Monday, 4 January 2010

Digital Agenda for Europe - the new EU Commissioner's priorities

Just before Christmas a first round of hearings of the European Parliament with the proposed new EU Commissioners took place - in written form with responses to questionnaires provided by the parliament.

For the ICT sector, the program and ideas of the new Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Ms Neelie Kroes, are, for sure, of utmost interest. Ms Kroes' responses in the parliament questions are available online.

In this document Commissioner Kroes outlines 4 major priorities:
I intend to develop the European Digital Agenda in close cooperation with the European Parliament and the Council as well as with my Commission colleagues. My initial priorities are: (i) building the high speed networks of the future; (ii) making the online single market a reality; (iii) ensuring that all citizens participate in the information society; and (iv) generating more, better targeted support for ICT research and innovation. Both citizens and industry have a role to play in driving innovation, whether big or small, incumbent or challenger, blue-chip or start-up. (p. 4)
At the end of the document, in the section with the forward looking title "Developing Policy for a Digital Citizenship, Commissioner Kroes indicates a programmatic approach to ICT standardisation for Europe:
I will pay special attention to Europe's contribution to producing high-quality open ICT standards. (p. 7)
Finally, she concludes with mentioning some areas for action inclduing the following:
Further key actions include: following up on the eGovernment, e-Inclusion and eHealth Action Plans and Ministerial declarations. I will also be considering proposals for a Regulation on the eCall vehicle safety system and for the development of our policy on ICT for Energy Efficiency. (p. 7)
I find this a very promising document. Commissioner Kroes includes all major areas for action around ICT, she includes the relevance of open standards - simply a great outlook for what is needed and of areas of action by the Commission.

Happy New Year - and a great new decade to all

Happy New Year ! Yes, indeed, we are in 2010 now. Almost unbelievable, isn't it? A new decade. With a new horizon 2020 and beyond.

The German newspaper FAZ had a great article in its edition of last Saturday (lead article of the Feuilleton part). It was about predictions for the future - especially in the telecommunications and internet sector. While diagnosing that most of these predictions are most of the times either totally wrong or so predictable that they are hardly predictions, the article focusses on some predictions which colleagues from IBM Germany made in 1987 about what the world will be like in 2010. And these IBM predictions from 1987 are remakable in the sense that many of them have actually come true.

The predictions include one about the ubiquitous use of computers and computing intelligence in our daily life and working environments, about the new ways of communication (including electronic mail) in our office environments, about the increasing role of IT as assistive technologies (e.g. in the area of accessibility), and about the fact that Artificial Intelligence technologies will not see a breakthrough and lead to a symbiosis of the human brain and computing.

For everyone who is able to read German I can heartily recommend this article also available in the FAZ online edition.

I have so far not seen any serious predictions about this new decade and what the world will be like in 2020. It looks as if the last decade - and in particular the last years - have shaken up all elements of both the societal, the political and the economic world order that potential predictors prefer to remain quiet and see the future rather unpredictable.

In the area of IT and communication technologies, though, there are some clear trends regarding smarter ways of working, smarter ways of doing things, new ways of social interaction and networking, new strategies of democratic participation and mind setting in the public sphere. It will definitely be a challenging new decade with a lot of potential for creativity and new ideas. Many good reasons to be excited about it....