EIT Digital: Modern economy and society spring from modern digital infrastructure
Henrik Abramowicz, the leader of Digital Infrastructure Action Line at EIT Digital, stresses that it is crucial for Europe to support the digitisation and modernisation of vertical segments and society at large by providing a modern digital infrastructure.
By doing this, Europe will improve its competitiveness in the world market, create new jobs. For example, according to the European Commission Digital single market strategy, removing existing online barriers could contribute €415 billion per year to the European economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
Henrik is currently organising three Summer Schools on Digital Infrastructure for the EIT Digital Academy in Trento and in Stockholm. Digital Infrastructure acts as the core enabler of the digital transformation by providing secure, robust, responsive and intelligent communications and computation facilities.
What summer schools is your Action Line organizing this year?
'Our first summer school started in July in Trento, Italy with "Cybersecurity and Privacy" as its topic. It will be followed in August with two other schools in Stockholm, Sweden; "Big Data Analytics", and "Internet of Things and Business Transformation".'
Why do you teach these subjects in the summer schools?
'Ensuring cyber security is a must in all modern systems at a time when major cyber-attacks take place almost every week.'
'The fifth generation of mobile technology called also "5G", and Internet-of-Things, or "IoT", are the new upcoming waves within Information Technology, where any device that can be, will be connected. Therefore, a massive number of devices needs to be managed, and a greater support in mission-critical applications will be important for many vertical business segments like e.g. autonomous vehicles.'
'Furthermore, 5G and IoT are growth areas that will be supporting current business segments. With these tools, it will be possible to rationalise and modernise, among others, financial industry, industrial production, transport and other industry segments. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are the tools to create new insight and understanding through the tremendous growth in data and by that capitalise on it. All in all, these areas are intertwined and will be even more so in the future.'
What innovations do you see awaiting us?
'We will see more autonomous operation of networks and platforms with well-integrated security and management from the very start. This will ease the operations of the networks and computation and by this provide more affordable services.'
'And, with a better support, the organisations can focus on their business speciality instead, as they often need today to provide bespoken networking and computation. This is comparatively expensive and difficult to manage and quickly gets obsolete. But, by providing real-time oriented mission critical systems, we can support remote factoring, autonomous vehicles and provide flexibility in a world that is quickly changing.
Why is this important for Europe?
'By providing modern digital infrastructure we can support the digitisation and modernisation of vertical segments and society at large, which will improve the competitiveness in the world market and by this create new jobs.'
'To make this to happen, Europe needs to provide funding for the roll out of 5G and broadband networks which are the basis for business segments' application development and the corresponding drive in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Europe also needs to provide really robust networks, platforms and services and to support real-time applications like autonomous vehicles and real-time production in connected factories.'
What kind of talents do we need in Europe?
'We need people that not only are good in their technical topics like networking, Internet-of-Things or cyber security but who also are interested in business and innovation and entrepreneurship, and who dare to question the current paradigms and see opportunities with the technologies. They should be able to drive and be passionate about their work but also have the customer in focus.'
What kind of companies do we need in Europe?
'We need agile companies with a top management that is prepared to revisit their current practices, business processes and business models in order to take advantage of the new technologies and the talented youths coming from the universities. Hierarchical management with rigid structure will not be able to survive in the fierce global competitions. Instead, we should ensure creating an organisation that is network oriented, open and flexible and respects their employees irrespective of their background and gender. That will attract talent.'
Why should companies send their employees to your summer school?
'Our summer schools provide an excellent opportunity to learn the latest in the area from the academic world but also to do case studies from the real world, through the participation of representatives from our collaborating companies. The schools are a possibility to meet other students from various background and are thus truly international.'
'More importantly, our summer schools will teach not only the traditional technical topics but the students need also learn to become innovative and understanding the business. In doing so the students will be better prepared for their business career.'
How do the students of the Digital Infrastructure summer schools benefit the European economy and improve the lives of the Europeans?
'The students will come back with new insight into topics that are becoming crucial to have a good understanding, which can be applied in their own companies to make them more competitive. They will get inspiration in how to create new business and in addition, they will have a network of people both tutors and students to turn to which can be of use for their work and companies.'
'For example, understanding and driving an increased level of cybersecurity will improve the privacy of people and robustness of operations. Or, understanding how to utilise the tremendous amount of data will give not only a competitive advantage but also better insight how to operate systems to avoid costly unplanned maintenance. And, grasping the upcoming Internet of Things will be essential for companies working in vertical business segments, as it will not only rationalise the technology but also change processes and business practices and business models.'