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Est. reading time: 4 minutes
Author: Ruth Kearney

The 2030 Digital Compass aims to digitally transform Europe by the end of the decade. It aims to strengthen digital infrastructure and facilitate digital transformation of businesses and the public sector. At its core will be a framework that allows businesses and services to go digital in keeping with European values.

Ruth Kearney

Ruth is focused on driving the commercial path at Nightingale HQ, reaching out to manufacturers to share the GoSmarter toolkit, and driving awareness …


What is Europe’s ‘2030 Digital Compass’ and how will it effect your business?

In this article, we look at Europe’s digital plan for the next decade. We’re giving you a quick summary of the tech trends coming your way.

The “2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the digital decade”, released earlier this year, builds on the Commissions' “Digital Strategy” of February 2020. It aims to digitally transform Europe by the end of the decade. Its four key points are digital upskilling, digital infrastructure, digital business and digital services.

In this article, we cover how the digital compass will affect businesses and industry.

What it means for businesses

It’s good news for SMEs as the plan will place particular emphasis on their role in advancing innovation. The compass outlines key points for SMEs and aims to make some concrete KPI’s after a consultation period.

A network of over 200 European Digital Innovation Hubs are being developed to further help support SMEs in their digital development. Get more detail by reading how Digital Innovation Hubs will affect the adoption of AI by SMEs.

Covid-19 has made the digital transformation of businesses more important than ever. By the end of the decade, the Commission aims to have 75% of EU businesses using tech such as AI, Big Data, and Cloud. They also want to double the number of Unicorns in the EU and to have over 90% of SMEs at a basic level of digital intensity. This will make European businesses more competitive globally.

What it means for industry

In manufacturing the compass aims to make data sharing easier. With 5G connectivity, devices in factories will be even more connected and better able to collect industrial data. The transition to 5G means smaller nodes than traditional macro cell towers. Smaller technology nodes mean smaller feature sizes and smaller, more efficient transistors. This will make the manufacturing sector more productive and energy-efficient.

An increase in the use of real-time data in manufacturing will increase productivity. Manufacturers can spend less time on busy work and repetitive tasks. They will be able to produce products on demand specific to consumer needs with digital twins, new materials and 3D printing. Predictive maintenance will give manufacturers a heads up when a potential issue with a machine is on the horizon. Another use of real time data and AI is to train robots, making them more collaborative. We have an article about real-time data applications that manufacturers can start using today.

The compass continues the aim of digital strategy to have 80% of data processing done at the edge by 2025. There will be an increase in data stored in decentralised locations. In short, the compass aims to strengthen Europe’s cloud infrastructure.

What’s it going to look like?

Funding for the digital transition and multi-country projects is being provided by utilising the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the Cohesion Funds, and other EU funding. Each EU country is expected to dedicate 20% of the Recovery and Resilience Fund to facilitate the transition.

A framework that allows businesses and services to go digital with European values at its core will now have to be developed by the Commission. This will include key principles surrounding transparency, privacy, and security. The process will be a part of the ongoing societal debates surrounding technology. It will shape the framework and discussions over the next decade.

An EU-wide consultation process has been launched by the Commission, and is being followed by a Digital Policy programme this summer. This will be the basis of an Inter-institutional declaration on Digital Principles by the end of this year. If you are an innovative SME and would like to contribute to discussions about digital transformation in Europe, you can apply to join the European Digital SME Alliances' “Working Group Digitalisation”.

Further Reading