miércoles, 27 de abril de 2016

#DigitalSingleMarket Towards an uneven digital transformation of Europe

It is easy to appreciate the growing share of the digital economy in the global economy. Any kind of work depends more on digital technologies today than a decade ago and our leisure activities are mainly supported by smartphone applications and digital content. The official statistic agencies have not yet been able to measure the impact of the digital world on the GDP, but there are estimations that it will grow from 22,5% in 2015 to 25% in 2020

The convergence of digital technologies on business activities is innovating products, processes and business models. The firms can only gain the future by embracing technologies such as cloud, big data or IoT. However reports show that companies need more education on such technologies and any new regulation as the GDPR demands more specialist on digital issues. We should welcome therefore a decisive action like the plans for digitisation of Europe put forward by the European Commission last week within the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The plans presented by the European Commission are not the starting point for the digitalisation of the European economy. However, a digital divide is taking shape among companies. The business digital divide can be appreciated both between and within countries. However, the plans published by the European Commission does not include any targeted measure to fight this divide beyond  the recognition of a gap on digital adoption between big companies and SMEs.

The consequences of an harmonised approach to the digital transformation of Europe are easy to guess. We are facing not the risks of the disappearance of SMEs and the extension of the European Noth-South divide to the digital era. Sadly, the digital policies for Europe are quite aligned with the global polices that are driving us towards a chronic Europessimism.

lunes, 25 de abril de 2016

#Startup #SharedEconomy #Cloud Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (25/4/2016)

Digital Entrepreneurship Scoreboard 2015

The Digital Enterpreunership Socoreboard aims to measure the digital transformation of European businesses. It provides a comparative assessment of the enabling factors between the EU 28 Member States and tries to establish between the framework conditions and the ouput dimension.

The Digital Market for Local Services: A one-night stand for workers? An example from the on-demand economy

This case study provides a snapshot of the dynamics in the digital market for locally provided personal services. It contains a deep analysis of Listminute, a Belgium on-demand economy company, and the relationships between the supply and demand side created around the platform. It is part of a broader study currebtly under development at the JRC.

The State of Cloud adoption 2016

A yearly report published by Intel based on more than a thousand of surveys. This report looks at the cloud adoption plans, the biggest challenges, and the investment priorities of IT professionals.

miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Data as the financial source for development

On september 2015, the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda. It is composed of 17 goals that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Achieving some of the goals by 2030 seems an utopia. I fully aligned with the idea that it would be a too-far-away target unless we inject massively technology in the developing countries. We need technology to scale up the coverage of the basic services as health and education, to monitor the quality of water in an efficient manner, to create sustainable cities or to increase the productivity of manufacturing chains.

The cornerstone of this massive injection of technology is connectivity. On one hand, we need to connect people in order to provide them with the needed access to knowledge. Although 43% of the world population is connected the percentage in the developing world is significantly lower, Internet is present only in around 34% of the households. On the other hand, we will need to connect devices. Internet of the Things is now behind the solutions for improving sanitation or using energy efficiently to name a few.

The question is how to fund the cost of connectivity in the developing world. According with and estimation published by ITU, the cost of connecting the next 1.5 billion would be $450 billion. This means a cost of 300$ per each new connection. Although the cost of connecting devices would be cheaper thanks to the almost universal coverage of 2G (around 95% of the world), the cost of connecting people and devices would be prohibitive for developing countries.

Therefore, we need a self-funding model for achieving worldwide connectivity. Could be data the currency for this massive funding? Billions of IoT devices deploying in one area could provide valuable information for other applications. This is the case of Smart Cities and could be the case of many other  IoT deployments for the control of water, energy or climate. A business model based on the payment of connectivity and IoT devices with the data generated by the devices could be the based for the massive deployment of technology in the developing world.

The virtuous circle of IoT deployments and data could break the vicious circle of no development for the lack of money. Digitalisation could disrupt also development aid schemes.

lunes, 18 de abril de 2016

#DigitalSingleMarket #Fintech Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (18/4/2016)

#Digital4EU 2016

The #Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum took place in Brussels on Thursday 25 February 2016. This one-day event, organised by the European Commission, was centred around the progress made in creating a Digital Single Market (DSM) in Europe. This report is a summary of the main speeches and conclusions of the debate panels.

Financial Services in the Age of the Internet

A report published by The Lisbon Council on the application of technology within the finance sector. The report contains also interesting figures that provides the business context and cases of alternative finance companies

miércoles, 13 de abril de 2016

Blockchain: A base for unlimited trust?

Blockchain began to be known as the distributed public ledger technology behind bitcoin. Without the participation of any central authority, blockchain allows to have a record of all the transactions done with bitcoin currencies in the world. Every transaction is broadcasted to all the bitcoin nodes, creating a distributed database where the chain of value of any bitcoin can be independently verified.

Although the power of blockchain was initially hidden behind the bitcoin rumble and the ups and downs of its valuation, blockchain has emerged as ductile and multipurpose technology to record a chain of transactions of any digital asset. Multiple uses for blockchain are appearing in different industries.

As bitcoin was seen as a menace for the financial system, we should not be shocked that the bank industry is among the main sources of new blockchain based applications. There have been different tests for the usage of blockchain for the virtualization of common operations between commercial banks. For instance, it has been used for exchanging debt instruments. But what it is really interesting is that the more important financial companies of the world has set up their own technology consortium for the research of other usages.

The creative arts is another field where blockchain is being used. The transaction of digital artwork could be registered in blockchain ledgers, establishing a chain of undisputed ownership of it. Music, as one of the main creative businesses, is especially active looking for possible uses of blockchain for the distribution and licensing of songs. It is a paradox that blockchain, a P2P technology, could be the final weapon in the war against the digital music piracy that had the invention of P2P file transfers its cornerstone.

Among the multiple users of blockchain could be in the future also the public sector. The distributed nature of the blockchain ledger paves the way for decentralised and more resilient public databases in governments, which would be also tampering resistant to malicious or unintentional attacks. Taxes, passports or the NHS are among the possible users of blockchain according with a UK government report.

The technology is ready for its usage. Blockchain contains the promise of distributed control of any transaction without a central authority. A world where technology would be the base for unlimited trust.

lunes, 11 de abril de 2016

#eCommerce #Fintech #DigitalSingleMarket Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (11/4/2016)

Consumer Protection in E-commerce

An OECD recommendation that reviews the previous one published in 1999. The work outlined the many benefits that e-commerce had brought over a decade to consumers, but also address the new challenges identified and achieve effective consumer protection while stimulating innovation and competition. The new recommendations address the issues put forward by non-monetary transactions, digital content products or active consumers to name a few of the last trends.

Digital Disruptions

A report published by the Citigroup describing the impact of fintechs in traditional banking and financial sector. Many case studies of last technologies applications in several institutios offered a landscape of the future of banks.

Digital platforms: joint letter from 11 member states to Vice-President Ansip at the European Commission

This is a joint letter from the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Poland, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria. It sets out a shared position on platforms, particularly that we should avoid cumbersome regulation and provide the right conditions for growth.

jueves, 7 de abril de 2016

Why ICT is not considered critical for sustainaibility?

When he entered as President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker set a new political agenda for Europe composed of ten priorities. The creation of a connected Digital Single Market and the fight against climate change was in the list of EU priorities. As a consequence, two strategic documents have been published by the European Commission which contained the roadmap for each priority. On one hand, "A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe". On the other hand, "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy"

The digital transformation of the social and economic activities has a verified impact on the consumption of physical resources and the generation of waste. Therefore, it was expected that the EU circular economy roadmap would have had plenty of connections with the actions contained in the Digital Single Market Strategy. However, this has not been the case. Few connections more than a brief remark of the contribution of the collaborative economy to the reuse of resources. For instance, even it was no reference to the Smart City concept and its promotion in order to decrease the carbon footprint of the EU cities.

Not surprisingly, on the last High-level Conference on the digital transformation of European industry and enterprises the "acceleration of the transition to a circular economy through digital transformation" was included as one of the ten points of the Declaration on Digital Transformation issued by the stakeholders. With a disappointed mood, they recall that "policy makers and digital transformation enablers should seize the opportunity to make digitalisation a key driving force behind the creation of a viable circular economy". 

This lack of understanding on the importance of the digital transformation to achieve a more sustainable world is not new. It happened the same when the UN 2030 Agenda was defined. The ICT community was not able to make room for a ICT as a front row objective in the long list of SDGs. And it we look at the long list of indicators for monitoring SDGs progress, the situation has not improved. Only a handful of indicators, regarding mainly with telecom deployment, has been included.

Maybe it is time for the ICT community to start thinking for the reasons of this situation. I´m start thinking that we have a serious shortage of communication skills and/or influence at the right levels to defend the case of ICT as the cornerstone for a sustainable society.

lunes, 4 de abril de 2016

#SharedEconomy #StartUp #SmartCity Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (4/4/2016)

Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

A report from the American Public Transport Association that aims to show the relationship between public-transport and shared transport users. Both transport modes look as complimentary, creating a virtuous circle that ends in a decrease in private car ownership.

Startup Monitor 2015

This report elaborated by the German´s Startup Association in collaboration with Google, KPMG and Telefonica presents Europe’s startup ecosystems and founders, with as its aim to better understand where we are today, and what the challenges and opportunities are in the future.

Smart sustainable cities

Sustainable smart cities need to exchange best practices, focus on increasing citizen participation, and allow public and non-public delivery of innovative services. These are three of the policy recommendations in the ‘Smart Sustainable Cities – Reconnaissance Study’, published by the United Nations University in March.
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