans has been a two-dimension approach. To begin with,  policy-makers choose the industrial sectors they think that are in need to be boosted. Afterwards, they conduct a research in order to discover which are the future key technology enablers for each sector. This have worked in the past, but nowadays ICT has become the general purpose technology for every industrial sector. We need to introduce a third dimension that reduces the number of key technologies to be researched its application for each sector and at the same time helps to combine several sectors for finding sinergies among them. This dimension is no other than the human factor, the challenges we face as a society.

A third dimensional approach to long-term plan of industrial investments has other advantages. The societal challenge dimension provide us with an inmediate area for the aplication of the R&D efforts, a more inmediate path to reurn of investments that foster the collaboration of the private sector in the reindustrialisation objective (and its worth to remember that the low private contribution to R&D in Europe in comparison with the USA is another of our problems, 1.5 times less private R&D in Europe).

Building a tridimensional long-investment industrialisation plan is almost impossible to be done by the government alone. An inclusive open government policy making is needed in order to identify, firstly, the societal challenges and secondly how the different sectors and technologies can help to tackle the challenges. Government, as any leadership task, it should not be a solitary task. But this is more compulsory when the stones in the path towards the future are being laying.

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