A smart green digital economy
Diana Voicu, MBA
Romanian Academy Collaborator
I hope I will keep your attention awaked stressing the headlines of the new world concerns –
social inequalities provoked by technological revolution and some buzz-words – data science, 3D
printing, drones, driverless car, in home automation, that may lay the foundations for next
national policies, programmes and projects.
None of the new tailored strategies may ignore the challenge and also the threats of
technological revolution. Knowledge economy project, which I proudly coordinated
demonstrated, 3 years ago, the irreversible progress based on ICT in under-privileged villages.
Now I trust in the Romania’s readiness for future data driven society.
Davos has been putting the new industrial revolution back where it belongs: on the global
The Fourth Industrial Revolution bring much optimism about the valuecreation from the internet
of things, robots and the ”internet of value” likely to drive big improvements in productivity.
Whatever change occurs - autonomous vehicles, sensors, biotechnology, robotics, artificial
intelligence- there are “winners and losers” and this have massive implications for society, jobs,
inequality, privacy and corporate control. The world’s many moving parts are connected into a
giant physical and biological ecosystem, and we all have the mission to try and ensure the
maximum number of people prosper in the future.
If only some of the change happens it’s clear we are going to need a new form of governmental
and business leadership for the future.
Workforce strategy will include increased mobility and moving jobs to where talented people are
- as water and steam were in the first industrial revolution. In the future, talent, more than
capital, will represent the critical factor of production. The job market increasingly will be
segregated into “low-skill/low-pay” and “high-skill/high-pay” segments. This could lead to a
societal problem of increased unemployment and income inequality. In past technological
revolutions (agricultural and industrial) the notion of work changed, but the changes
happened over generations, not years, and the changes always led to new jobs. We may be
in a period of change that is much more rapid and disruptive. We will need some social
interventions and safety cushions to restore stability.
Any kind of job is going to have a digital component but ‘jobs gains in the next five years will not
be enough to offset expected losses’ said Saadia Zahidi and Till Leopold from World Economic
Forum. Two-thirds of the jobs lost will be in white-collar office functions, such as
administration: roles that will be taken over by machines. Areas of STEM - science, technology,
engineering and maths - will see the majority of competition for talent in high-growth domains
such as computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering.”
More than 30 percent of the globalpopulation now uses socialmedia platforms to connect, learn,
and share information. Customers are increasingly at the epicenter of the economy, which is all
about improving how customers are served. In this new world, centered to customer/citizen, the
ability of government systems and public authorities to embrace a world of disruptive change
has the key in reshaping their structures to ensure transparency and efficiency.
Moreover local communities have to redefine their role in facilitating IoT adoption. “You can put
3D printers in the villages, you can link them up to customers, you can cut out the
intermediaries they needed to get to city markets,” explained Anand Mahindra, Chairman and
Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, talking about the effect of technology in India.
“Gandhi and Schumacher talked about “small is beautiful”, villages that are self-sufficient. The
Fourth Industrial Revolution was the missing link - if they had that technology they could have
made that vision come alive”
Farmers nowadays possess an amazing variety of mechanical skills and in the years to come,
those skill may expand in the field of 3D printing. As prices fall and efficiency rises, 3D printers
might become standard tools on the farm. The technology will reach a point where machinery
manufacturers allow farmers to purchase design files online and print products themselves.
We are seeing some major progress in driverless technologies for trucks and cars. These will lead
to fully automated logistics based on ITS intelligent transport systems, therefore saving costs
and cutting GHG (greenhouse gases – gases that trap heat in the atmosphere) emissions. Most
of these technologies depend on satellite-enabled localization and navigation systems where
Europe is a global leader in deploying the most precise global positioning system ever, as well
as producing one of the largest big data systems, coming from our space: the Copernicus
According to the 2014 State of the Internet of Things Study “Accenture study”, IN THE NEXT 5
YEARS, 69 percent of consumers are planning to buy an IOT device, such as a smart thermostat
or in-home security camera, and 50 percent weareables- smart watches and fitness devices.
Government of UK invested £42m in The Alan Turing Institute to secure the UK's future in big
data field and ensure that is the best place in Europe to innovate, patent new ideas and start a
business. They already proudly presented partnerships with multinational tech company .
In fact, beside the potential of national databases collection, data science increasingly plays a
role for SMEs and startups and the solution stays in developing partnerships, in order to derive
value from their data, be they in logistics,supplychainmanagement, customer profile or ensuring
data quality, value and security.
Drones – unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
Drones are quickly moving to the farmer's field helping growers oversee crops and farmlands
and saving them big money in the process. While much of the attention regarding drones has
focused recently on Amazon and UPS seeking to use them to deliver packages, the predictions
are that 80% of the commercial market for drones will be for agricultural uses, and more than
100,000 jobs will be created IN USA. In the next 10 years almost every farm will be using it. That's
because agriculture operations span large distances and are free of privacy and safety concerns
comparing with heavily populated areas.
Drones — which range in cost from 1,500 EUR for a plane - are equipped with infrared cameras,
sensors and other technology controlled by a pilot on the ground and it can identify insect
problems, watering issues, assessing crop yields or tracking cattle — help farmers recover the
investment, often within a year. Farmers also can use drones to tailor their use of pesticides,
fertilizer — a process known as precision agriculture — saving the grower money from
unnecessarily overusing resources while at the same time reducing the amount of runoff that
could flow into nearby rivers and streams.
But people shouldn’t worry too much about drones stealing their jobs. The technology will also
lead to new jobs such as robot maintenance will be a booming business in the future.
Drones for broadband connectivity
Facebook and Google have strategic interest in using drones to provide worldwide Internet
towards 5 billions of under-priviledged people. Their drones are covered in solar panels, flies
above the clouds, so it is exposed to sunlight constantly during daylight hours. The systems are
able to provide signal coverage over 17,800 square kilometers. Therefore it is currently testing a
technology used to ‘underpin next generation 5G wireless internet access’ that can theoretically
transmit gigabits of data every second, up to 40 times more than today’s 4G LTE systems.
The drones has to be cost-effective and reliable. Many other issues associated with access to
radio spectrum, national telecoms regulations and more will also need to be addressed.
All the above mentioned cyber-physical elements, technologies and skills create a new economic
paradigm - a smart green digital economy based on sustainability and high profitability –
benefiting society as a whole. This imply a collective effort of governments and parliaments but
also of the citizens, entrepreneurs, start-ups, communities and regions, researchers, companies
Basically to get things done we must start today !