How investment in Digital will help the European economy bounce back
The challenges of 2020 have underlined more than ever that technology is essential to our everyday lives. As social distancing has been implemented, we have relied much more heavily on technology and our digital infrastructure for work, learning, buying essential food and goods and for social interaction.
We have all adapted at a much faster rate than ever before. Who knew video calls would so quickly become such a part of everyone’s lives, from the eldest to youngest? McKinsey conducted a survey of more than 20,000 European consumers to see exactly how things had changed. The headline takeaway is that there have been dramatic shifts in digital-customer behaviour for which many companies were unprepared. Understanding the detail that lies behind these shifts will help companies respond promptly.
They found Digital adoption in Europe jumped from 81 percent to 95 percent as a result of the COVID-19 crisis—a rise that would have taken two to three years in most industries at pre-pandemic growth rates. What does this mean? In essence, people turning to digital for their work, internet banking, shopping etc.
Noticeable, too, was the extent to which the pandemic had shrunk the yawning gaps that existed between European countries in terms of online activity. The difference between the countries with the highest and lowest digital adoption rates fell from 32 percentage points to just ten.
The European Union has recognised that encouraging this technological development beyond the pandemic will be crucial in climbing back out of the current economic trough. In July 2020, European leaders struck a historic deal for €750bn to restart our continent’s economy, 20% of which must be invested in digital.
To inspire countries to consider what they can do with these funds to move things forward, Digital Europe has just published its “How to Spend it: A Digital Investment Plan for Europe”. Digital Europe is the leading trade association representing digitally transforming industries in Europe. In the plan they are encouraging governments and businesses to:
- Make sure we have the data and infrastructure to prevent, track and treat COVID-19 or other diseases in the future.
- Develop our industry into one that is competitive, resilient, green, innovative and secure.
- Accelerate the digital transformation of our public services.
- Decrease our energy consumption.
- Promote inclusion and create good, well-paying jobs in sectors that have a viable future.
- Make sure that everyone has the skills to get a good job and participate in an increasingly. digitised society, regardless of their background.
- Connect rural areas into a digital inclusive society.
- Protect critical digital infrastructure from cyberthreats.
Panasonic has contributed to this plan with three of the 40 digital case studies designed to inspire and show just what can be achieved. They include examples of Panasonic technology being used in smart cities and electronic signing solutions from Panasonic’s Zetes organisation, which in conjunction with our TOUGHBOOK mobile computing devices, can help businesses with the digitalisation of their retail and logistics businesses.
Of course, accessing the digital services that will get businesses and the economy back on the path to growth will require more mobile computing devices in every area of our lives. It’s a fascinating initiative and the plan is well worth a read.
Header imgage from: DesignRage/shutterstock.com
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