New technology can do a huge amount for healthcare. From telecare that helps the vulnerable be cared for without leaving home—to simple smartphone apps that let people take control of their own healthy living.
And many of these innovations come from smaller and medium-sized companies. Last year TIC Biomed set up an EU SME e-Health competition to reward the smartest ideas from across Europe. I was delighted to personally congratulate the winners – from Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Spain – who came up with fresh and varied innovations that help technology boost healthcare and improve lives.
This year they’re repeating the challenge. And small and medium-sized businesses with bright e-Health ideas have until next Thursday, 31 January, to register. Winners will be announced at this year’s e-Health week, in Dublin in May – potentially offering you the visibility and marketing you need to attract customers, partners and capital. Full details are on the website http://www.ehealthcompetition.eu/.
I am here in Davos, Switzerland for the sixth time for the World Economic Forum. It is a strange, beautiful and fascinating place – so many powerful people in three and four star family hotels, so many rules, so many views! But amid all fuss there are extraordinary discussions. It really is a place to bring your case for change.
In my case, the arguments for digital change: skills, jobs, freedom, security, better networks. I gave an interview in today’s Wall Street Journal about my goals for the week, and for the year in fact. And I have been getting a great amount of support from CEOs and other “C” executives for the need to build a “Grand Coalition” to tackle Europe’s digital skills gap, and I also pushed these issues on Reuters TV this morning. Let’s get on with action on this tomorrow. We’ll need it or else it’s a lost generation and companies leaving Europe.
As “co-Governor” of the ICT and telco group here at the Forum, I’ll host another dinner tonight talking to leaders about issues like cybersecurity and net neutrality.
It was interesting to listen to David Cameron’s second-most famous speech of the week. I am glad he mentioned the need to go digital, to invest in digital in both of his speeches this week. I’ll leave my commentary at that.
I was impressed also by the speech of Christine Lagarde about why we have to value the new generation and what they bring to improve our world: openness, inclusion and accountability. This is the transparent generation and that is what the world needs right now. Read it here . People like Christine go to show that being outnumbered doesn’t stop women from having an impact here.
Quote of the day goes to Ian Livingston of BT: ”There are two types of CEOs – those that know they are being hacked and those that don’t”, this was during a panel on joined on making our internet resilient.
Will remember to take more photos and post again soon.
You’ve probably seen the terrible news about the death of Aaron Swartz. It’s always horrifying when someone so young and so clearly talented feels they have no option but to take their own life. I know that this is something that shook the internet community deeply. And my thoughts are with his family, and what they must be going through right now.
This was a man who saw that greater openness can be good for citizens, and good for society. Hugely disruptive – but hugely beneficial. Read the full entry
I’m off to Davos soon for the World Economic Forum. While I’m there I want to set out some more details on how we plan to boost Europe’s competitiveness – and fill tomorrow’s ICT jobs – with help from the private sector and others.
Many people today worry about the economic climate we’re in, and where the jobs are going to come from. But as the tide of unemployment rises, there’s still at least one island of hope – jobs for ICT practitioners, where demand is still strong, and growing.
That should be a great opportunity—but it risks becoming a liability. Because as it stands, the supply of people with the right skills is not growing in step. From 2006 to 2010, ICT graduates actually shrank by 10%; pretty soon, Europe could face one million unfilled ICT jobs. At a time of unemployment – wouldn’t that be absolutely crazy? Read the full entry
With Prof Herta Däubler-Gmelin (left) and Prof Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, receiving their report
I am delighted to have read over the weekend, and to have been officially presented today, with a keenly awaited report into the practice of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union. The lead author is Prof. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. (The other members were Professor Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Professor Luís Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro and Ben Hammersley).
It is remarkably wide-ranging; it touches on the work of many of my Commission colleagues.
It is also highly political and addressed quite a few legally complicated issues. So, while I would say it is an essential round of evidence gathering and thought leadership, the appropriate next step is a very serious and EU-wide political debate, including public consultation. I want to hear what you think! Send your feedback to CNECT-TASKFORCE-MEDIA at ec dot europa dot eu
After recent events concerning media freedom and pluralism, for example in Hungary but really in quite a few Member States, many – including indeed many journalists – complained that the EU was not doing enough, and does not have sufficient powers to act to protect freedom and pluralism. On the other hand, I am also aware that there are risks to freedom and pluralism from having too much power, or acting too much. And that is exactly why I would like a political debate, with all stakeholders contributing.
The report contains recommendations for consideration by a number of Commissioners on matters such as appropriate EU powers in this field, regulator independence, competition and media pluralism, journalist codes of conduct and net neutrality.
There’s be a more detailed Commission reaction once we’ve received more feedback and pushed the political debate forward. Report available here.
The original version of this article was published in French by the newspaper Liberation.
Last week, controversy erupted when FREE blocked advertising on internet services routed through its “FreeBox”. Internet content providers who rely on advertising to provide free content to consumers were furious.
The controversy illustrated the complexity of the internet economy. The delicate balance between choice and convenience, transparency and effective control, commerce and public interest.
My general starting principle is that consumers should be free to make real choices about their internet subscription and online activity.
Standard contracts and default settings for internet services can be convenient and efficient, but there are public-interest limits to this, either in general consumer protection law or in specific rules. For example, consumers have the right to choose whether they want to use ‘cookies’, which track their internet use, when browsing a website. And they should understand the costs and benefits of their choice. Read the full entry
La semaine dernière, une polémique a surgi lorsque Free a bloqué la publicité sur les services internet transitant par sa Freebox. Les fournisseurs de contenu internet qui dépendent de la publicité pour proposer du contenu gratuit aux consommateurs étaient furieux. Cette polémique illustre la complexité de l’économie de l’internet. Le fragile équilibre entre choix et facilité d’usage, entre transparence et contrôle effectif, entre commerce et intérêt public. Read the full entry
Once it was called the ‘Dutch disease’, today this virus could probably be called the Greek flu.
In the past the Netherlands used gas revenues to bolster government coffers and, as a result, its competitiveness suffered. The income from gas prevented the Netherlands from innovating and reforming. The Dutch became lazy as they were able to delay facing up to their economic problems.
Throughout the Euro crisis, the European Commission and the Netherlands have rightly drawn attention to the irresponsible behaviour of countries financing their day to day expenditure through cheap loans. Too little was done in the good times to invest in new sources of growth. Instead we consumed more. I use “we” because no one is without sin. Read the full entry
This is my first post of 2013, and I’m happy to kick off the year with a subject which you know I am really passionate about: Europe’s tech & web entrepreneurs. These are the people following their dreams and creating their own companies. Coming up with ideas and products with the potential to change the way we live, work, play, communicate and collaborate. And they are also creating new jobs, sometimes in sectors and markets which don’t even exist yet. These inspirational people are at the cutting edge of the EU’s digital economy and economic recovery.
And we need to celebrate them and ensure that their ideas can start in Europe, and stay in Europe.
So that’s why I am looking for Europioneers in web or mobile, who have demonstrated the skill, innovation, drive, passion & leadership to be called Europe’s Tech Entrepreneur of the year. We need nominations in 2 categories: “European Tech Entrepreneur of the Year”, and “European Young Tech Entrepreneur of the Year” (which means still under 30 this year). Read the full entry