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Big data and data analytics

28-09-2016

Advances in information and communication technologies, the increasing use of electronic devices and networks, and the digitalisation of production processes mean that vast quantities of data are generated daily by economic and social activities. This 'big data' can be transmitted, collected, aggregated and analysed to provide insights into processes and human behaviours. Big data analytics have the potential to identify efficiencies that can be made in a wide range of sectors, and to lead to innovative ...

Advances in information and communication technologies, the increasing use of electronic devices and networks, and the digitalisation of production processes mean that vast quantities of data are generated daily by economic and social activities. This 'big data' can be transmitted, collected, aggregated and analysed to provide insights into processes and human behaviours. Big data analytics have the potential to identify efficiencies that can be made in a wide range of sectors, and to lead to innovative new products and services, greater competitiveness and economic growth. Studies suggest that companies that adopt big data analytics can increase productivity by 5%-10% more than companies that do not, and that big data practices in Europe could add 1.9% to GDP between 2014 and 2020. However big data analytics also pose a number of challenges for policy makers. Whilst protecting privacy and personal data has arguably received the most attention, other big-data-related issues are expected to appear on the European Union policy agenda. These include 'data ownership' principles that determine who shares in the rights associated with big data; data localisation requirements that may unjustifiably interfere with the 'free flow of data'; labour shortages of skilled data workers and data-aware managers; and the creation of a new digital divide that risks marginalising those who do not make extensive use of information and communication technologies.

Regulating electronic communications: A level playing field for telecoms and OTTs?

31-08-2016

Telecommunications markets in the EU are changing rapidly in the face of growing demand for broadband access and the increasing importance of internet and mobile applications in modern life. Telecommunications network operators are facing challenges, including decreasing revenues and greater competition from companies that provide services that run 'over the top' of the internet and that compete directly or indirectly with their service offerings. Network operators argue that less stringent regulations ...

Telecommunications markets in the EU are changing rapidly in the face of growing demand for broadband access and the increasing importance of internet and mobile applications in modern life. Telecommunications network operators are facing challenges, including decreasing revenues and greater competition from companies that provide services that run 'over the top' of the internet and that compete directly or indirectly with their service offerings. Network operators argue that less stringent regulations imposed on these 'over the top' (OTT) players create difficulties in competing with these new services. Ensuring fair competition is particularly important as telecommunications companies must invest in new infrastructure if Europe is to meet increasing demand for high-speed, high-quality internet and achieve all of the EU's Digital Agenda goals. In September 2016, the European Commission is expected to release its conclusions from a review of the current EU telecoms regulation. Definitions of different types of digital services may need updating to reflect technological change and new market conditions. Whilst the recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation has now established stronger cross-sector regulation in the area of personal data, policy options that would help to create a level playing field for telecoms and OTT providers include extending some telecoms regulatory requirements to OTT services, and reducing sector-specific constraints on traditional network operators.

Cloud computing: An overview of economic and policy issues

26-05-2016

Cloud computing is a model for providing information and communication technology (ICT) services over the internet. Businesses, public bodies and individuals can all benefit through lower costs, global access to data and applications, flexibility in provision, and the ability to innovate without large capital costs. Cloud computing may also have beneficial effects on energy consumption and carbon emissions. However, cloud computing raises concerns about personal data protection and privacy, security ...

Cloud computing is a model for providing information and communication technology (ICT) services over the internet. Businesses, public bodies and individuals can all benefit through lower costs, global access to data and applications, flexibility in provision, and the ability to innovate without large capital costs. Cloud computing may also have beneficial effects on energy consumption and carbon emissions. However, cloud computing raises concerns about personal data protection and privacy, security and interoperability and portability of data and applications, as well as contract terms that may be overly restrictive of customers' rights. The European Commission considers cloud computing central to the EU's competitiveness and a key to economic growth and innovation. The EU has provided support to research in cloud computing. Determining the appropriate responses to the challenges of cloud computing is part of the European Commission's Digital Single Market strategy. The Commission has announced its intention to propose a 'free flow of data initiative', tackling restrictions on where data is located, and a European Cloud initiative that will cover certification of cloud services, reduce the risks of vendor lock-in, and provide a research cloud for researchers to share access to data.

Broadband as a universal service

25-04-2016

Universal service is the principle that all citizens should be provided with a range of basic but good quality services at affordable prices so that they are able to participate fully in society. Since 2010, functional internet access has been included in EU legislation on universal telecommunications service. However in the intervening years, the data volumes and connection speeds used by consumers have continued to increase. For some, designating broadband internet access as a universal service ...

Universal service is the principle that all citizens should be provided with a range of basic but good quality services at affordable prices so that they are able to participate fully in society. Since 2010, functional internet access has been included in EU legislation on universal telecommunications service. However in the intervening years, the data volumes and connection speeds used by consumers have continued to increase. For some, designating broadband internet access as a universal service could complement other EU measures to ensure the availability of faster internet connections and to encourage widespread internet use in the Digital Single Market. Designating broadband as a universal service could arguably help reduce social exclusion by overcoming the 'digital divide', as well as encouraging social and economic development, particularly in rural regions where the costs of providing broadband are higher than in urban areas. On the other hand, setting an EU-wide minimum speed could distort markets, reduce competition, and reduce private investment in infrastructure projects in some Member States. Financing this change could also be a problem, particularly in those countries where broadband access is below the EU average or where many households do not currently use the internet due to cost. The forthcoming review of telecommunications regulation in the EU promises to revive debate on this subject. A recent American decision to provide subsidies for low-income families for internet access at average broadband levels highlights differences in current approaches between the United States and the EU.

5G network technology: Putting Europe at the leading edge

04-01-2016

5G refers to a future, fifth generation of mobile network telecommunications technologies. While research on the technical characteristics and potential uses of 5G is ongoing, 5G is expected to represent a major leap forward from current telecommunications technologies, including revolutionary changes in radio interfaces and spectrum use. On the basis of current trends and potential uses, 5G networks will be faster, always accessible, highly reliable and efficient in handling a very large number ...

5G refers to a future, fifth generation of mobile network telecommunications technologies. While research on the technical characteristics and potential uses of 5G is ongoing, 5G is expected to represent a major leap forward from current telecommunications technologies, including revolutionary changes in radio interfaces and spectrum use. On the basis of current trends and potential uses, 5G networks will be faster, always accessible, highly reliable and efficient in handling a very large number of devices (including smart objects in the Internet of Things). By supporting a world in which 'anyone and anything will be connected at anytime and anywhere', 5G is expected to enable new applications in various domains, including entertainment, health, transport and industry. However deployment of this new generation of mobile technology in the decade starting in 2020 will also likely give rise to uses (and consequences) that are difficult to foresee at the current time. On the basis of past generations of mobile technology, the increased networking supported by 5G is likely to stimulate economic growth, not just in the information and communication technology sector, but in many areas of the economy. The EU is providing financial support to 5G research, and has concluded cooperation agreements on 5G development with South Korea, Japan and China. These efforts are intended to contribute to a strong European digital economy, by helping European companies win a significant share of markets related to the new generation of mobile networks. Other sectors of the European economy are also expected to benefit from the increased efficiency, new services and innovative business models that 5G networks should make possible.

Interoperability for a modern public sector

06-11-2015

The electronic services of European public administrations need to interoperate to support citizens and businesses studying or working in other Member States, as well as to reduce costs and realise efficiencies for governments. A renewed EU programme for 2016-2020 proposes to continue support for interoperable e-government services, emphasising open data and the re-use of digital solutions.

The electronic services of European public administrations need to interoperate to support citizens and businesses studying or working in other Member States, as well as to reduce costs and realise efficiencies for governments. A renewed EU programme for 2016-2020 proposes to continue support for interoperable e-government services, emphasising open data and the re-use of digital solutions.

OECD Global Parliamentary Network, October 2015

08-10-2015

The Global Parliamentary Network (GPN) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum for Members of Parliament (from the EU as well as national and regional parliaments of member and non-member countries) to discuss current issues with OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, and other experts. The GPN meeting in Paris on 1 October 2015 focused on bribery, climate change, migration and employment.

The Global Parliamentary Network (GPN) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum for Members of Parliament (from the EU as well as national and regional parliaments of member and non-member countries) to discuss current issues with OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, and other experts. The GPN meeting in Paris on 1 October 2015 focused on bribery, climate change, migration and employment.

Industry 4.0: Digitalisation for productivity and growth

22-09-2015

Many observers believe that Europe is at the beginning of a new industrial revolution, considered to be the fourth such leap forward and hence labelled Industry 4.0. The ubiquitous use of sensors, the expansion of wireless communication and networks, the deployment of increasingly intelligent robots and machines – as well as increased computing power at lower cost and the development of 'big data' analytics – has the potential to transform the way goods are manufactured in Europe. This new, digital ...

Many observers believe that Europe is at the beginning of a new industrial revolution, considered to be the fourth such leap forward and hence labelled Industry 4.0. The ubiquitous use of sensors, the expansion of wireless communication and networks, the deployment of increasingly intelligent robots and machines – as well as increased computing power at lower cost and the development of 'big data' analytics – has the potential to transform the way goods are manufactured in Europe. This new, digital industrial revolution holds the promise of increased flexibility in manufacturing, mass customisation, increased speed, better quality and improved productivity. However to capture these benefits, enterprises will need to invest in equipment, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and data analysis as well as the integration of data flows throughout the global value chain. The EU supports industrial change through its industrial policy and through research and infrastructure funding. Member States are also sponsoring national initiatives such as Industrie 4.0 in Germany, the Factory of the Future in France and Italy, and Catapult centres in the UK. However challenges remain. The need for investment, changing business models, data issues, legal questions of liability and intellectual property, standards, and skills mismatches are among the challenges that must be met if benefits are to be gained from new manufacturing and industrial technologies. If these obstacles can be overcome, Industry 4.0 may help to reverse the past decline in industrialisation and increase total value added from manufacturing to a targeted 20% of all value added by 2020. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

eGovernment: Using technology to improve public services and democratic participation

01-09-2015

Governments implement eGovernment and digital government policies with the aim of introducing efficiencies, reducing administrative burdens on citizens and businesses, stimulating economic growth and fostering public participation in democratic public life. The European Union facilitates cross-border services for mobile citizens and businesses that offer services across the single market and encourages the exchange of best practices between national, regional and local authorities in Member States ...

Governments implement eGovernment and digital government policies with the aim of introducing efficiencies, reducing administrative burdens on citizens and businesses, stimulating economic growth and fostering public participation in democratic public life. The European Union facilitates cross-border services for mobile citizens and businesses that offer services across the single market and encourages the exchange of best practices between national, regional and local authorities in Member States. While Europe has made progress over the past 15 years, this has not been enough to meet its own targets for the uptake of digital government services. Much remains to be done, including building up security and trust, promoting interoperability for cross-border services, encouraging citizens to engage with governments through digital channels, exploiting open data, and ensuring the effective use of technologies such as cloud computing.

Broadband infrastructure: Supporting the digital economy in the European Union

01-09-2015

Broadband refers to internet connections capable of delivering information at fast speeds, using a variety of different wireline or wireless technologies. Fast access is important to the development of a digital economy in the European Union: economists believe that broadband deployment increases employment and spurs economic growth. Basic broadband is available to virtually all citizens in the European Union, but progress still needs to be made in coverage and take-up of fast and ultra-fast broadband ...

Broadband refers to internet connections capable of delivering information at fast speeds, using a variety of different wireline or wireless technologies. Fast access is important to the development of a digital economy in the European Union: economists believe that broadband deployment increases employment and spurs economic growth. Basic broadband is available to virtually all citizens in the European Union, but progress still needs to be made in coverage and take-up of fast and ultra-fast broadband if the EU's targets are to be met by 2020. Policy-makers can influence broadband deployment through a wide range of policies, including targets and digital policies, telecommunications regulations and state aid rules. Alongside efforts of authorities in Member States, EU public funding can also be provided to support building broadband infrastructure in areas, such as rural communities, where the population density may not be great enough to justify private investment alone.

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