Digital tech boost drives UK firms towards fourth industrial revolution

Posted on 20 Apr 2016 by Jonny Williamson

UK businesses are set to be at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution by embracing digital technologies that could improve productivity.

The EU Commission has this week published details on how businesses across the EU, including those in the UK, can get better access to the technologies that will help them to modernise.

The innovative package includes improving access to cloud computing and services, data analytics and the Internet of Things. It will improve the way the UK does business in the research, technology and industrial sectors, and enable UK companies to compete globally.

Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe commented: “The fourth industrial revolution will fundamentally change the way we do business in this country.

“As with previous industrial revolutions, the expectation must be that the net effect will be positive for almost everyone.

“The package set out by the European Commission contains stimulating ideas about how businesses can embrace new and interesting ways of working.

The package builds on the existing work going on in the UK, such as digital catapults and support for quantum technologies. It will also help our business and research communities make the most of EU research and development in high technology areas.

 It sets out suggestions in four areas of working:

  • Digitising European Industry, which sets out how the European Commission will help industries to take advantage of digital technologies; supporting collaboration between EU and UK high value manufacturing,
  • European Cloud Initiative, to be used by the science community, which could include making scientific data generated by the Horizon 2020 programme open by default,
  • Priorities for ICT Standardisation, which will help to make it easier for British businesses to operate in the Single Market, and
  • An eGovernent Action Plan 2016 – 2020, which will help to modernise public administration, making it easier for UK citizens and businesses to access government services in other European countries.

The Digital Single Market proposals follow repeated calls from UK ministers for the EU to deliver key priorities for the Government’s EU reform and competitiveness agenda. Acting at a European level helps UK businesses gain access to the European single market.

The actions will in part be funded by Horizon 2020, the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme with €80bn of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020), alongside private investment.

Government will now consider the proposals in the package and work with the EU institutions to ensure that the package works for UK industry.