Free data flows in focus for the entrepreneurial sector

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Global free trade, technical development and free data flows are entirely essential to export dependent Sweden. We are in the midst of a transformation to a thoroughly digitalised society where the possibilities for innovation are great and integrity needs equally great. Companies cannot conduct their business across national borders without moving data, as well – whether small or large, and in every industry. How can Sweden and Europe establish data-driven policy where all interests – personal, business, and societal needs – are preserved in the long term?

Mikael Eriksson Björling, Carolina Brånby, Björn Block

Mikael Eriksson Björling, Carolina Brånby, Björn Block

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise held a seminar in Brussels highlighting these issues to emphasize the needs of business. Panellists included Mikael Eriksson Björling from the Ericsson Networked Society Lab, and Björn Block from IKEA’s Smart Home Tech. Carolina Brånby, the Confederation's Digitalisation Policy Head hosted the seminar which was moderated by Fredrik Erixon from think tank ECIPE.

Mr. Erixon argued that capabilities to use data flows have shortened distances and fundamentally changed the way we organize our lives – in business, personally, and in our working lives. Essentially all further productivity gains in developed economies come from greater optimisation of data use. He also stated that critics of digitalisation and technical developments will likely remain, but we will also likely see more criticism from people who are basically positive to digital developments, but feel the pace of change is going too fast.

The business representatives believed that everything that can be connected will be connected, using both smart and interactive technology. The use and analysis of data benefits innovative solutions to problems by linking industries and products. We have probably only seen the beginning.

Telecoms giant Ericsson collaborates with mining conglomerate Boliden with self-driving loaders, to limit the number of workers who must take the risk of driving into the mines. By connecting their ships, logistics leader Maersk is able to optimize transports, saving $50 million in fuel costs annually, bringing gains to both the company and the environment, noted Mr. Eriksson Björling.

With digitalisation, companies need to look to their own prerequisites and vision. They must also stay on the leading edge, starting to use the opportunities presented by data flows.We don’t want to create a closed ecosystem of data, but rather, for us it is vital to talk with every stakeholder on the market, to see how we can integrate and collaborate. We connected products and services as enabling – letting us offer sleep, rather than beds; well-being, rather than lamps. We’d also like to see legislation that treats digitalisation and data as enablers,” emphasized Mr. Block.

The issue of free data flows is as vital for the entrepreneurial sector, as the issue of freedom of movement for goods and services. Confederation Digitalisation Policy Head, Carolina Brånby adds:

The challenge primarily involves localisation, who owns the machine data, secure personal data, international competitiveness, and global trade. The swift technical advances we see must be put to good use, and even address integration issues. From the investors’ perspective, the opportunity to identify demands for new products, and then bring these to the market must include these considerations. That’s why the EU and European companies strive for the best possible business climate with a future proof regulatory framework and technology neutral solutions. In the end this involves our competitiveness – an issue that demands high priority.

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