29 April, 2016

ETNO ThinkDigital Blog: Aiming for the highest innovative standards in Europe

"The huge growth potential of the Internet of Things depends on ability to roll-out superfast broadband networks." #ThinkDigital 

Just one day after the European Commission announced its ‘European strategy for digital industrial leadership within a Digital Single Market’, innovators, academia, companies and policymakers met at the Net Futures 2016 event, hosted by DG CONNECT's Mario Campolargo, Director “Net Futures”.

In line with the Commission’s strategy, the event focused on digital innovations and ETNO, the association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators was very proud to be part of this future-looking gathering.

Networks are the starting point for digitisation, and for merging the physical and the digital worlds” said Commissioner Gunther Oettinger at the event, adding that “the digital revolution will not be possible without this key enabling infrastructure that links them all.

Just imagine all the opportunities that will arise through connecting people, businesses, machines and objects across all sectors. The benefits will be huge and unprecedented. In a few years, we will be able to deliver services as diverse as smart transport, high-quality and ubiquitous media, industry 4.0 or smart homes. But for this, we need to be sure that the networks are powerful and trustworthy enough.

If you are travelling in a connected, driverless car for instance, you will want to be sure that the connection is constant and strong enough to bring you safely to your destination. The same applies across all sectors as every thing, person and object becomes connected to the Internet.

At the Net Futures event, ETNO manned a stand which put the focus on exactly this point: that this huge growth potential of the Internet of Things depends on our members’ ability to roll-out superfast broadband networks. As telcos, we need to build the digital spine of the Continent and provide new, innovative and exciting communication services.

Over the past seven years, ETNO companies have invested 186 billion euros across Europe and they plan to do more in terms of innovation and investment to ensure that Europe is in the lead. Some companies have already announced commercial trials of 5G for 2018.

At the ETNO stand, two members were keen to showcase some of their innovative solutions.

Proximus uses a long range network called LoRa® to transport small quantities of data between machines, applications and objects with ultra-low power. LoRa® enables the implementation of various IoT applications. At Net Futures, Proximus had some examples: Connected sensors that enable the analysis of the temperature in a building or the frequency of use of a specific room. Both these solutions lead to more efficient spending. You would, for example, be able to work out how many times the toilet has been used in your office and whether it is worth calling the cleaning team or not. There are many more examples on the Proximus website

Portugal Telecom’s innovation arm, Altice Labs, is a technology provider with a wide range of innovative solutions aimed at improving people’s lives and the ways in which companies do business. At the stand, they introduced some of their passive optical network solutions (GPON and NG-PON2), aimed at meeting increasing bandwidth requirements, as well as some of their certified OSS solutions for mobile, fixed and converged business operators. These solutions enable companies to automate all processes – from resources, networks and services to customers – from an operational perspective. Netwin provides companies with a reliable network inventory management system for example, so they can keep constant track of their equipment and make sure the quality of service is at its best at all times. This helps reduce costs, but also guarantee customer satisfaction.

With efforts to achieve the Internet of Things and launch 5G, Europe can address many of its challenges and open-up new, tangible opportunities for all citizens including job-seekers, entrepreneurs, commuters, employees, electors, students, consumers, readers, civil servants and many others. The benefits are huge.

Devices will be remotely controllable in an ever more reliable, secure and energy-efficient way, offering unprecedented opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, wearables and healthcare; Human-object communication will become routine.

The message brought to Net Futures by ETNO’s Director General was clear. While innovators, engineers, market specialists and business leaders come up with the next big invention or search for funding to invest more, policymakers must also play a crucial role in making sure they don’t come across barriers to innovating and investing. More space for innovation means more space for new services and more growth opportunities for all. “The Digital Single Market Strategy, launched by the Commission earlier last year, has the right focus” she said.

Both industry and the Commission agree that by working together, we can create a leading Digital Society in Europe. Vice President Andrus Ansip explained that the EU strongly encourages investments from the private sector, which is why they have set up a series of private-public partnerships. It is through these PPPs that industry, academics and the European Commission can cooperate and aim for the highest standards. ETNO members work closely with the EU in these partnerships as it is far more efficient than all working in parallel without real coordination.

Digital transformation for our industry is like a high-speed train rushing into the future” said Vice President Andrus Ansip at the event. “Europe needs to be on that train in the driving seat.” In ETNO’s view, getting broadband investment and service innovation right is fundamental to reaching this goal. 

By ETNO #ThinkDigital, Brussels, 29.04.2016


ETNO ThinkDigital interview: Altice Labs showcasing innovation at the Net Futures 2016 event

ETNO Director General's speech at the Net Futures 2016 event

Proximus: Aarschot launches parking app based on LoRa network.


All Net Futures 2016 videos

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