5G and robotics attract highest EU funding in past two years
5G and robotics research attracted the highest funding within Horizon 2020, the European Union’s largest research and innovation programme ever, in the past two years.
Europe’s Digital Progress Report (EDPR) is out and shows that a total of 850 projects involving 3,312 organisations received $2.7 billion (€2.4 billion) in European Union (EU) funding, as part of Horizon 2020’s first two years of implementation. Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT ICT) accounted for 70 percent of the $2.7 billion funding. Within the strategic objective ”Future Networks and Internet”, the contractual Private Public Partnership (PPP) for 5G accounted for $145 million (€130 million) in funding while Robotics PPP, within the objective ”Cognitive systems and Robotics”, attracted $179 million (€160 million). This makes these research areas those receiving the highest funding. The report does not account for private funding coming on top of EU funding.
Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the EU’s largest research and innovation programme ever. It will allocate over $89 billion (nearly €80 billion) of funding over the period 2014-2020. ”[Horizon 2020] promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market,” the European Commission (EC) stated.
H2020 has also seen an influx of new participants compared to the previous framework, FP7: 37 percent of participants were indeed new and 80 percent of those were private for-profit organisations.
Germany and the UK the biggest recipients of EU funding
Some European countries are more active than others within H2020. Europe’s Digital Progress Report (EDPR) shows that, while Greece and Slovenia have the highest funding in relation to the size of their ICT sector, Germany and the United Kingdom are the biggest net recipients of EU funding within H2020.
The bulk of H2020 funding was concentrated within a few countries. Germany, the U.K., France, Spain and Italy accounted for 64 percent of total EU funding, and for 62 percent of H2020 participations in the programme’s first two years. Spain was the leader in terms of projects coordinated.
The construction sector a laggard on digital technology
Technology research is great but its future use will be conditioned by EU enterprises’ digital readiness. There, the report shows significant differences between countries and industries. Ireland scored highest on integration of digital technology, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. Romania, Latvia and Hungary ended up at the bottom of the league table.
But only in five countries – Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium and Lithuania – is the percentage of firms with a very high Digital Intensity Index (DII) above five percent, meaning that these companies possess at least 10 of a total of 12 monitored digital technologies.
Looking at industries, the ICT sector performed best, while construction can be seen as a technology laggard. ”It was expected that businesses in the information and communication services sector would have high levels of digitization (60 percent). However, the extent to which some sectors have been transformed by the emergence of digital business models is perhaps more surprising. In the travel agency sector, 57 percent of businesses are high adopters of digital technologies. In the accommodation sector, 38 percent have a high or very high DII. Some sectors are still impervious to digital change: in the construction sector only 6 percent of firms have a high or very high DII,” the EU noted.
Many EU enterprises ill-prepared to face security risks
This result will hardly come as a surprise: more than a fourth of enterprises in the EU still lack a formal security policy. Yet, some progress may be noted. In 2010, 64 percent of EU enterprises had a formal security policy. In 2016, they were 72 percent. However, 11 percent failed to review their security plans in the past two years, putting them at risk of having an outdated defense against cybersecurity threats. Among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), only 30 percent had a formal security policy in place.
IIoT News Recap: Ligado lays out 5G plan; Consumers don’t want self-driving cars; Infineon launched $73 million sensor project; LA connects city data to high-speed network; Orange to promote RFID with new partnership; NuTonomy raises $16 million; Today’s forecast: Intelligent systems
5G: Ligado lays out plan for 5G network in mid-band spectrum
Lidago Networks, which today operates a satellite network in the mid-band throughout North America, has filed a plan for a 5G network with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Among other things, Ligado asked the FCC to bar terrestrial use of a 10-MHz block near the GPS frequencies, reserving that block for satellite use. The company also stated it supported a government-conducted single national auction for the spectrum adjacent to its upper band. ”Of course, operators will continue to invest in wireless infrastructure and install new spectrum to support their existing networks. However, the challenge comes when we ask those same operators to devote those same frequencies to building a new 5G network. That is like trying to build a boat at the same time you are trying to sail the boat,” said Lidago in a blog post. ”Advanced networks need new real estate – greenfield spectrum not currently in use – if we are to successfully build next-generation networks.”
Autonomous driving: Consumers don’t want self-driving cars
On top of legislation hurdles, the self-driving car industry could face yet another obstacle of size: finding a market. Indeed, over 40 percent of the 618 U.S. drivers surveyed by the University of Michigan said they did not want any automation at all in their next car. While 39 percent said they would prefer a semi self-driving vehicle, only 15 percent said they wanted a fully self-driving vehicle. In the meantime, another survey of 1,000 UK motorists by vehicle CCTV specialists SmartWitness found that over half of respondents opposed the introduction of driverless cars, fearing about road safety. Indeed, 62 percent of drivers said ”they would feel less safe on the roads alongside other vehicles with no human behind the wheel.”
Sensors: Infineon launched a $73 million sensor project in Germany’s Dresden
Germany-based Infineon Technologies has launched a $73 million (€65 million) pilot lines project for sensors and sensor systems named IoSense in Dresden, Germany. IoSense is part of ECSEL, the European support program for microelectronics, and will see 33 partners from six countries perform research and development along the entire value chain for the next three years. “Sensor solutions from Infineon in cars make a major contribution to improving road safety. With an increasingly networked world and the Internet of Things, the demand for such sensor solutions will see a dramatic rise. In addition, sensors are increasingly employed in smartphones and lifestyle products. We will benefit from this market growth through new sensor technologies and competitive production methods,“ said Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies.
Smart city: LA connects city data to 100 Gbps education network
Students, academics, and researchers around the world will soon be able to access Los Angeles city data and digital resources at 100 Gbps speeds, as the city of Los Angeles (LA) announced the city will be the first large municipal government to join the non-profit Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). “The City of Los Angeles is already unmatched in digital transparency, but speed and accessibility are just as important in the 21st century. This agreement means that young people, students of all ages, and some of the world’s leading thinkers and educators can now access the City’s digital resources up to 1,000 times faster. When we open our data to the public, and commit ourselves to making it more easily available, we create limitless potential for innovation, discovery, and new understanding,” said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.
RFID: Orange to promote RFID through French National RFID Centre (CNRFID) partnership
French operator Orange has entered a partnership with the French National RFID Centre (CNRFID) to promote the usage of RFID technology. Created by the French government in 2008, the CNRFID has today 150 national and international members working on defining standards for RFID.
Startup: Self-driving car NuTonomy raises $16 million in funding
NuTonomy, a startup spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and backed by Ford Motor’s chairman Bill Ford, has raised $16 million in funding, the Wall Street Journal reports. The financing round was led by Highland Capital and included investors such as Singapore’s government. NuTonomy is planning to introduce self-driving taxis in Singapore in fall.
Today’s forecast: Intelligent systems revenue to exceed $2.2 trillion in 2020
The value of the market for intelligent systems will exceed $2.2 trillion in 2020, driven by increasing edge intelligence and connectivity, according to new research by IDC. The market will grow at a CAGR of 7.2 percent between 2015 and 2020. “The vision of intelligent connected systems is real and far-reaching. The IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) industries are moving beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) buzz and are now deploying intelligent systems in specific markets like retail, industrial automation, automotive systems, and directly in our homes. Despite IT vendors and technology suppliers maintaining the initial mind share as the key builders of the IoT world, the vision, implementation, and ecosystem is centered on OT companies like GE, Siemens, ABB, GM, Bosch, Ford, Volvo, Toyota, Samsung, Honeywell, Hitachi, and others that hold decades of system knowledge and an entrenched position in each of the major industries investing in the next wave of embedded and intelligent systems” said Mario Morales, program vice president, Enabling Technologies and Semiconductors at IDC.