miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

The need to put EU digital policies in the foreground

Europe 2020 strategy was launched in 2010. The aim of it was to boost "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" in Europe. With its genesis in the years previous to the great recession, it was a policy condemned to failure before it started ... unfortunately nobody could see it at that moment. As the European Council says in its March 21th meeting conclusions, "The crisis has slowed down progress towards the key goals of the Strategy and the long-term challenges affecting growth in Europe have not gone away".  This conclusions, based in the European Commission communication "Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth", was the starting point of what its called a midterm review, but could and should end in a whole review of the EU policies.

And what can we find in this review about the ICT and digital policies of Europe? Few things, but this is hardly a surprise. If we take a look to Europe 2020 strategy, the first thing we will discover is that no headline target was established related with the digital economy. As a consequence, we have to go deeper in the document that contains the review of Europe 2020 to find references to the failure or success of the EU digital policies (I do not count as references the mentions to the "Digital Agenda for Europe" without any analysis of its concrete oucomes).

Reading the main document, the first and only mention we find is to the connection between ICT and productivity. It is quite recomforting (although depressing) that the European Commission put black on white that "Lower investment in and use of ICT in Europe account for a large part of the labour productivity gap between the EU and the US". If we want to find the reasons for this fact, I recommend to read the short analysis of the state-of-the-play of the "Digital Agenda for Europe" contained in the annex of the main document

Efficiency of the "Digital agenda for Europe" was affected by a number of weaknesses. Visibility of the flagship initiative suffered from a lack of focus due to the high number of specific measures. The flagship initiative was also unable to bring information and communication technology topics to the core of structural reform agendas. 

Although it could be a lot of discussion about which should be the priorities and focus of the review of the EU digital policies, the paragraph above put forward a biggest problem. The digital economy does not have its deserved importance within the EU policies and needs to have more concrete strategic actions. One way to solve the first issue is establishing of headline target for the renewed Europe 2020 connected with the digital economy. Some people would bet on the percentage of broadband penetration. I would prefer a target more connected with growth, as setting up an objective for the percentage of EU GNP providing by digital and ICT companies. As for the second, I would like to see actions not only guided by the offer (as broadband deployment or establishing a framework for platform neutrality) but also guided by the demand and connected with the different economy sectors (as the development of the industrial dimension of the Digital Agenda).

The ICTs should be in the foreground of the European policies. The rejection of an ambitious programme as the original scheme of the "Connecting Europe Facility" should not happened again if we do not want to lost the battle for the future. But this will be only guarantee if the success of the development of a vibrant digital economy its a headline target for Europe. You are still on time to contribute to put digital policies in the foreground. The only thing you have to do is answering the public consultation on Europe 2020 strategy.

lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

#Innovation #Tirole #bitcoin Somewhere in #digital Europe ...

The way forward to improve people's lives: Inspiring and Completing European Innovation Ecosystems

The report published by the European Commission on behalf of the Innovation Policy Management High Level Group aims to contribute to the EU market of ideas. It is divided in three parts: How to promote EU innovation Ecosystem, how to embed social issues in innovation in order to avoid citizens rejection and the governance of EU innovation Ecosystem.

Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets

Certainly, this paper is nothing that has been written recently. It is a paper wrote by Jean Tirole in 2002. A personal recognition to someone that explained the economic rationale of Google and Facebook before their existence. Enough to be awarded with the Nobel Prize.

Bayesian regression and bitcoin prices

An MIT professor and his student have written a paper describing the use of an algorithm to predict the fluctuating price of Bitcoin. They explored in this paper whether bayesian distribution could be applied to predict future prices based on past data.

miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

The #car of the future: A collection of #digital disruptions

Since Henry Ford started the mass-production of his T-model, the car has been the one of the symbols of progress and development. Both, individuals and countries has used the car as a sign of its status. The individuals buy the more expensive car they can in order to show its position in the social ladder. The number of cars of a country has been a traditional indicator of its richness. Therefore, any changes in the features and production of cars drawn the attention of all of us. The digital era is bringing us a whole bunch of them, so we can be sure that in less than a decade cars will not be as we know today.

The cornerstone of the digital car is connectivity. In the same way that Internet access has changed our leisure and work, the crossroad of cars and connectivity is the cornerstone for changing our relationship with the external world while driving. To begin with, it has the potential to change the full relationship of the car with its surroundings if we add a pinch of artificial intelligence. Thanks to V2V protocols (Vehicle-to-Vehicle), the cars could speak with each other and exchange information that makes safer the driving experience. The car awareness of its surrounding could be dramatically expanded with another family of protocols, V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) that paves the way for a communication of the car with the road infrastructure. It is estimated that V2V and V2I could help to cut by 79% the number of road accidents, however maybe you are getting nervous with all that chatting of your car and you would like to know in real time what the cars talk about with the neighbourhood. Don´t worry, your windscreen or google glasses can inform you about it converting driving in an augmented reality experience.

But perhaps the feature of digital cars has drawn the bigger size of attention in the last months are self-driving cars. First, the Google experiments adding equipment for self-driving in conventional cars. Afterwards, the Google car without wheels and pedals. Even the already avalaible self-parking cars. There are signals of how redundant the human beings could be in the future as drivers. But they are also the door towards a more efficient public transport and logistics based on self-driving cars shared in a Uber-alike manner. And this is not only a disruption in our daily life, it is also a disruption in car manufacturing. The more we will be able to share cars, the less production of cars is needed.

If the impact of self-driving cars in car manufacturing industry is not obvious, what is certain is that 3D printing will take its toll in this sector. Of course, it will begin by printing only spare parts, but printing the whole car is not a far future. It is a reality. A year ago, some prototypes were presented in several events. This year a proof of concept of printing a car in 44 hours has been performed and there are pieces of news about people driving a 3D printed car. This mean a future of a radical decentralisation of car manufacturing. The future that Rifkin has envisioned in his last book.

The question is if after all these digital disruptions the cars will still be cars.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

#Gartner #Culture Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (20/10/2014)

Top ten 2015 technologies

Research firm Gartner has highlighted the top 10 technology trends for 2015 most likely to have a significant impact on enterprises in the next three years.

The contribution of creative industries to the EU economy in terms of GDP and employment

A study on the economic contribution of the creative industries to the EU that captures the evolution of creative industries between 2008 and 2011 in terms of employment and GDP. It is an update of a previous report published in 2010

miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2014

The search of a model for providing digital services infrastructures

Digital Services Infrastructures are a critical input in our modern economy. Until the start of the century, only the basic connectivity to the Internet was in the list of this infrastructures. It is estimated that that a 10 percentage point increase in the broadband penetration rate leads to an annual growth in per-capita GDP of some 1 to 1.5 percentage points. Nevertheless, in the recent years new infrastructures has been added to the list. Basic computing and storage infrastructures in the form of cloud computing services or applications of frequent usage as e-mail are currently in this list, but soon other will be added as big data applications.

It is clear, that the more optimal way to have access to these Digital Services Infrastructures for a organisation is not building by itself but hiring them. Since the 90's, beginning with the basic connectivity, it has been established in Europe the idea that this infrastructures should be provided by the private sector. However, recently The Guardian opened the debate of a nationalisation of the mobile network infrastructure. Obviously, there is not reason for not extending this debate to the whole broadband infrastructure. But in the same way, the debate could be extended to the other infrastructures mentioned above.

Although, as The Guardian mentioned, the national ownership of basic infrastructures is seen as a debate from the past, it seems that at least part of the citizens are not reluctant to open the debate. What is more, it seems that the bigger the intervention of the government in the economy  the bigger the happiness of the citizens.  But do not misunderstood my position, I´m not directly claiming for the nationalisation of the Digital Services Infrastructures. What I´m asking for is for a critical review of the position established in the 90´s related to this point. Since then, new models for providing services not purely public or private have appeared, with different degrees of participation of the public sector (like public-private partnerships) or communities of citizens (digital commons). I have the impression that there has not been a thorough study of the different models for providing digital services infrastructures and their benefits and drawbacks from a social and economic perspective.

Another example of Digital Services Infrastructures are those needed for eGovernment services. Spain has been a model for providing the basic services for building up eGovernment services in a centralised manner, managed by a public sector organisation but operated by private companies. This is a model that in some way is now under development for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme in the European Union. The study of the final scheme for providing the services under the CEF umbrella in a sustanaible manner could be a model to be extended to the whole Digital Services Infrastructures needed by the society.

Digital Services Infrastructures are the more recent case of utilities. If since their inception the other utilities have evolved in its provision model, there is not reason for taking a close minded approach to the provision model of digital infrastructures. Perhaps it is really the right time to start the debate.

lunes, 13 de octubre de 2014

#culture #SME #Privacy Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (13/10/2014)

Digitisation, Online Accessibility and Digital Preservation of Cultural Material in Europe

The report reviews and assesses the overall progress achieved in the European Union in implementing Commission Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation.

SME Performance Review

The SME Performance Review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries' progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA Action Plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU Member States and other 9 partner countries.

EU companies and the future personal data protection regulation

As European authorities aim to ratify revised data protection legislation by the end of 2015, many firms will have a lot of work to do to comply, a study has revealed.

miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014

EU #digital affairs in the new @EU_Commission

We are in the middle of a political frenzy in Europe: The approval of the new European Commission. After the presentation of the Junker proposal for the new Commission in September, the last ten days his team has been grilled by the Parliament. The jury is out and the final verdict will be during the investment session. Perhaps, the more innovative element of the Commission proposed by Juncker is not the names of the people who will integrate its team but its architecture. In order to build up a more effective Commission and at the same time maintaining a representative of each Member State in the College, Juncker has introduced a layer of coordination composed of seven Vicepresidents. These vicepresidents will not be responsible of a concrete sector (e.g. agriculture, energy, ...) but of the fulfilment of a political challenge. In order to fulfill the challenge that each Vicepresident is responsible, he or she should coordinate the efforts of the Commissioners responsible of different sectors.

How the EU digital affairs will be managed in the forthcoming five years are an example of the EU Commission new way of working. On one hand, there will be a Vicepresident for the Digital Single Market. On the other hand, there will be a Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. Although there is a joke outside saying that Neelie Kroes has been so active as Commisioner that now we need two men to do one woman´s job (even she says that are three men for her post, but this is in my opinion a large exageration) , both of them has a different set of responsibilities. The different scope of their future role is described in their respective mission letter that the President of the EU Commission sent each of them.

Although there are some overlapping in the detailed list of missions of the two digital Commissioners (I leave to you the game of finding one mission that is described with the same words for both of them), the clean cut between the different roles is clear. The role of the Digital Single Market Commissioner, Andrus Ansip, is "to make Europe a world leader in information and communication technology" through "making a much better use of the opportunities offered by digital technologies". This means the obligation  to be the Europe´s digital champion, seeking for the smartest usage of ICT in each economic sector and by every citizen. Gunther Oettinger, the Digital Economy and Society Commissioner, is the provider of the inputs needed for making Europe the most advanced digital space in the world. He has to "contribute to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness".

As with every new organisational model, we can be sure that there will be misunderstandings in a first stage between both digital Commissioners. The first doubts about the workability of the new organisation are on the table. But we badly need an smooth and quickly implementation of the new political architecture for EU digital affairs. According with the review of Europe 2020 strategy done by The Lisbon Council, the Digital Agenda is the economy pillar where the gap between Europe and USA and Japan is bigger. Our future is at stake.

martes, 7 de octubre de 2014

#Competitivity #EU Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (7/10/2014)

Europe 2020 Competitiveness Report

A report launched in July, but that I have already discovered: Europe 2020 Competitiveness Report: Building a More Competitive Europe by the World Economic Forum. Building on the Forum’s global world-leading competitiveness and benchmarking data, this report measures Europe’s performance against the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU’s flagship growth and jobs agenda. There is an specific evaluation of Europe digital performance.

Mission letters of the EU Digital Commissioners

Jean Claude Juncker has written mission letters to all the Commisioners-designate. The two Commissioners that will be responsible for the digitalisation of Europe, Oettinger and Ansip, has their own letter.

Statements in #EPHearings2014 of the EU Digital Commissioners

As the first step of their hearings before the Parliament, the dessignated EU Commisioners should give an statement of their intentions. This is the statements given by  Ansip. The statement given by Oettinger is not published in the EC website,

sábado, 4 de octubre de 2014

La renovación del espacio #digital europeo

Las elecciones al Parlamento Europeo del 25 de Mayo fueron el punto de arranque del proceso de renovación de las instituciones europeas. Jean Claude JunckerPresidente de la Comisión Europea entrantese comprometió durante la campaña electoral a trabajar por que los asuntos digitales fueran una prioridad de primera línea en Europa.El diseño de la Comisión Europea que ha presentado para su aprobación por el Parlamento Europeo comienza a materializar este compromiso creando una vicepresidencia responsable del Mercado Único Digital. La persona propuesta para este puesto es Andrus Ansip, ex primer ministro de Estonia, que coordinará e impulsará las acciones del Colegio de Comisarios en el ámbito digital. Estaría principalmente apoyado por el Comisario de Economía y Sociedad Digital, el alemán GüntherOettinger.

El guion que ha marcado el desarrollo de la escena digital europea de los últimos cinco años ha sido la “Agenda Digital para Europa”. La “Agenda Digital para Europa”fue publicada en 2010 como una de las iniciativas insignia de la estrategia “Europa 2020”, destinada a hacer de la Unión Europea una economía inteligente, sostenible e integradora. Completar el mercado único digital es el principal objetivo pendiente de la AgendaLas acciones de los próximos cinco años estarán destinadas a alcanzar ésta meta. La renovación del escenario digital europeo se asentará sobre tres hitos que acaecerán en los próximos quince meses: La finalización de las acciones legislativas iniciadas y no completadas del último quinquenio, la revisión de medio plazo de la Agenda y la finalización de las negociaciones del Tratado de Libre Comercio entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos.

En el su investidura, Jean Claude Juncker expresó su voluntad de finalizar en seis meses tras su toma de posesión la negociación de las acciones legislativas pendientes en el ámbito digital. Con ello, Europa contarácon un conjunto común de normas de protección de datos personales, una renovación de las reglas del mercado europeo de las telecomunicaciones y un marco de cooperación entre los Estados miembros en el ámbito de la ciberseguridadLa aprobación de estas directivas y reglamentos será el legado de la aún Comisaria NeelieKroes y dará por concluida la primera etapa en la construcción del mercado único digital.

La revisión de medio plazo de “Europa 2020”, y con ella de la “Agenda Digital para Europa”, se inició tras el Consejo Europeo de Marzo de 2014 y finalizará, previsiblemente, en el primer semestre de 2015. La evaluación realizada por la Comisión Europea de “Europa 2020” subraya dos circunstancias preocupantes para la Unión. De un lado, la menor inversión y uso de las TIC en Europa en comparación con EE.UU, que señala como responsable del diferencial de productividad entre ambos bloquesDe otro lado, la escasa presencia de empresas europeas en la cadena de valor de la nueva economía. A pesar de haber concluido o tener en curso el 90% de las acciones previstas de la “Agenda Digital para Europa”, la Comisión Europea destaca la necesidad de realizar más inversiones en infraestructuras de banda ancha de alta velocidad reforzar las acciones que permitan situar las tecnologías de la información entre las prioridades de los programas de reformas estructurales. 

La Asociación Transatlántica para el Comercio y la Inversión (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) es un acuerdo actualmente en negociación entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos. Su objetivo es la eliminación de las barreras al comercio en una amplia gama de sectores económicos para que sea más fácil el intercambio de bienes y servicios entre la UE y los EE UU. La negociación por parte dela Unión Europea esliderada por la Comisión Europea bajo mandato del Consejo. En la mesa de negociación se encuentra facilitar el acceso a los mercados en los servicios de telecomunicación y disminuir las barreras regulatorias al comercio de los productos y servicios digitales entre ambos continentes. A finales de 2014 se espera concluir la negociación del borrador de tratado por parte de la Comisión Europea. Durante 2015, el acuerdo habrá de ser ratificado por Consejo y Parlamento. Las instituciones europeas tendrán después que colaborar en la integraciónde las cláusulas del acuerdo relativas a las tecnologías de la información dentro de la estrategia digital europea.

Completar el mercado único digital permitiría a Europa obtener beneficios por valor de 260 billones de Euros anuales. Unos recursos clave para facilitar el retorno de Europa a la senda del crecimiento. La renovación del escenario digital europeo será clave para alcanzar este objetivo.

miércoles, 1 de octubre de 2014

#Digital politicians

UK is well known for its vibrant civic society. In contrast with what we appreciated in the latin countries, in time of elections every kind of organisation tries to influence the future government with a political manifesto. IT sectorial organisations are not an exception. Some weeks ago techUK published his call for "securing the digital future". Among other things, the organisation highlighted the need for "digital ministers"

Digital is the fabric of our future. ICTs are present in every moment of our life and at any economic sector. And its role is not a perfectly defined one but a growing one. This fact has brought a skill digital deficit that politicians try to overcome with actions as the "Grand coalition for jobs" in the European Union. For understanding the need of this kind of actions, politicians should have an understanding of the digital issues. The still current Digital Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, is an example of the kind of politicians I´m talking about. She is also the proof that it is possible to be a digital politician in spite of not being a digital native.

But not only the politicians responsible for digital issues should have digital skills. Using the words of Neelie Kroes, “It is not only important that we have a digital president in Jean-Claude but that Jean-Claude forms his team with all digital commissioners, not just the one taking over my portfolio”. It seems that Jean Claude has not understood the message. Nobody of his team looks as heavy-user of the internet. What is more, there are serious doubts of the digital skills of the proposed successor for Neelie Kroes, in particular in its own country.

Unfortunately, the case of the new European Commission proposed by Jean Claude Juncker is not an exception. We all know cases of politicians that only use the social networks during the electoral campaigns. I´m not saying that it is compulsory for politicians to use these tools, but it is a clear signal of the importance that Internet has in their life. And what could be a signal of the importance they would provide to the digitalisation of its political responsibilities.
palyginti kainas