e-infrastructures underpin the digitisation of industry

Last 18 June 2015, commissioner Oettinger delivered a speech at the Digital assembly in Riga where he shared his strategic vision. In his speech, he fully supported the work of e-infrastructures and placed it at the centre of his policy agenda. His endorsement is very good news for the whole e-infrastructure community and we should build on it to deliver on our commitments. You can find the full text here and the recording here (relevant part as of minute 14.00).

These are, in my view, the most important messages for us:

To underpin the digitalisation of industry, innovation and excellence in science, we do need a strong ICT sector based on essential e-infrastructures such as pan-European research networks, data infrastructures and distributed computing. In coordination with the Member states, the Commission aims at supporting such e-Infrastructures.

Investing in state-of-the-art, open and interoperable platforms and innovation e-infrastructures is essential so that business can rely and use them to make products, processes or services ready for the digital age.

Available and easy-to-use High Performance Computing resources is a priority for the industry’s competitiveness – in particular for SMEs – and for better adaptation to market demands, especially in terms of innovation and fast renewal of their product and service offerings. This is one of the main objectives of Industry 4.0.

The European Commission is starting a process of involvement of stakeholders to explore the opportunities offered by the European Fund for Strategic Investment, where High Performance Computing is a key infrastructural component.

In order to improve their performance, increase competitiveness, acquire new technologies and know-how, large companies could more actively involve digital start-ups to anticipate potential disruption and enable innovation.

I propose[d] actions in four key areas to be elaborated with the help of Member States and industry:

First, we need to facilitate access to digital technologies for any industry, especially SMEs, wherever it is located in Europe and in any sector.

Second, leadership in platforms for digital industry. The objective is to ensure the availability of state-of-the-art open and interoperable platforms that any business can use to make its products, processes or services ready for the digital age.

Third, preparing our workforce to benefit from the digital transformation. There is a clear need for promoting digital skills at all levels, for re-skilling, and for lifelong learning across Europe and its regions. Of course, this is the competence of Member States, but given the dimension and urgency of the challenge, I believe we need a concerted effort to be able to progress more rapidly.

Fourth, smart regulation for smart industry. New digital business models are challenging existing regulatory systems worldwide, requiring a new way of policy-making. We need to adapt our regulatory and legal frameworks to digital innovations.

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e-infrastructures underpin the digitisation of industry

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