lunes, 30 de junio de 2014

#Cloud #eHealth #Innovation #opendata Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (30/6/2014)

Turning Demographic Ageing in Europe into Opportunities

This report explores innovative initiatives in Europe and synergy possibilities with European Union Innovation Programmes and Regional Development Funds to support seniors by innovative solutions enabled by ICT.


Measuring the impact of Pre commercial procurement

First information of an European Commission study on the impact of PCP.


The business case for open data

Economic analysis has confirmed the significant contribution to economic growth and productivity achievable through an open data agenda. Implementation of open data policies would thus boost cumulative G20 GDP by around 1.1 percentage points (almost 55%) of the G20’s 2% growth target over five years.


Cloud Service Level Agreement Standardisation Guidelines

A first step towards standardised building blocks for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) terminology and metrics in Cloud services. These guidelines will help professional cloud users ensure essential elements are included in plain language in contracts they make with cloud providers.

miércoles, 25 de junio de 2014

Review: The Second Machine Age

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Far from being the continuation of "The race against the machine", "The second machine age" includes the main conclusions of the previous book written by the authors as the starting point to develop a call for optimism. Certainly, we are just in the middle of a revolution on the way we work and produce, but driving this revolution towards a positive result is in our hands. Both in the personal side as for the society.

The authors advocate again on the inevitability of the technology revolution. Due to the exponential, digital and combinatorial features of technology, we cannot stop the continuous flood of innovations that is transforming a growing number of human tasks in machine activities. Therefore, the only intelligent position is learning how to team up with the machines to develop new activities. As Hal Varian said, "seek to be indispensable complement to something that´s getting cheap and plentiful".

As in our personal life we need to know how to complement the machines, the society should develop the capabilities that allows the individuals being complementary to the machines. Governments are responsible of developing education based on ICT and entrepreunership skills and fostering the developing of digital infrastructures, jointly with the rewiring of the taxation system for the digital age (including the implementation of a basic rent in the form of a negative income tax).

We are in unstoppable process towards a society based in artificial intelligence. It is in our hands to have a place in the future.

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lunes, 23 de junio de 2014

#innovation Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (23/6/2014)

The European Service Innovation Scoreboard

The European Commission introduces a wide range of indicators to measure the impact of service innovation at national and regional levels. This is a summary of the findings of the first European Service Innovation Scoreboard.

miércoles, 18 de junio de 2014

New tools for fighting the growing inequality

This not the first post where I included a mention to "The second machine age", although in this case the reference could be switched with a reference to many other books. One of the topics inevitable in any book that analyse the current state of the economy from any perspective is the growing inequality, so the book written by McAffee and Brynjolfsson has the well-known data about the growing gap among the different classes. 

The growing inequality of our society could be sum up in three of the graphics included in the book, that could also be found in many other books. On one hand, productivity is experienced an spectacular growth in he last decade. On the other hand, while this productivity is having a positive impact in GDP is not having the same impact in wages, and even the distribution of the scarce positive impact on wages is not well balanced (see below).





There is a big concern about this growing inequality. And solutions are proposed in several places. One of this proposals is included in the report "The customer is always right", written by a British think-tank. Basically, the idea is to take advantage of the power-purchase of the public sector to establish some limits among the gap of salaries in the private sector in those companies which its main source of revenues is the public sector. The instruments proposed are two:
  • Setting pay caps
  • Imposition of a maximum pay ratio

But although establishing limits in the gap among different workers (from CEO to the less skilled worker) is part of the solution is not all the solution. This tool does not solve the problem that productivity is growing while wages are decreasing, mainly because it does not the issue of what Keynes calls technological unemployment. This new group of unemployed is probably one of the reasons for the decrease in the percentage of GDP dedicated to wages.  Because inequality could only be solved if we tackle the gap berween the share of GDP dedicated to wages and profits. 

Could be the power-purchase of the public sector an instrument to tackle the gap between the share of GDP dedicated to wages and profits? Well,  there is no reason for not exploring this path, and establishing taxes for redistribution an excess of profits coming from revenues obtaining from selling services to the public sector.

Growing inequality could destabilize our society and the world. The old tools are not probably the solution and exploring the power of new tools, like the power-purchase of public sector, not yet included in mainstream of policy making is a must.










lunes, 16 de junio de 2014

#Cloud #policy #Art #Design Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (16/6/2014)

The impact of Cloud

To examine the mid- to long-term impact of cloud in all its various forms, the Economist Intelligence Unit invited six experts in the field to contribute original essays explaining their predictions. Those essays are collected here in a single report, named 'The impact of cloud'.


Technology Manifesto

A digital policy document written by "Policy Exchange", one of the main British think-tanks. The document puts forward a set of recommendations for the political parties programmes for the 2015 Elections in Britain.


The Future of ICT for Creativity and Creative Industries

Professionals from different creative industries (games, film, video, music, design and fashion, architecture, advertising and others), technology providers for these sectors and researchers from the relevant fields took part in a workshop, hosted by the European Commission on 26 and 27 March in Luxembourg. Their conclusions and a detailed record of the meeting is avalaible.

miércoles, 11 de junio de 2014

The needed (and feared) digital transformation of #gov workforce

"The Second Machine Age" is a book that deserves a read by all those interested in the digital economy. I do not think this will be the last entry in which I Included a mention to a book that I really enjoyed its reading. One of the thinks that provides the book is an important set of examples on how digital technologies is changing the nature of the labour in different areas.

One of these outstanding examples is the photograph sector. While the book includes the estimation that 10% of all times photographs were taken in the last year, at the same time provides figures of the declining of the labour force especifically dedicated to the photograph sector. The 145,300 people that Kodak employed at one point have been disolved among digital cameras embedded in smartphones and sharing and likes in socialmedia. The labour force in the sector has decreased but the usage of its products has dramatically increased.

And the photograph sector is neither the first nor the last sector to be transformed. It is well-known the case of the music sector and currently there are interesting cases of labour force transformation around the shared economy models. Uber is one of this cases. The resistance to digitalisation in this case will be as futile as in other cases, in spite of the extreme cases of analogue chasing of the uber "service providers".

One of the sectors that is resisting the transformation of its labour force is the government. Although the digitisation of public services is growing, we are not seeing a significant decrease in the number of civil servants. Probably, because the core tasks done by civil servants are at their first stage of digitisation. We are currently living the automatisation of the routinary work (e.g. the reception of applications) but the non-routinary chores has been scarcely changed by digital technologies (e.g. writing reports or studies on a topic). And the chores still to be transformed are those that consume more human resources. The civil servants would like to think that tasks as writing reports and studies will never be done by a machine, but there are some cases of succesful piece of news and academy articles written by computers.

The automatisation of non-routinary work in government will have as a consequence the changing on the balance of the civil servants workforce. There will be a big need of people dedicated to the creation of the algorithms capable of transforming the information in knowledge and products. Besides the automatisation of the creation of reports, it is the case of other activities, like taking a decision on grants and fundings. It will be needed more people with STEM (science, technology, engineering y mathematics) skills that are currently employed in the public sector.

It is presumable that the transformation of the workforce in the civil service will find the same fiery resistance than in the cases of music, photograph or urban private transport. However, this transformation will happen. It is a need to provide more efficient and effective public services. But it would be better that the society begins the preparations for such a transformation instead of denying it. The precentage of public employes in the total labour force in developed countries is so high, that it will be the real moment of truth for the transformation of work.

lunes, 9 de junio de 2014

#IPv6 #116 #Taxes Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (9/6/2014)

The Internet in Transition: The State of the Transition to IPv6 in Today's Internet and Measures to Support the Continued Use of IPv4


This report considers the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 alongside the use of network technologies to prolong IPv4 use in the face of depletion of further IPv4 protocol addresses, but it does not aim to address all issues surrounding the transition to IPv6 or to detail the economic incentives faced by various Internet actors. It first provides a status update of address management issues and the run-out of IPv4. It then describes the advantages and limitations of increased use of network address translation as one response to sustain the use of IPv4 in the face of IPv4 address exhaustion. It provides an overview of the IPv6 protocol; the advantages of IPv6 deployment as a response to IPv4 address exhaustion and the IPv6 transition plan compared to actual deployment to date. Finally, the report examines the choices facing individual actors, their potential consequences, and the policy implications on openness and innovation for the future of the Internet.


State of play on the implementation of the 116 numbers

This document gives an updated overview of the current state of play on the implementation of the numbers 116 000 (hotline for missing children), 116006 (helplines for victims of crime), 116111 (child helplines), 116117 (non-emergency medical on-call services) and 116123 (emotional support helplines) in all Member States, as of 1 May 2014.


Report of the Commission Expert Group on Taxation of the Digital Economy

The Commission High Level Expert Group on Taxation of the Digital Economy is examining the best ways of taxing the digital economy in the EU, weighing up both the benefits and risks of various approaches. This final report of its work focus   on identifying the key problems with digital taxation from an EU perspective, and presenting a range of possible solutions.



miércoles, 4 de junio de 2014

Beyond #NetNeutrality : The need for #DigitalNeutrality

Since April, a lot of fuss has been created around the net neutrality concept at both sides of the Atlantic. On one hand, the European Parliament included some amendments  in the European Commission´s regulation proposal for a Telecom Single Market in order to reinforce net neutrality. On the other hand, the FCC in the USA has been forced to re-open the debate in the USA after a decision of the Court of Columbia rejecting its previous rules on the issue.

According with wikipedia, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. This idea introduced in 2003 has been the cornerstone that has helped edge service providers to grow. Netflix, Amazon or Google would not be what they are today it they had had to foot the bill for the traffic generated or received by their services. Neither it would have been possible to have other services that are now part of our digital life, like facebook or twitter. To end up, net neutrality has contributed to promote freedom of expression through an unlimited  amount of user generated contents.

Personally, I think that net neutrality principle should be preserved. Nevertheless, I also think that it should be part of a more broader concept, you can call it "digital neutrality", a similar principle to net neutrality but for the service and application layer. For instance, the concept of "search neutrality" recently introduced by the Open Internet Project or the idea of "app neutrality" proposed by a Huffpost blogger.

The debate on net neutrality is debate from the past. In the terms that it is on the table, it is negative for innovation and freedom. Telecom operators are trying to gain a battle already lost and returning to a dominant position, but edge service providers are also trying to fight innovation maintaining a status quo that clearly favour their economic interest. 

The fierceness of the battle for  net neutrality between both sides can be followed in the press, representatives of both sides release press releases at the peak moments of the fighting. And the battle in the offices behind this press releases is even fiercer according with the scarce knowledge we have of lobbying activities. For instance, google and telco operators are among the top spenders in lobby activities in the U.S.. But we should not let them to hide us what should be the real debate, the debate for a "digital neutrality" that guarantee us freedom of choice as consumers and civil liberties as citizens in our digital life.


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