Connected homes are on the rise, but whom would they serve?

Italians working on digital policies in Brussels rang the alarm that their home country is lagging behind on indicators, such as the level of regular internet users, digital skills and services. The latest statistics show that also another 14 EU states are below the EU average score of 52.5.

"DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index): Italy postponed"? Italian professionals working on digital policies in Brussels, calling themselves simply Digit@lians, rang the alarm that their home country is lagging behind on several indicators that advance competitiveness, such as the level of regular internet users, digital skills and services. The latest statistics, however, show that not just Italy, but also another 14 EU states are also below the EU average score of 52.5 which sumps up connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology and digital public services. With the new European Parliament and European Commission on board, experts highlighted several actions that EU policy makers could aim at to ensure that supply meets demand, and that Europe is a competitive actor on the global market. Fabrizia Benini, Head of unit Digital Economy and Skills at European Commission, DG CONNECT and responsible for DESI said: “Italy has done a lot lately in terms of improving the digital, economy and society index. But other Member States did even better.”

By next year, up to 50 billion connected devices will be in people’s homes worldwide. At the same time, cutting-edge technology can be as beneficial as its users make it to be. “On one side, algorithms, cloud computing, online sales and services design clearly show that the industry is going digital. On the other, only 1% of students in Italy graduate in ICT and a few workers go through trainings and re-skilling”, the Director General of APPLiA, Paolo Falcioni noted. He further continued by saying that while local governments are in power of national initiatives, Members of the European Parliament could steer the process by establishing a digital environment that Europeans can trust and by focusing on ICT development in EU’s next research programme, delivering on the “Digital Education Action Plan” promised by the Commission President Von der Leyen.

New Italian MEPs echoed the need to boost digitalisation at all levels. Andrea Caroppo (Identity and Democracy Group, Italy) confirmed that a Single Digital Market is still to be built and it will be one of the major efforts for the new Parliament to deliver it. “Consumers' take on digital innovation is proportional to their usefulness and simplicity”, Marco Zullo (Non-attached member, Italy) further added. The S&D Group, represented by Brando Benifei said he would focus on delivering "a trustful digital world" during his second mandate as an MEP.

“To offer better lifestyles to Europeans home appliance manufacturers need to be able to rely on clear definitions and liabilities. Having clear rules and boundaries, sets a fair trade environment for all business to innovate. It is time for evolution”, Paolo Falcioni concluded.