miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2015

An open model for reputation services

It´s constantly repeated that we live in a world of information. We create2.5 quintillion bytes of data, so much that 90% of the data in the world todayhas been created in the last two years. I have not found any estimation of which percentage of this daily production of information is based on personal data. Nevertheless, as sharing personal data is the key for the improvement of the user experience in the most popular Internet services, we can be pretty sure that it is a great percentage.

We are so aware that our user experience of Internet services depend on sharing our personal data that the majority of us has accepted the deal. Even after we have known the massive surveillance based on the data provided by Internet services, 80% of Europeans still feel comfortable sharing its personaldata in exchange for services. Nevertheless, perhaps  we are not fully aware of the subtle change of the  role of personal data in the last generation of Internet services. In Google, Facebook and Amazon, we are asked for our personal data to improve our user experience. In Uber, Airbnb and many other shared economy services, the personal data we provided are evaluated by others and is the key for having a user experience or not having it at all. Welcome to the reputation economy.

This change of the role of data in relation with Internet services has other implications. In the first generation of services, there is no benefit in sharing the personal data of their users with other providers. Their economic benefit is mainly based in a secondary explotation of the data, as selling advertisement services, and therefore the providers do not have any incentive in sharing the personal data of the users. In the new generation of services, the revenues come from the main activity that is enabling the shared usage of a resource. The more information they can provide  to those who share the resource about each other, the better the service. Thus, the economic benefit of sharing information among shared economy services providers about their users is crystal clear.

Having a common pool of personal data accesible to different providers could have benefits also for their final users. In the reputation economy our value as customer or partner depends on our past actions. Connecting all these actions will allow us to avoid the need to build up a reputation from the scratch each time we enter in a new shared economy service provider. As a consumers, there is other important aditional benefit. Having an open connection of the reputation in different shared economy services will act as a deterrent for the creation of a big monopoly for providing these services. There will be no incentive for a creation of an Amazon for shared economy services.

However, it is curious that those who are in the best position to act as reputation providers are the first generation of Internet services. This is an aditional reason to work in favour of regulating these big digital platforms if we do not want to extend its huge control of the economy. The alternative will be enabling a "Google Compare" for humans, and that would be a new step for the creation of a private "big brother". The only solution I see is forcing through regulations a cooperative and open model for the reputation service, based on sharing information among the different shared economy services providers without a central repository.

lunes, 23 de febrero de 2015

#Ciberdiplomacy #Crowdfunding Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (23/02/2015)

Council Conclusions on Ciberdiplomacy
Internet is a new space for every human activity. The Council of General Affairs adopted a set of Conclusions on the main guidelines for EU diplomacy activities on February 10th.

Crowdfunding innovative ventures in Europe

The objective of this study is to provide a state of play of the crowdfunding industry in Europe with a particular focus on equity-based crowdfunding and its regulatory aspects, as the impact of regulation on this model is most complex and demanding compared to the other crowdfunding models. You can find an executive summary here,


miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2015

"The Zero Marginal Cost Society" by Jeremy RifKin

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of CapitalismThe Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeremy Rifkin is one of the most visionary writers about what we called the digital society. In previous works he forecasted the end of work and the raise of the access society. Therefore, it would be highly risky for policy makers, in particular, and the society, in general, to ignore the contain of his last book, "The Zero Marginal Cost Society", although he is forecasting something so bold as the end of capitalism.

After more than two centuries since Adam Smith wrote "The wealth of the nations", capitalism is so embeded in our vision of life that we think it has been always the more spreaded economic system. Nevertheless, this is not true. Not only in the XX century capitalism was sieged by comunism, previously to its existance there were other forms of organizing the economic activity. Rifkin heralded the return of one of them, the commons, on the shoulders of the ubiquitous Internet. What is more, Rifkin concludes that the usage of Internet as one of the tools for the development of an extreme form of capitalism through the continuous raise of productivity based on automatisation will be the end of capitalism itself. At the end of the road of the continuous increase of productivity will be zero marginal cost production. The advent of zero marginal cost will imply the dissapearance of the marketplace, the cornerstone of capitalism.

Although I selected this reading lured by the brave proposal of the author, maybe he is not so right in his forecast as in his other books. The internet connectivity has certainly be the diriver of the development of the sharing economy, but I am not sure that this will bring a resurrection of the commons. The more outstanding example of a sharing economy business, Uber, looks more as new model of capitalism exploitation of cheap labour than the first step of the surge of a commons for transport. Could Uber be only the swan song of capitalism? Is Uber a futile attempt of capitalism to survive in the age of the commons? I would like to think so, but I suppose we should wait some years to see if Uber is the future model a predominant new version for capitalism or only its last mutation.

Anyway, this last book of Rifkin, as any of his other books, deserve a reading. It is said that a pessimistic is an optimistic well informed, however this book give us the hope of being optimistic because we are well informed of the last consequences of the digital revolution.

lunes, 16 de febrero de 2015

#BigData #DigitalSingleMarket #SocialMedia #112 Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (16/2/2015)

The Proliferation of "Big Data" and Implications for Official Statistics and Statistical Agencies

This working paper published by the OECD describes the potential of the proliferation of new sources of large volumes of data, sometimes also referred to as "big data", for informing policy making in several areas. It also outlines the challenges that the proliferation of data raises for the production of official statistics and for statistical policies.

Social Media Use by Governments

This OECD report examines how social media is being used to deliver better public services and to create more open policy processes. The analysis is based on a large amount of empirical data, including a survey of OECD governments on policies and objectives in this area.

Building Blocks of the Ubiquitous Digital Single Market

Proceedings of a Workshop held in the European parliament of November 2015. The workshop aims at giving an overview of most advanced market and technological trends built on mobile connectivity and cloud computing. It also examines net neutrality and cybersecurity as political and regulatory challenges.

Implementation of the European emergency number 112

On the occasion of February 11 - European 112 day, an EC report summarises emergency number uptake and use Europe-wide, while other EC activity in the past year or coming up in the following months is also presented.

miércoles, 11 de febrero de 2015

Elements for the forthcoming #EU #Digital Single Market Strategy

Since the inauguration speech of the Presidency of Jean Claude Juncker, the completion of the Digital Single Market has come to the forefront of policy making in Europe. It is more or less clear that once again Europe has failed to reached an objective (building de the DSM in 2015, as it was set in the Digital Agenda for Europe) and new efforts are required. The definition of an strategy " to complete a secure, trustworthy and dynamic Digital Single Market" has been included in the European Commission Working Program 2015 (ECWP2015) and the European Council has called "the Commission to submit an ambitious communication in this area well before the June 2015 European Council" in the conclusions of the meeting held on December 18th

According with the political scenario set above, we can expect to have a renewed Digital Agenda for Europe by June 2015. The nature of the new roadmap for building-up Digital Europe is also described in ECWP2015, it will be composed of a set of "new initiatives, legislative and non-legislative, to bring the Digital Single Market to the level of ambition needed to respond to the existing challenges". The ECWP2015 also give us an scheme of the main chapters of the forecoming DSM strategy, "it will be focused on six strands: building trust and confidence, removing restrictions, ensuring access and connectivity, building the Digital economy, promoting e-society and investing in world-class ICT research and innovation".  

In order to forecast the contain of the chapters of the forecoming DSM strategy, I have taken into consideration the more recent policy documents of the three main European Institutions
In the paragraphs below we try to connect the chapters announced for the DSM strategy with the policy priorities identified in the above mentioned documents.

Building trust and confidence, especially after the NSA surveillance affair, is critical for the completion of the DSM. As the European Parliament stated, cybersecurity and security of electronic communications and networks are "are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the creation of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it". Therefore, the first priority in this area will be to complete the negotiations for the adoption of new regulation regarding personal data protection and the directive for network and information security. Another needed legislative initiative is the evaluation and updating of Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, the so-called e-privacy Directive,  in order to strike a new balance between privacy and collective security in the Internet flows. Last but not least, there is a general need to ensure internet safety online, in particular for children.

Removing the restrictions and barriers between the Member states Digital Markets it is a must for the creation of the Digital Single Market. The area where this barriers are more outstanding is in the distribution of digital contents and products.  On one hand, this require the modernisation of EU legislation on copyright and on audiovisual media services. On the other hand, it is needed to facilitate e-commerce ensuring the implementation and enforcement of rules such as the Consumer Rights Directive, alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution. Finally, there should be some kind of harmonisation of the EU legal framework in order to allow an integrated and secure online and mobile payments market.

Ensuring access and connectivity is the cornerstone of the DSM. The Digital Single Market cannot exist without fast, higher-capacity broadband and telecommunications networks across all EU regions, including remote areas. For this purpose, the first step is finalising the negotiation of the "Connected Continent" regulation that will include a new framework for the progressive elimination of roaming charges and the rules regarding an update of the interpretation of the net neutrality principle. Nevertheless, a complete evaluation and update of the Telecoms Package adopted in 2009 is needed for the creation of an environment that promotes the costly investment in broadband infrastructure. The  future ESIF and the intention of EU investment plan to boost the public-private collaboration would provide a new funding and effective framework for 5G and fibre networks deployment.

Building the digital economy should be based in building a resilient environment capable to digest the technology disruptions. The digitalisation of manufacturing with an industrial dimension of the Digital Agenda should be part of the DSM strategy as the key for increasing productivity and pave the way for Industry 4.0. The digital economy demand the creation of a legal framework to define the role of the digital intermediaries in the service sector in order to allow the development of businesses based on the sharing economy paradigm. This should be part of a broad review of the information society services regulation, which would include among others taxation issues and competition tools for the digital world, but also technical details as the promotion of standards to ensure portability of data between digital platforms. It need to be highlighted that the EU digital economy cannot be build isolated from the global scenario. Therefore, part of the efforts of the DSM strategy should be dedicated to connect the EU digital economy with the world through the free trade agreements under negotiation (TISA, TTIP).

Promoting e-society is as needed as digitising the economy. There are two faces of the same coin that creates a virtuous circle. The more an individual is familiar with ICTs at job the more easy for him to find a purpose of digital devices at home and, therefore, better usage he does of technology in his working time. So fostering the development of digital skills will be one of the main objectives of the DSM strategy, not only for ICT jobs but for its usage in any kind of jobs in order to increase the global productivity of the economy. The implementation of digital-by-default principle within the public sector could be an important leverage for building up an e-society. e-government could be the lighthouse project for a complete digitisation of the service sector. Encouraging the smart usage of data, whether big data, open data or small data, is the other lever for the creation of a digital society able to take advantage of the DSM opportunities.

Europe is lagging behind both in the development of the digital economy and the investment in R&D, so there is need for few reasons to justify the need for investing in world-class ICT research and innovation. It is expected that part of the funds of the Juncker's Plan will be dedicated to research and innovation in digital technologies and infrastructures needed to support e-society and the digital economy. The list of priorities in this field is well-known: big data, cloud computing, Internet of the things, 5G, smart city platforms, ...

Probably, not all the elements for the DSM strategy have been included above. But I´m pretty sure that the elements mentioned will be in new roadmap for a digital Europe. The answer in a few months.

lunes, 9 de febrero de 2015

#TTIP #Children Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (9/2/2015)

Draft Opinion of ITRE Committe on TIIP

The ITRE Committee of the European Parliament is drafting a set of recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The last two points include references to ICT products and services within the agreement.

Young Children (0-8) and Digital Technology

This report presents a pilot qualitative study designed and implemented in collaboration with a selected group of academic partners in different European countries that aims at pioneering in Europe the exploration of young children and their families` experiences with new technologies. 

Building Blocks of the Ubiquitous Digital Single Market

Proceedings of the workshop organised by European Parliament on November 13th 2014. The workshop aims at giving an overview of most advanced market and technological trends built on mobile connectivity and cloud computing. It examines net neutrality and cybersecurity as upcoming political and regulatory challenges.

miércoles, 4 de febrero de 2015

Are we living the end of the US leadership of the #digital economy?

Europe is worried about its digital future. The sentence "Europe is lagging behind" is a common place in the European Union policy papers on ICT and digital economy. It is certain that all the indicators point in that direction, nevertheless, not only Europe should be worried about its digital future. It looks that USA also is in trouble to maintain its leadership in the digital economy. Below the surface of the current dominance of the Silicon Sultans over the digital economy some signs of the end of an era are appearing.

To begin with, the long-term indicators are heralding a decay of the US dominance over the Knowledge Economy. One of the more widespread indicator in this field is the Knowledge Economy Indicator (KEI) which aims to represent the overall level of development of a country or region towards the Knowledge Economy. The indicator is sponsored by the World Bank and assesses the performance on four pillars:  economic incentive and institutional regime, education and human resources, the innovation system and ICT. While in 1995 the USA was leading the ranking, since the year 2000 it has gone downwards and it has lost eight positions in the overall classification.

In the area of long-term indicators the R&D investments provide also signals of a faltering position. We should remember that the base of the currents US dominance of the digital economy was a Federal R&D project. Internet was the product of a Defense Department research project. Therefore, the decay of Federal funding for R&D is maybe pointing to a future drought of ICT inventions.

The globalisation of the ICT industry and the digital economy is one of the main reasons for this decline. In the past USA was the main source of ICT innovations and products, but there are signs that innovative ICT consumer products are not comming from US anymore. The main sign of the decline is the field of smartphone vendors. While in the past the leading vendors of the most spreaded consumer device (PCs) were americans (IBM, HP, Dell, ...), among the top 5 of the vendors ranking of the current most important consumer device (smartphone) there is only one american company.

But not only there are signs of the end of the american leadership in the ICT consumer devices production. There are some worrisome signals also in the e-commerce and cloud services arena. On one hand, the vast China market is propelling the market value of the Chinese e-commerce companies over the American companies. Alibaba is bigger than two of the three American consumer services giants and only Google resists for the moment. On the other hand, the Snowden affair has generated a cloak of distrust on US cloud providers that is endangering the US data economy. The New York Times established a rank bewteen $ 35 billion and $ 180 billion of losses by 2016.

We are leaving the end of another cycle of the ICT revolution. Both long-term and short-term indicators are providing us with signals of a future change of leadership. After the European dominance in the 90´s based on the GSM invention and the Silicon Valley empire of the first two decades of the second millenium, the leadership looks as if it is moving again eastwards.  Let´s hope that Europe will have some place in the future of the digital economy.

lunes, 2 de febrero de 2015

#Platforms #AAL #Entrepreunership #Broadband Somewhere in #Digital Europe ...

Workshop on cross-competition among information(digital) platforms

Presentations from the workshop on digital platforms organised by the European Parliament. More questions than answers, but we are in the period of making questions in order to design the best Digital Single Market srteagy.

Mapping of effective technology-based services for independent living for older people at home

This is the first deliverable of the research project "Long-term care strategies for independent living of older people (ICT-AGE)". The study aims to produce policy recommendations for the European Commission to support Member States in their long-term care strategy. It compiles 14 different, mature and mainstreamed technology-based services for the independent living of older adults at home.

Entrepreneurship Education: A road to success

A mapping exercise of examples of research on the impact of Entrepreneurial Education done by the European Commission. The report contains evidences of the positive impact of this kind education on individuals, institutions and society.

Mapping of Broadband and Infrastructure Study

The study reviewed broadband mapping initiatives in Europe and around the world. The results of the study on the mapping of broadband and infrastructures will help public authorities in Europe to adopt similar criteria to ensure the credibility and reliability of the mapping thereby helping to speed up the process of planning public interventions with EU funds.
palyginti kainas