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Summaries of EU Legislation

The EU’s ideas on how to move to a successful data-driven economy

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The EU’s ideas on how to move to a successful data-driven economy

The communication is a policy paper with ideas as to how EU countries can exploit data to benefit their economies. Potential benefits of a growing data-driven economy include improved citizen well-being, new business opportunities and more innovative public services.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Towards a thriving data-driven economy (COM(2014) 442 final of 2.7.2014).

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

The communication is a policy paper with ideas as to how EU countries can exploit data to benefit their economies. Potential benefits of a growing data-driven economy include improved citizen well-being, new business opportunities and more innovative public services.

KEY POINTS

The main problems identified in public consultations on big data are:

lack of cross-border coordination;

insufficient infrastructure and funding opportunities;

a shortage of data experts and related skills;

a complex legal environment.

The Commission puts forward the following ideas to tackle these problems.

Create a big data public-private partnership that funds major ‘big data’ ideas (e.g. in personalised medicine and food logistics).

Create an open data incubator to help SMEs set up supply chains based on data and make more use of cloud computing (where data are stored and processed in remote data centres).

Propose new rules on data ownership and liability of data provision for data gathered via machine-to-machine communication (i.e. any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans, for example for remote monitoring. In the area of product restocking, a vending machine can inform the distributor when a particular item is running low).

Map existing relevant data standards for a number of big data areas (e.g. health, transport, environment, retail, manufacturing, financial services, etc.) to help create a climate of open data exchange.

Establish a series of supercomputing centres of excellence to increase the number of skilled data workers in Europe (supercomputers are computers that process data at very high speeds).

Create a network of data processing facilities in different EU countries (these are places where data are processed - an example of a network is the European data network for the research and education community called Géant).

BACKGROUND

Human activities, industrial processes and research are leading to data collection and processing on an unprecedented scale, encouraging the development of new products and services, as well as new business processes and scientific methodologies. The resulting datasets are so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process such ‘big data’ with the current data management tools and methods.

The high levels of growth in data technology and services could deliver considerable economic benefits in various fields, ranging from health, food security, climate issues and resource efficiency to energy and intelligent transport systems.

KEY TERMS

Big data (e.g. geographical information, statistics, weather data, research data, transport data, energy consumption data or health data) refers to large amounts of data produced very quickly by a high number of diverse sources.

For further information, see the digital agenda for Europe website.

Last updated: 09.01.2015

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