A recent report by the OECD showed that Europe is only capitalising on a fraction (12%) of its digital potential. Most companies limit their digital use to email and internet. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are particularly slow to integrate digital technologies. The recent Digital Economy and Society Index Report found that “Less than a fifth of companies in the EU-28 are highly digitised“ and that “Use of robots is low on an EU level, with 6.7% of all enterprises using industrial or service robots. The share of large enterprises that use robots is four times higher than the share of SMEs.” 

Yet advances in robotics, AI, cloud computing, and big data have the potential to boost productivity and change the industrial landscape.

Image 1: Use of robots in the EU in 2018. Source: Eurostat

Digital Innovation Hubs

In an effort to increase uptake of digital technologies in companies, the European Commission promised 500M € in 2016, over 5 years, to launch Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs). DIHs are regional one-stop-shops that help companies access the latest knowledge, expertise, and technology to prototype and test their own digital innovations, network, receive financing advice and market

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