Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Connect: Smashing silos, building bridges, exploiting synergies

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Paul Timmers, moderator and DG Connect’s Director for Sustainable and Secure Society opened the session which aim was to reflect on how we can smash silos, build bridges and exploit synergies in Europe through ICT.

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Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia spoke about how people in Europe can smash silos and how we can drive modernisation, protection and competitiveness through digital means (e.g. electronic banking, taxation, e- Health, cyber-security, cloud). He also explained how he has been doing this in his own country. He highlighted the importance of breaking silos and to create trust around the usage of digital technologies. He also pointed that while Estonia was poor 15 years ago, by breaking silos through digitalization they managed to have now more than 90% of their banking transactions online, 98% online tax declarations and people can get their medication without any paper using e -Prescription. He also emphasized that sharing data across borders is essential to ensure free flow of information across the EU, however we need to overcome the big problem of trust.

Patrick Adiba, Executive Vice President HR and Major Events/Olympics at ATOS presented the challenge of breaking silos across systems and applications to organize the ICT infrastructure around the Olympic Games. He highlighted that while only 2% of the transactions were done through mobile devices in Beijing, this increased to 40% in London! 10 billion of devices are connected to the internet already – Internet of Things in our daily life and at the Olympics is a reality. It requires both the control of large amount of data and ensuring their security. But not everyone trust new technologies and the surrounding IT systems. Mixing data and new business models represent a great opportunity to create value. Data is the new gold and is not yet fully exploited.

Carlo Ratti from the MIT Senseable City Lab /Carlo Ratti Associati talked about Smart cities Cyber Physical Systems. He presented the potential impact but also some of the risks in the convergence of digital and physical infrastructures coming together in cities. He suggested  taking a look into what will happen in our cities and in our cars tomorrow: these changes will shape life in modern states. He illustrated his thoughts through various videos of practical experiments done by the MIT.

The discussion developed around issues of privacy concerns versus transparency and security needs (e.g. not to trace individuals but to have detection mechanisms of abnormal behaviour), on e-participation and involvement of citizens in public life and increasing digitalisation of our daily life.

Session reporter: Athanasia Konstantinou  (University of Cyprus).
Report Reviewer: Tautvydas Pranckevicius, (Kaunas University of technology).