Praxis collected the data about digitising industry in Estonia within the research ‘Study on monitoring progress in national initiatives on digitizing industry – SMART 2018/0002‘ commissioned by European Commission. The objective of the research study was to build a well-structured collection, monitoring and analysis instrument covering the whole European Union (EU). This instrument provides consistent yearly digitalisation reports and analyses of measures in the broader framework of emerging digital growth strategies that are linked to national innovation and industrial policies over 3 years. It follows the main Digitising European Industry action lines: boosting innovation capacity; regulatory framework; skill development; and national governance structure.
The analysis covers transversal elements, which are common to the several Member States and are significant from the point of view of European added value. International comparisons suggest that the EU is generally lagging behind the most advanced countries in North America and Asia when it comes to digitising industry. However, Europe’s overall performance masks significant differences between member states, with some countries (according to the 2019 data the top four performing EU countries are Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark) being amongst the leading economies worldwide in digital transformation.
It was found that the need to support the digitisation of industry is a challenge that is being actively addressed throughout the EU. In 28 EU countries, around 300 national initiatives have been identified which address the digitisation of industry. However, while all member states have adopted initiatives to support the digitisation of industry, there are differences in the intensity of support and take-up. This suggests that some member states could benefit from increased funding while others could do more to target measures and raise awareness so as to maximise their impact on the diffusion of technology across industry and society.
In the case of Estonia, it was found that there is a range of policy measures aimed to boost the innovation capacity of Estonian companies. As most of the initiatives were launched in the period 2016–2018, it is still early to assess the outputs and outcomes of these initiatives. Estonia’s national initiatives and other relevant projects cover well the different pillars of the Digitising European Industry initiative, except for pillar 4 (regulation), where only one specific initiative (expert group on fully autonomous information systems) pertains to one of the key technologies connected to the digitalisation of the industry.