In the EU Pavilion of the Milan Expo 2015, EIT Digital brought together students, startups, business developers, researchers, thought leaders and industrial partners for a seminar on the shift towards a Data economy and how EIT Digital anticipates the challenges and accelerates the opportunities.
The digital transformation of the society is so drastic that we need to keep up the speed in adapting to the new business logic, provide entrepreneurial education and foster new innovations to be competitive, stated EIT Digital CEO Willem Jonker in the opening address on October 7th. Jonker also underlined how current dominant companies are the ones that understood the value of data as the "fuel"of the economy.
"If you do not educate, you do not innovate", according to EIT Digital Education Director Anders Flodström. In a Q&A session that followed with Doctoral student sharing their learning journeys, they testified on how the EIT Digital education programmes are different to other academic courses - dynamic, stimulating entrepreneurship and providing unique international networks. The mobility element was highlighted as it gives an extra dimension to understanding research and business as well as culture in other countries and organisations.
The rise of the data economy in business was the topic for the next session, moderated by EIT Digital Node Director Italy, Roberto Saracco (read his blog post on the topic here). The panellists represented both social and industrial views on the data economy - Derrick de Kerckhove ("digital guru"), Laure le Bars (SAP), Dario Avallone (Engineering), Bruno Lamborghini (AICA) and Henrik Abramowicz (EIT Digital "Future Networking Solutions").
"The networks have become invisible, most people don’t think about the infrastructure that is essential to the use of connected devices in everyday life", remarked Henrik Abramowicz. "The challenges ahead are to develop networking solutions for increased use but at reduced costs and with more efficient use of energy resources.
Three innovation projects in the area of Future Networking Solutions were presented– Mobile meter for measuring broadband connection quality, Teemu Rautio ( Networks for Future Media Distribution), A "Nervous system for Agri-Food", Antonio Manzalini, (SDN@Edge) and Energy efficient Xhaul and M2M, Dario Sabella (EXAM). (LINKS)
To exemplify the best ways to grow entrepreneurship and support startups, EIT Digital Business Director Klaus Beetz moderated a panel with representatives from three startups coached by the EIT Digital Accelerator - Nicola Dorigatti, Trilogist, Riccardo Marchesi, Societá Texe and Michele Barbera, SpazioDate, VC Francesco Mantegazzini and EIT Digital Business Developer, Marco Senegalesi.
"Finding the right connection for the right team at the right moment is a complex job, said the latter, but also the very rewarding when it is successful - it is wonderful to see how innovations become market solutions".
Concluding the day, CSO Chahab Nastar summarized the two main challenges of the data economy. Managing the threats (e.g. security, privacy and trust) and leveraging the opportunities (e.g. smart cities, digital factories, citizens’ wellbeing, and new forms of retail).
"We do this by building our organization on openness, experimentation and agility -strengthening digital innovation and entrepreneurial education in Europe".