Digital industrial platforms are essential for instance in connected smart factories, by taking data from the machinery, making it accessible to monitoring and controlling applications, allowing third parties to develop applications based on that data, and connecting different users and application developers. These platforms can also be attractive to energy service providers offering data services to consumers and exploiting the flexibility of energy consumption across home appliances, electric vehicle charging or heating, paving the way to maximise the use of renewables and the decarbonisation of energy. Digital industrial platforms can also be used to support farmers in crop management, by integrating location data combined with data from Internet of Things field sensors, that enables seed planting and optimal use of water to be adapted to a specific field to ensure efficient productivity.
Equipped with appropriate business models, digital industrial platforms may ultimately be instrumental in the creation of ecosystems of market actors in a multi-sided marketplace. These ecosystems enable the creation of new innovative products and services and accelerate the development of worldwide standards. While digital industrial platforms are essential for the integration of key digital technologies, large-sale piloting and experimentation is needed to gradually develop and mature such platforms.
To reinforce the European competitiveness in digital technologies, the Digitising European Industry (DEI) initiative supports the development and large-scale piloting of digital industrial platforms, which are essential for the integration of various key digital technologies into real-world applications, processes, products, and services.
The EU, Member States, and regions are cooperating and co-investing under common priorities in order to accomplish these actions. Throughout 2018-20, with an investment of around €400 million, the EU reinforced its support to strategic next-generation platform building and piloting through various large-scale federating projects.
Under Horizon 2020, a total of around €1 billion of EU investment was made available for efforts in platform building, large-scale piloting, pilot lines, and other related activities under the DEI initiative. Some of these projects have already finished or are coming to an end, while others are just launching and will continue run into 2023. Inspired by the priorities set up by the working group on digital industrial platforms, these investments focussed on the following areas. In each of them, several large-scale pilots are supported:
- agricultural digital integration platforms;
- integration platforms and smart data solutions for energy: connected mobility, home and appliances;
- smart hospital and healthy living at home;
- digital service platforms for smart cities and rural communities;
- digital manufacturing platforms for connected smart factories.
As well as the areas mentioned above, the cross-cutting OPEN DEI coordination and support action aims to leverage synergies, share best practices, reinforce relationships and communicate the achievements of pilots in agriculture, energy, healthcare and manufacturing.