Ericsson, Nokia, Vodafone Group, IBM and Intel implored European Union (EU) authorities to take urgent action to elevate the region in the era of the industrial internet, citing a need to shape policies to capitalise on emerging technologies.   

In a joint statement released ahead of a meeting of digital ministers from the region in the Republic of Ireland, the quintet listed a series of changes deemed key to shaping the future of the EU’s competitiveness globally.

Among the calls was a need to pursue a “true digital single market” using relevant existing regulations rather than introducing new rules which could hamper network deployment.

Unsurprisingly, familiar demands around incentivising investment in mobile and fixed infrastructure made the list, with the group citing a need for “a fresh approach to merger control and spectrum allocation, involving longer licences and harmonised rules across member states”.

The players also highlighted a desire for consumer-facing and B2B technologies to be regulated differently, while generally they believe policies should be shaped to “encourage trusted companies to thrive in Europe through trade, recruitment and research”.

Looking to the likes of quantum technology and AI, the group cited a need to promote early-stage research in industrial applications, encourage resilient supply chains and prepare “critical infrastructure for migration to quantum-safe standards” as part of cybersecurity policy planning.

“Europe must seize the opportunity to become a global leader in the industrial internet, capitalising on the potential of emerging technologies like AI, quantum computing and 5G standalone connectivity,” the five highlighted.

“Member states and the EU must work with industry to drive the deployment of a world-class digital infrastructure, the adoption of productivity-boosting tools and ensure that the regulatory environment is fit for the future.”