2020 is ready to be a defining yr for European tech. Whereas startups and scaleups have been supported through the years by means of a variety of EU-based applications, newly elected European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen has made achieving technological sovereignty a rallying cry for extra globally aggressive European tech manufacturers. 

This shift is heating up Europe’s give attention to the promise its scorching younger scaleups can carry. However what’s going to outline the ‘Made in Europe’ tech model, and the way can it compete in opposition to the Facebooks and Googles of the world?

To search out out, I attended this yr’s EIT Digital Challenge to talk with the movers and shakers shaping this new period of European tech.

Prediction 1: The steadiness between innovation and regulation would be the EU’s profitable issue

I first sat down with EIT’s Chief Innovation Officer, Chahab Nastar, to debate the broader context dealing with the European tech scene. As Nastar defined, the Fee’s new name for technological sovereignty isn’t nearly rising income:

It has to do with Europe with the ability to counter the American and Chinese language platforms which have these very virtuous community results that result in a winner-takes-all panorama. You need to purchase one thing? There’s Amazon. You need to chat with your pals? There’s Fb. You need to search for a CV? There’s LinkedIn. 

Up to now, Europe has been slightly bit passive with respect to different continents’ platforms coming in and taking up. So what ought to Europe do? And the way will Europe defend its technological sovereignty?

On the identical time, main tech giants like Fb have confronted public backlash lately for failing to guard their customers’ knowledge, with many vowing to delete their profiles — in the meantime persevering with to make use of Fb-owned Instagram and Whatsapp. And therein lies the issue. 

The EU has responded to those scandals by introducing stricter privateness laws to guard customers’ knowledge. However has this come on the expense of innovation? Nastar informed TNW:

What makes Europe very particular is that it’s important to handle the steadiness between innovation and regulation. Innovation is daring. It’s about experimentation. It’s about going wild, making errors, being on the sting… and regulation is all about defending the residents, defending their pursuits, enabling them to look over their knowledge, to offer their consent, and decide out, and so forth.

So the European DNA wants to seek out the correct steadiness between defending residents whereas nonetheless letting innovators flourish and experiment. And generally we have to introduce laws that truly favor experimentation.

In an period when many tech giants and establishments have misplaced public belief, this steadiness could be the important thing differentiator the ‘Made in Europe‘ tech model wants.

However how will Europe’s tech id translate into the totally different sensible areas of tech? To search out out I spoke with EIT Digital finalists from the areas of digital finance, tech, cities, business, and wellbeing to get their perspective.

Prediction 2: Higher cooperation between banks and Fintech

Belief in monetary companies and establishments took a nosedive globally in the course of the 2008 monetary disaster. 11 years later, they nonetheless haven’t absolutely gained it again, especially within Europe.

Fee Providers Directive 2, higher often known as PSD2, is one current EU regulation aimed toward making customers’ banking expertise extra clear, accessible, and safe.

PSD2 does this by paving the way in which for third events to supply companies that add worth on prime of a financial institution’s current infrastructure and knowledge by means of open APIs. One other is by enhancing shopper safety by making certain customers will not be accountable for losses resulting from, “theft or misappropriation of the cost instrument (e.g. knowledge breaches, hacking assaults).”

If this sounds complicated, that’s as a result of is. I spoke with two of EIT’s finalists in Digital Finance to seek out some examples of how this works in apply.

Offering companies that meet customers digital wants

At the moment we’ve got subscriptions for completely all the things, whether or not it’s your web, electrical energy, Netflix, Spotify, or that dear gymnasium membership you stated you’d use however by no means really do. Usually we’ve got so many, we both neglect we’re nonetheless paying for them, or proceed to pay reasonably than undergo the effort of canceling them.

Minna Technologies is a subscription administration software program that integrates with retail banking companies. It improves the consumer expertise by creating a listing of recurring prices that come up in your checking account and canceling any you want to terminate with a easy click on. You’ll by no means need to provide you with an elaborate story about shifting to a distant island the place they don’t have BasicFit once more.

Minna CEO Joakim Sjöblom was fairly assured PSD2 won’t solely enhance customers’ baking expertise, however it’ll additionally present new alternatives for banks to diversify their companies, earn buyer belief, and acquire larger approval rankings: 

I might say that the previous three, 4 years with the PSD2 initiative has been about maturing into infrastructure. And I believe now’s the primary time that we’ll see precise merchandise delivered on that knowledge. So we’re shifting from European laws to buyer worth and I’m actually wanting ahead to that.

Outsmarting fraudsters

One other main challenge that’s been plaguing the monetary business is cybersecurity. Whereas banks have more and more subtle protections in place, the weakest level of entry is usually customers themselves.

Buguroo is popping anti-fraud safety on its head. As a substitute of specializing in reactionary measures, they’re analyzing anomalies in consumer conduct. Utilizing behavioral biometrics, Buguroo’s platform can create user-profiles and detect when another person could also be utilizing your account.

“The way in which during which you utilize your system is particular,” Buguroo CEO Pablo de la Riva defined. “So if any individual makes use of your system or makes use of every other system differently than the way in which you utilize it, we are going to uncover that. So if we detect any anomalies, we will predict that there’s an issue within the session earlier than the cash leaves your account.”

Prediction 3: Cybersecurity will not be a ‘good to have’

Hackers aren’t simply going after chilly laborious money; private knowledge has change into much more invaluable, and more durable to defend. On a regular basis platforms like DropBox, Whatsapp, and even establishments just like the NHS, have been hit by cyberattacks, leaving our private knowledge weak.

As Gerard Cervello, Common Supervisor and COO of cybersecurity resolution and EIT finalist Bluelivdefined: “Cash is one asset, however there are a lot of belongings an organization wants to guard. Information for a lot of corporations is their lifeblood. In the event that they lose their knowledge they lose their edge and their operational capability. Different corporations rely extra on IPs. So they should shield their IP.”

Others depend on status,” Cervello continues. “Your status has a huge impact in your valuation out there and the notion of your prospects. So it goes a lot past cash.”

The EU has responded by introducing new blanket laws on cybersecurity, specializing in the ‘operators of important companies.’ Directive (EU) 2016/1148, which got here into impact in November 2018, has despatched corporations scrambling to introduce new protecting measures. 

This has actually paved the way in which for corporations providing each extra advanced and user-friendly options that corporations massive and small can introduce. 

I spoke with Ioannis Bizimis, CFO of cybersecurity platform QuoScient, one of many winners of EIT Digital, about this ongoing shift. He defined:

So clearly there’s an enormous regulatory change in sure industries, like banking, which has historically been closely regulated, however an increasing number of industries that weren’t early adopters of cyber safety options are having to react now. After which there’s one other pattern which we see that’s going from a reactive to a extra proactive, risk centric, threat centric strategy.

Prediction 4: For digital cities, good purpose-driven options will dominate over passing tendencies

Essentially the most meme-worthy Halloween costume of 2019 was the ‘busted e-scooter,’ and when you reside in any main metropolis, from London to Madrid, you definitely know why. Zipping by means of sidewalks throughout rush hour allow us to lastly reenact a barely much less cool model of Marty McFly’s skateboard scene in Again to the Future. However the novelty quickly wore off once we started having to navigate by means of a minefield of randomly discarded e-scooters on Saturday mornings.

When it comes to digital cities, once more, the European focus might be on tech innovation, not merely for the aim of innovation itself, however options that can really improve folks’s lives for the higher.

No startup represented this higher than EIT’s Digital Cities winner Cerbair. Whereas the rising use of drones has represented new alternatives for all the things from medical provide supply to pizza supply, we haven’t thought of the influence this largely unregulated expertise may have on residents if misused.

Up to now anti-drone safety options have been made for army use solely, however, in a world the place anybody can purchase a drone on-line, civilians are left largely unprotected from potential threats. Cerbair CEO Lucas Le Bell defined:

These options have, traditionally talking, been the protect of the army, however what’s at stake right here is the protection of our societies… we’re speaking about airports, industrial websites, oil and fuel, nuclear services, automobile manufacturing, corporates, occasions, live shows…

All of those folks, they’ll by no means be capable of afford, not to mention have the authorized proper to purchase such (anti-drone safety) army options. So how can we democratize such advanced options to offer the folks in our societies the extent of efficiency they deserve to make sure their security? The business is converging in direction of an integration course of the place the totally different applied sciences on the market need to work collectively to synergize their strengths.

Prediction 5: Making advanced applied sciences accessible and user-friendly

Complicated applied sciences will even assist bolster the expansion of European companies by offering higher insights and extra user-friendly instruments to innovate processes. This yr’s Digital Business winners are nice examples of this.

In our ratings-driven world, buyer suggestions is gold. However few have the abilities wanted to extract this invaluable knowledge. Wonderflow is a instrument that empowers anybody in your group to seize, analyze, and extract significant insights from buyer suggestions. CEO Riccardo Osti defined: “Our mission is to make advanced applied sciences straightforward and accessible for everybody within the firm. Buyer suggestions is barely useful if it reaches the desk of the individuals who can do one thing with the educational, not if it simply reaches the desk of some technical folks.”

In the meantime, Oculavis is utilizing good glasses and augmented actuality to supply higher and quicker buyer help options to machine producers. Managing Director Markus Grosse Bockmann informed TNW: “With this expertise, we will save journey prices to service technicians and equipment downtimes by with the ability to resolve issues on the client aspect quicker.”

A straightforward-to-use resolution is very necessary on this business, Bockmann says: “I see that our shopper base, they’re very conventional corporations and they’re open to new applied sciences, however it’s typically about altering habits and processes which all the time takes time. So it’s coming and it’s a billion-euro market, not solely in our customer support phase but in addition in manufacturing and manufacturing.”

Prediction 6: Higher entry and inclusion in well being tech options

In a market that always ignores the wants of the minority in favor of the bulk, Europe’s digital wellness scaleups are harnessing the ability of rising applied sciences to supply healthcare options that profit the individuals who want them most.

Utilizing digitalization and 3D printing to seek out the correct match

What when you wanted a brand new pair of footwear however they solely got here in small, medium, or massive? Or what when you may get any type or fit your needs wished, however it will value hundreds of euros and can take a number of fittings?

Due to digitalization and 3D printing, Mecuris is creating customized prosthetics and orthotics, permitting sufferers of any age to get simply the correct match. In line with CEO Manuel Optiz: “We began within the area of interest of a distinct segment. It’s like two billion yearly paid by well being insurers in Germany for all braces and prosthetic units or synthetic limbs. In comparison with different healthcare areas it’s comparatively small.”

With their software program enabling them to scale down fashions of a prosthetic foot to any dimension, his group all of the sudden had dad and mom asking: 

“’Are you able to present me with actually small options for kids perhaps one yr or 18 months previous? When my baby begins to stroll they want a correct foot however it’s very costly and never lined by my insurance coverage.’ One month later we developed the primary two prototypes and oldsters refused to offer them again. That was the perfect proof for us to see we’re actually onto one thing.”

Optiz continues: “With youngsters, it could take six to 9 months till they want a brand new foot. We will present them with one rapidly that matches completely in the correct coloration, with the correct animal, or sample. And this actually boosts affected person compliance. As well as, it’s additionally a lot better for his or her improvement as a result of they all the time have the correct foot in the correct dimension.”

Utilizing voice expertise to make sure everyone seems to be heard

15 years in the past, Voiceitt CEO Danny Weissberg’s grandmother suffered a stroke which impacted her motor expertise and left her unable to speak fundamental wants. After spending time within the rehabilitation hospital, he seen that the nurse who cared for her each day may perceive her: “I discovered that when you speak with an individual that has a speech incapacity every single day, you’ll be able to study to grasp their distinctive means of talking. That triggered the thought.” 

Voiceitt’s cellular utility makes use of speech recognition expertise to allow customers with nonstandard speech (whether or not it’s as a consequence of listening to loss, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s Illness, Down syndrome, and so forth.,) to speak with others clearly in real-time.

The corporate can be now integrating its expertise into good residence units. As Weissberg defined: “By integrating our expertise into good properties and audio system, we may give folks with speech and motor disabilities the flexibility to have rather more independence of their lives.”

Prevention by means of gamification

For Tryggvi Thorgeirsson a doctor and CEO of Sidekick Health, it’s about discovering a preventative, reasonably than a reactionary, healthcare resolution: “80% of our well being prices go to power lifestyle-related circumstances. However what we principally do is put out fires, versus stopping them and I felt there was a very massive want for high-quality instruments to alter that.”

Sidekick Well being is a digital therapeutics platform that makes use of gamification to assist sufferers handle power illnesses each day.

“If you happen to’re going to assist somebody change their habits, which is basically tough, it’s important to have dozens of hours of medical interplay over many months. And sure, we will do it the old-fashioned means however it’s so costly, we will’t do it when the issue is at this scale. For instance, we’ve got 450 million folks globally with sort two diabetes. So we’ve got to have scalable instruments for this and good units that you just carry with you.”

With these scaleups main the way in which, Europe’s quest for technological sovereignty has a superb probability of changing into a actuality. For now, let’s see what 2020 has in retailer. 

This submit is delivered to you by EIT Digital Challenge.

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