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1.The Digital Agenda for Europe and the Digital Agenda for Italy
The Digital Agenda for Europe is one of the seven pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy. It aims at exploiting information and communication technologies to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth targets by 2020. It contains 13 specific goals relating to development of a single and dynamic digital market, investment in fast and super fast Internet, reduction of the digital divide, digital literacy and use of online solutions. Good results were achieved in the first year, especially in the Internet use (65% of the EU population), but progress was deceiving in some sectors, especially with regard to development of new superfast lines; progress was made to enhance existing copper and cable lines. Some goals have already been achieved in more advanced Countries (e.g. literacy and on-line purchasing) while other goals (e.g. eCommerce by small and medium size companies and ultra broadband) are still far and need more efforts by all Countries.
2.Smart Cities in the World, in Europe and in Italy: Status and Opportunities
The Smart City concept has been addressed throughout the world; companies and public bodies have developed visions and solutions but there is no shared concept about what makes a community smarter and more sustainable; best practices and successful projects have not been replicated on a larger scale. Large Smart City projects are built around large metropolises where a big share of the population lives, especially in Asia. Three quarters of projects at world level are on Smart Energy, Smart Transportation and Smart Government; the remaining portion is on Smart Building and Smart Water.
3.The B2C eCommerce in Italy
In 2012, B2C eCommerce sales from web sites operating in Italy grew by 19%, in line with trends recorded in the last two years, and exceeded 9,6 billion euros (Fig. 6). 3 merchants out of 4 grew. One third of the NetComm merchants sample improved significantly (growth rates higher than the market average): these are the most aggressive ones in terms of price and/or communication, such as couponing sites (Groupon, Groupalia, LetsBonus and PrezzoFelice), online clubs (Amazon BuyVIP, Privalia, Saldiprivati.com, vente-privee.com, Voyage Privé) and some dot-com companies (Amazon, eDreams, yoox.com). Merchants showing lower growth rates (45% of the sample) include mass retailers and many smaller dot-Coms. They are less aggressive, in a very fierce market, because mass retailers do not use online sales as their only sales channel and because dot.com companies have limited investment capability. Airlines (Alitalia) and railway companies (Trenitalia) increased their online sales thanks to the fact that online ticket purchasing is more convenient. Finally, 6% of merchants showed stable revenues and 16% of them recorded a drop compared to 2011.
4.The Global Digital Market and its Impact on Suppliers
GDM evolution and competition in the telecommunications market is having an impact on Carriers and OTT suppliers’ strategies. The two have often been in conflict for years. Carriers need to protect their investment and ROI for fixed and mobile network infrastructures, accounting for more than 3.5 billion euros in 2012 alone.
5.ICT and Global Digital Market Demand in the main Sectors
The traditional ICT market went down more than the GDM in 2012, 3.6% and 1.8% respectively.
6.Small and Medium-Size Companies and Investment Dynamics
Small and medium size companies still prevail in our Country. Even though mediumsize companies have gradually developed over the last few years, major differences can still be observed compared to most Community Countries. The average number of employees in manufacturing companies in Italy is 9.5, one of the lowest in Europe (37.3 in Germany, 13.3 in the UK, 13.3 in France and 10.9 in Spain).
7.The Global Digital Market in 2012 in Italian Regions
2012 estimates confirm that technological investments are mainly in Lombardy and Lazio. In these two regions there is a higher number of larger companies and government bodies as well as suppliers. And this makes it easier for businesses to invest in technological tools. These regions also have a high population density and a higher number of younger people (more prone to use technologies) due to the presence of major Universities.
8.The Global Digital Market and ICT: 2013 Forecast
The world economic situation is improving, even though very differently in the various geographic areas. According to IMF forecasts (January 2013), global growth in 2013 may be +3.5%, resulting from a +5.5% increase in emerging Countries and a lower increase in advanced economies (+1.4%). These trends are accompanied by a drop in investment, often due to difficulties in accessing loans. Therefore all companies are extremely cautious with their investments. The high level of uncertainty in the first few months of 2013 does not make it possible to foresee significant improvements.
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