On June 18, the Fabasoft TechSalon held in Vienna took the alarming ranking of Austria in the latest DESI-Index („Digital Economy and Society Index“) as the reason to look more closely at Austria as an economic and IT location. Experts from economics, politics and administration all agreed: “Advancing digitisation is the only way to enhance the efficiency of Austria as an IT location.“
Together with the Report Verlag, Fabasoft invited to the panel discussion “How efficient is Austria really as an IT location?”. Martin Szelgrad, editor-in-chief at Report Verlag, moderated the event and chaired an interesting, exciting and entertaining panel discussion.
“The European Single Market can only come to its full glory if the digital economy is freed from trade restrictions and if European ethics can shape the market with regard to data protection and data security.”
IWith regard to Austria as a business location, Helmut Fallmann, member of the Managing Board of Fabasoft AG, emphasized the European level. The realisation of a common digital Single Market within the European Union is an important step in unleashing the enormous economic potential of a market counting more than 507 million consumers. “It can only come to its full glory if the digital economy is freed from trade restrictions and if European ethics can shape the market with regard to data protection and data security. Subsequently, the business location Austria can only benefit from this development. Advancing digitisation is the only way to enhance the efficiency of Austria as an IT location”, explained Fallmann.
Ledinger: "The long-term goal is a European digital identify for every European citizen.“
Kempel: “With regard to digitisation, European economy clearly needs to catch up.”
Willy Kempel, Director of the Department for Coordination, Internal Market and Economic relations to the EU Member States at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, sees a clear need for the European economy to catch up on digitisation. Establishing a common and fair market requires standardised terms and conditions for trade and commerce, a common law on copyright, standardised regulations of telecommunications frequency domains as well as measures against geo-blocking. Kempel pointed out that in the United States, economic growth in the digital industry was twice the size of growth in the European Union, which was in fact a striking difference between the two economic regions.
Roland Ledinger, Director of the Federal ICT Strategy, stated that a leaner administration and e-government services for the economy were the basis for a general strengthening of Austria’s business processes. “The basis for a secure use of digital processes lies in the identification via the electronic signature. Austria has already more than half a million users of mobile phone signatures”, Ledinger said about this successful trend. Businesses in the banking, real estate and transportation industries are starting to use mobile phone signatures. These synergies with economy are important as they drive digitisation forward. According to Ledinger, the long-term goal is a European digital identify for every European citizen. Helmut Fallmann is also convinced that Europeans need a digital European identity to quickly and simply carry out business processes.
Zabransky: „Grundlage für die sichere Nutzung von digitalen Prozessen ist die Identifikation über die elektronische Signatur.“
Leo: „Österreich ist noch immer ‚Innovation Follower‘. Wir brauchen deshalb u. a. fruchtbare Ökosysteme für Startups.“
Hannes Leo, CEO of innovation incubator cbased, sees a structural problem in the fact that Austria is still an ‘innovation follower’ and has not taken on a leading European role in IT and innovation - as has been announced for years. Leo urged: “We need prolific ecosystems for start-ups, more efficiency in science, and we have to prepare our educational system for these challenges.” The Austrian state needs to support this actively, and also “invest money to pursue concrete targets”, Leo demanded.
Sascha Zabransky, Group Director Service Network & IT Telekom Austria Group, engaged in a lively discussion with both the panel and the audience on the subject of infrastructure development. “We clearly recognize that broadband is essential to Austria as a business location”, Zabransky said. But given the fact that almost 40 percent of all private and business addresses in Austria are in sparsely populated areas of a certain geographic challenge, the nationwide development of the fixed-line and fibre-optic networks can only be achieved with the help of public funding. The so-called ‘broadband billion’ of the Austrian state, which is currently put out for tender in several steps, is therefore of great importance to the targeted supply of more than 1.6 million households with up to 30 Mbit.
After the panel discussion, both the audience as well as the panel participants engaged in lively networking.
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