Europe banks on industrial 6G

Europe banks on industrial 6G

10 March 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

Cover

The European Commission has detailed plans to overhaul its industrial sector with a number of investments in new technologies, including 6G.

According to EURACTIV,  an official document entitled Building block for a comprehensive industrial strategy has been published, which outlines key areas of focus for developing the EU’s industries.

In the leaked report, and on the subject of 6G, it refers to a “strategic European partnership” which will involve research and innovation in the field of “smart networks and services beyond 5G/towards 6G” all of which will involve member states reinforcing their “European leadership in network technologies”.

Additionally, the document mentions the introduction of new standards for technologies such as the “Internet of Things, robotics, nanotechnologies, microelectronics, 5G, high-performance computing, quantum computing, and critical digital and data cloud infrastructure.”

“These early research efforts on 6G aren't necessarily about definitive use cases, but instead developing thought leadership and remaining an important voice in the conversation as standards are slowly developed overtime and use cases become clearer,” said Malcolm Rogers, senior technology analyst at GlobalData

“If the EU, or any government, or any major player, takes a complete wait and see approach, then eventually they will have to take what is given from a technological standpoint once standards have evolved and this could be less than ideal given some factors including spectrum used, data security protocols, speed requirements, etc.”  

In an exclusive comment to Capacity, a spokesperson for the European Commission said: “As 5G services are launched in Europe, and a wider roll-out is expected in the next few years, research initiatives on 6G are also being launched, in Europe and worldwide.

“EU companies have been to the forefront of patented technology components in 5G, and Europe has the ambition to play a leading role.

“Technologies for smart networks and services based on 5G and later 6G will be among the key technologies to address the context of technological sovereignty and will be the basis for the digital and green transformation of our society and economy.”

The document goes onto say further to the leaked draft white paper on Artificial Intelligence, data will become a valuable resource in the EU’s future AI strategy.

“The rising importance of the data economy (including data ownership), requires setting up an appropriate legal framework, which encourages and facilitates the sharing of non-personal data (with safeguard for commercially sensitive data) while fully respecting data protection standards,” the report stated.

“The availability of data is a prerequisite for a broad uptake of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.”

The document also said that it will create a “regulatory framework” that will specify questions of liability, accountability, transparency and safety in a way that is “able to respond to future emerging technologies”.  

 Paolo Pescatore, tech, media and telco analyst at PP Foresight, added on the implications such a project would have in the short and long term.

“A cultural shift is required with a clear focus of supporting R&D,” he said. “For sure investment will need to be aside.”

“While this might be costly in the short to medium term, the potential benefits could be huge in fuelling sustainable growth for the region in the future. In essence, this move also suggests the desire to create the next group of FAANGs to come from Europe.”

In a related section, the report outlines the EU plan to level out the playing field in the investment space by finding the “right balance between protection and openness”.

The rest of the leaked report also touched on changes to the Digital Services Act, the Customs Union, combining defence and space policies, pharmaceutical strategy and health data, and the role of industry in climate and transport.