The Smart Anything Everywhere (SAE) initiative
In April 2016 the European Commission presented the Digitising European Industry Strategy (DEI). The overall objective of this initiative is to ensure that any industry in Europe – big or small, wherever situated and in whichever sector – can fully benefit from digital innovations to upgrade its products, improve its processes and adapt its business models to the digital age. This requires not only a dynamic digital sector in Europe but also the full integration of digital innovations across all sectors of the economy. The DEI strategy is based on an ambitious collective effort involving public and private stakeholders across Europe at regional, national and EU level. It consists of four areas of work: Digital Innovation Hubs, Partnerships & Platforms, Skills & Jobs, Regulatory Framework. This work is monitored and stirred by the European Platform of national initiatives on digitising industry.
Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) are one of the key elements of the DEI strategy. They are support facilities that help companies – notably SMEs, start-ups and mid-caps – to become more competitive through the adoption of latest digital technologies. The DIHs act as a one-stop-shop, providing their customers with:
- access to digital technologies and competences,
- infrastructure to test digital innovations,
- training to develop digital skills,
- financing advice,
- market intelligence and
- networking opportunities.
Every company in Europe should have a DIH at a working distance, and the aim is to have at least one in every region in Europe. Member States and regions are investing to establish the DIHs infrastructure with different sources of funding at national and regional level, but also through the management of European funds such as EFSI (European Fund for Strategic Investments). The European Commission, from its side, invests in EU-wide collaboration across the network of DIHs and networking among the DIHs. This started in 2013 with the ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS) initiative followed by the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative (SAE) in 2015.