Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Foresight to forge strong ICT future for Europe

28.10.2005


A far reaching analysis of the potential futures faced by Europe’s information communication technologies (ICT) sector in a global context is laying detailed and incisive groundwork for policy makers to improve Europe’s situation by guiding ICT developments over the medium to long term.



"FISTERA aimed to investigate long-term trends in ICT to make a foresight analysis of changes in information communication technologies and uses by 2020," says Ramón Compañó, of the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) and one of FISTERA’s coordinators.

FISTERA analysed patent data to compare the EU’s R&D capacity against the US and Japan. Currently Europe leads the world in some areas but trails in others. "The aggregate data seem to indicate that Europe lags behind the US and Japan in terms of overall ICT patent activity. The positive message is that Europe was catching up during the 90s," says IPTS’ Corina Pascu.


This is partly due to its favourable position in communication technologies, which is a European strength. What’s more, Europe is doing better with respect to the US and Japan than is commonly believed in data processing, for example.

Europe was ahead in key wired and wireless communication technologies but slightly below average in encryption, and behind the US and Japan in areas like sensors, storage, processing and printers.

This patent analysis was reflected in expert opinion, too. FISTERA asked experts about EU’s world ranking and found the EU was a marginal player in hard disk and printer technology, but a leader in voice synthesis and recognition, cell phone technology and antennas. World leaders like Ericsson and Nokia helped Europe achieve this position.

FISTERA cautions, however, that patent analysis can only offer a snapshot of trends in the past and expert opinion of the EU’s ICT capability in the present. This does not indicate where technology will be in the future.

FISTERA performed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis drawing from national foresight study results from nine EU countries. Virtually all address issues like globalisation, the internal and external perception of Europe, and EU expansion.

Some were of the opinion that EU expansion could lead to a decrease in cohesion with widely divergent living standards across the Union. In any case, ageing and cultural diversity are important for the future European development. Depending on how it is tackled, cultural diversity can prove a particular advantage or a new threat to cohesion.

Whatever the situation, it is widely considered that ICT applications can help to effectively address Europe’s social challenges.

FISTERA expanded on the foresight studies by developing potential scenarios for the future of European ICT, based on two fundamental either/or trends: Either Europe would become an ICT leader or it would lag behind. Either EU member economies converge towards similar levels of development, or they would diverge with increasing disparities between members.

These assumptions led to four scenarios, ranging from the pessimistic, Europe lags and EU economies diverge, to the optimistic, Europe leads and techno-economic performance equalises across members.

"Experts consider that none of the four paths would completely reflect the future, and that the success scenario, the best the EU could make on its goals, is thought to be a mixture of different patterns," says Compañó. "Applications like e-government, e-health, e-learning are seen as pioneering and key applications." In other words, most experts felt that some convergence of Europe’s economies would take place, and Europe would lag in some areas while leading in others.

The project dedicated a prioritisation exercise with experts throughout Europe (to find) actions which may lead to effective and socially beneficial ICT. “Among other findings, it underlined the outstanding importance of education and learning as a top priority area driving the future of ICT from the application side, as well as ICT applications for government, social welfare and public services, and cultural diversity," says Pascu.

FISTERA is currently investigating the role of ICT from an economic point of view. "In the past, ‘core countries’ have been through several Perez cycles, [alternating periods of high sectoral growth with periods of slower economic growth]," says Pascu. "Today there are signs that we are in the middle of the IT revolution, whereby we are only half of the way through the cycle. Major impacting benefits are still to come."

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>