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TIE Magazine #2: Mobile Access


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Driving Europe's Digital Agenda -
Column by James M. Dorsey

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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TIE Magazine #2: Mobile Access

  1. 1. By James M. Dorsey COLUMN Driving Europe’s Digital Agenda: Mobile Access A businesswoman approached Conservative abled society that will drive growth by making the continent an British European Parliament member James outward-looking technology leader and partner for the rest of the Elles at a recent local business conference world. Achieving that is complicated by the fact that Europe does in Oxfordshire to discuss how local business can not have technology giants like Microsoft and Google. “Europe is survive mounting competition from the likes of India trying to promote the growth of SME-type enterprises through and China. The businesswoman warned that she research and development that will, become bigger and may have lacked the basics to do so. She told Elles that to ensure recep- influence,” says TIE Chief Technology Officer Stuart Campbell. tion on her mobile phone she had to climb to the third floor The digital society, just as was the case with past technologi- of her house. “Yet, when I am in my holiday home in Turkey cal advances such as the mobile phone, the computer and the it’s as clear as a bell,” Elles quotes the woman as saying. The Internet, raises social and political questions about the kind of woman accosted Elles just about the time that British telecom- democratic society Europeans want. Issues social groups and munications regulator Ofcom announced that this year would political leaders have yet to confront include what impact the be the first year in which Britons will make more calls on mobile digital society will have on the democratic process and how one devices than on fixed landlines. reconciles digital responsiveness – a world driven by mass inter- The incident highlights the competitive pressures on Europe action enabled by the ubiquitous availability of high speed, high- as the European Commission and the Spanish presidency of capacity digital communications networks, systems, tools and the EU focus on the European digital agenda and the enhance- services connected by the Internet - with democratic legitimacy. ment of the continent’s digital economy. European Information The spread of purpose-driven online collaboration involving Society and Media Commissioner Viviane digital acts being captured and stored in Reding says the EU will give priority to databases invades the domain of public the boosting of digital services, integrating policy, politics and politicians. It impacts markets to overcome fragmentation due to issues already in the public domain such as a hodgepodge of national rules, improved the tension between privacy and security coordination of copyright issues and the or, as the recent financial crisis demon- digitization of books to ensure the union strated, the destructive potential of mass remains competitive with the United collaboration. That collaboration empow- States. “The key is to merge knowledge ers citizens who will demand greater and ensure that software architecture transparency and participation, blurring and research is close to the future of the the lines between direct and representa- Internet and the next generation,” says tive democracy and transforming the role Jan Sunderlin, CEO of TIE Holding NV, a of government into one of a mediator Dutch company involved in EU-funded between empowered, engaged stakeholder research to advance Reding’s agenda. communities. The European Ideas Network, founded To get there, the Oxfordshire business- by Elles, warns in a recently issued report that to be competitive woman’s telecommunications problem needs to be resolved. 15 years down the line, Europe needs to put in place a proper Rapid advances in mobile Internet technology are key. Ever more research and development framework. That may already be hap- people will be online with mobile devices anywhere at any time; pening with the Commission investing €1.3 billion a year over the user interfaces to access the network will be simplified and more next five years to ensure that people are better connected and able intuitive; new tools, applications and services will be part of the to cooperate better. network or available through the network to manage and make European competitiveness will depend on its ability to sense of vast volumes of data. “To be on the leading edge of tech- ensure that smart systems able to increase efficiency are at nical development it will be essential to have unimpeded access the core of major economic and social sectors such as energy, to mobile networks,” MEP Elles says. transport, health care, environmental management and public services. Already, digitally-enabled, purpose-driven mass- James M. Dorsey was a foreign correspondent collaboration demand side systems are undermining inward- for more than 30 years for The Wall Street Jour- looking economic and political institutions who seek to control nal and other publications. Today Mr. Dorsey is information, distribution channels and specific technologies. a columnist, media entrepreneur and interna- Those approaches are further cornered by the Commission’s tional affairs analyst and consultant to strategic insistence system on open standards for ongoing research and communications, security and water companies development to turn Europe into a collaborative, digitally-en- as well as investment funds. TIE ~ 2/2010 ~ P7