Analisys and Marketing
Europe's digital revolution – from smartphones to ultra-high-speed internet, the app economy and research into future and emerging technologies – is driven largely by technological and market innovation. The EU has played a vital supporting role by:
- defining European telecoms rules
- standing up for consumers
- setting technical standards
- supporting research & innovation
- a consumer-friendly digital single market
The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. Completing the digital single market will:
- boost competitive growth
- transform Europe’s industrial sector
- create new products & services for this expanding market.
Existing online barriers restrict access to goods and services, as:
- only 15% of people shop online from another EU country
- Internet companies & start-ups cannot make full use of online opportunities
- only 7% of small businesses sell goods or services across the EU's borders
- businesses & governments are not benefiting from digital tools as much as they might
The idea behind the digital single market is to move from 28 national markets to a single one. A fully functional digital single market could contribute €415 bn per year to our economy, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The Digital Single Market Strategy, which includes 16 initiatives ranging from copyright to cyber security runs up to the end of 2016. It is based on:
- better access for consumers & businesses throughout Europe to digital goods & services
- creating the right conditions & a level playing field for digital networks & innovative services to flourish
- maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.
- driving economic growth
Digital technologies are central to Europe's economic growth. Yet while 250 m Europeans use the internet daily, 18% have never used it at all.
The digital economy is growing 7 times as fast as the rest of the economy. Much of this growth has been fuelled by broadband internet. Today's high-speed broadband networks are having just as great an impact as electricity and transport networks a century ago. They are also paving the way for innovative services such as eHealth, smart cities and data-driven manufacturing.
The European Commission is encouraging the spread of high-speed broadband through:
- new cost reduction rules
- a Recommendation on Next Generation Access networks
- revised state aid guidelines for broadband.
As part of the digital single market strategy, the Commission will also overhaul EU telecoms rules to create incentives for investment in high-speed connectivity. The information and communication technology (ICT) sector represents nearly 5% of the EU economy and generates a quarter of total business expenditure. Investments in ICT account for half of all European productivity growth.
Regulating the market
The EU's regulatory role has developed to keep pace with new technologies and market trends:
- introducing rules covering all electronic communications networks & services
- ensuring basic broadband for everyone in the EU
- encouraging competition by preventing the old national telecoms monopolies from maintaining a dominant position with respect to services like high-speed internet access.
The rules are applied independently by the authorities in each EU country, with national regulators coordinating their policies at EU level through the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).
In such a scenario any company that renounces or delays in investing in its technology platform and in its significant presence into the internet is destined for obsolescence and succumbing. Even handicrafts and family-run businesses "will have to" become visible to the single market to survive a revolution of this magnitude. In Italy, above all, a country of historic traditions of creativity and geniality, it will be important to overcome the decline in industrial production the country has been subject to for the last several years.
One might argue that further control by European central organizations will prove to be more bureaucratic aggravation and to some extent also a loss of national sovereignty and freedom in private initiative, but irrespective of the sterile lament that these social evolutions can provoke , the reality is that in a globalized world, the only real possibility we have to keep a healthy economy and a good lifestyle is to overcome borders and cooperate extensively, at least at European level. We have a lot to teach to other European countries, this is certain, but at the same time we have a lot, too much to learn.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to travel, for pleasure or for work, has certainly found out that in many other countries of the Union most of the services already work in a more evolving and efficient manner, with less bureaucracy and unmanageable execution times respect to our country. Taking a step forward is an imperative, not an option.
And there are no more excuses, today the creation of complex services and systems for the automation and control of the productivity are no longer impractical investments, the implementation times are contained and the benefits quickly found. What is needed is a step change, a modern vision of work, projected simply to wider geographical areas.