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The role of big data and cloud computing in the EU's DSM is assured

The European Commission has published the long awaited Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy.

The European Commission has published the long awaited Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy which provides a roadmap for the future digital transformation of the EU and its Members States. techUK has welcomed the DSM and supports the approach being suggested by the Commission based on three pillars: better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services; creating the conditions for digital networks and services to flourish; and maximising the growth potential of the EU's digital economy.

The recognition of the importance of big data and cloud computing to Europe's future digital competitiveness is also to be applauded. However, it should be remembered that big data and cloud computing are not simply digital tools that can support European digital competitiveness. Cloud computing is the technological infrastructure and computing backbone upon which the future of the European Digital Single Market will be built. Big data technologies provide organisations with the means to gain insights and value from the huge volumes of data being created, managed, stored and shared digitally. Without big data analytics for example, finding the information needle in the data haystack will be impossible. Together cloud and big data will provide the fundamental computing infrastructure that the digital ecosystems needed to deliver European wide e-government services, e-energy systems, smart cities and the digital enabled future envisaged by the DSM.

Recognition of the need to create the right conditions and remove potential barriers to the future development of cloud and big data in Europe are therefore welcomed. Both the proposed "free flow of data" and cloud computing initiatives will provide opportunities to discuss how the future growth of European cloud computing and the maturity of the big data market can be assured. While more detail is needed on the specific focus and issues to be addressed in these initiatives, the DSM's recognition of the need to consider traditional concepts of data localisation for processing and storage purposes is particularly encouraging. However, moving forward it is vital that DSM discussions take into consideration the fast pace of technological innovation not just in Europe but globally. The Commission must avoid creating new barriers to future technological innovation in big data and cloud computing. For example, while industry standards have an important role to play in enabling the cloud computing market, Europe should be driving the development of global rather than regional standards in what is today a relatively mature global cloud computing market.

techUK welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the European Commission how the DSM strategy can support the development of cloud computing and big data in Europe. In particular the importance of ensuring that:

  • traditional concepts of data localisation that could put at risk the future development of the European cloud and big data markets are addressed
  • the development of standards are industry driven to avoid taking a rigid regulatory approach or the introduction of one size fits all static requirements for evolving global technologies
  • Industry concerns relating to a big data skills gap in Europe, particularly in relation to data scientists, are addressed in the Commission's future initiatives on skills and training.


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