Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy – the manufacturing sector in the European Union accounts for 2 million enterprises, 33 million jobs and 60% of productivity growth. We stand on the brink of a new industrial revolution, driven by new-generation information technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data and data analytics, robotics and 3D printing. They open new horizons for industry to become more adventurous, more efficient, to improve processes and to develop innovative products and services. Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and services can add more than €110 billion of annual revenue in Europe in the next five years.
European industry is strong in digital sectors such as electronics for automotive, security and energy markets, telecom equipment, business software, and laser and sensor technologies. Europe also hosts world-class research and technology institutes. However, high-tech sectors face severe competition from other parts of the world and many traditional sectors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are lagging behind. There are also large disparities in digitisation between regions.
The European Commission launched on 19 April 2016 the first industry-related initiative of the Digital Single Market package. Building on and complementing the various national initiatives for digitising industry, such as Industrie 4.0, Smart Industry and l'industrie du futur, the Commission will use its policy instruments, financial support, coordination and legislative powers to trigger further public and private investments in all industrial sectors and create the framework conditions for the digital industrial revolution.
Overall, today's plans should mobilise up to €50 billion of public and private investments in support of the digitisation of industry.