Digital industrial platforms and large-scale piloting are key to establish a European leadership in digital technologies, in the era of the digital revolution.

To reinforce the European competitiveness in digital technologies, the Digitising European Industry initiative supports Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that develop future digital technology building blocks such as robotics, smart sensors, big data and mobile communication.

At the same time, the European Commission supports the development of digital industrial platforms, which are essential for the integration of different key digital technologies into real-world applications, processes, products, and services.

The EU, Member States, and regions need to cooperate and co-invest under common priorities in order to accomplish these actions.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)

For Europe to become a leader in digital technologies it is important to develop strategic research and innovation agendas at EU level and to provide a critical mass of resources to address them. For this purpose the European Commission has established Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and a Joint Undertaking in key digital technologies such as 5G, big data, High Performance Computing, cybersecurity, photonics, robotics and electronic components & systems. They are funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The PPPs have proven to be effective in developing the technology building blocks which underpin the digital revolution. They are successful in joining efforts at the European level for digital industrial innovations in different fields and in attracting investments by industry.

The example of the ECSEL Joint Undertakingis a good proof that alignments of national and EU strategies are feasible. ECSEL draws considerable private investments and achieves ground-breaking impact on competitiveness.

Digital industrial platforms

Digital industrial platforms are key to place Europe in the lead of digital transformation, as they make the bridge between technology building blocks on the one hand and industrial applications on the other.

Digital industrial platforms are essential for instance in connected smart factories, where the platform can take data from the machines, make it accessible to monitoring and control applications, allow third parties to develop applications based on that data, and connect different users and application developers.

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 also needed to gradually develop and mature such platforms.

For the period 2018-20, with an investment of around EUR 300 million, the EU is reinforcing its support to strategic next-generation platform building and piloting through large scale federating projects. Inspired by the priorities set-up by the working group on digital industrial platforms, these investments will be focused on the following areas:

  • digital Manufacturing platforms for connected smart factories,
  • agricultural digital integration platforms and digital service platforms for rural economies,
  • smart hospital and smart/healthy living at home,
  • interoperable smart homes and big data solutions for energy,
  • smart construction (preparatory actions).

In total, around EUR 1 billion EU investment will be made available in 2018-20 for efforts on platform building, large-scale piloting, pilot lines, and related activities.