Vodafone has published the Digital for Europe report prepared by Deloitte, which identifies the benefits of digital transformation, with the lever of digitization of SMEs as one of the main axes. One of its conclusions is that if 10% of small European companies that are currently not digitized were to join digitization, an incremental value of approximately 148,000 million euros would be generated.
In fact, the digitization of SMEs will be a fundamental pillar to guarantee economic sustainability and resilience, especially in areas outside urban centers, generating new opportunities to close the digital divide in rural areas. In this way, rural companies will be better able to digitize, which will allow the improvement of productivity in key sectors for this type of area, such as agriculture, and rural communities will enjoy better access to digital public services.
The extension of technologies such as IoT to 50% of the largest farms in the EU could also reduce the use of pesticides in 12,000 tons and the use of fertilizers in more than 350,000 tons, according to the document quantifies.
Bet on 5G
The report looks at how these benefits can only be achieved through high-quality connectivity and the deployment of secure and reliable 5G networks. For example, in the healthcare sector, telemedicine can help save lives through more efficient use of resources: if its use were to increase by 5% in all European Union countries, it could be reduced by 3.7 % the cost of patient care, increasing the life expectancy of citizens by up to 1.7% and reducing mortality by 3.6%. In figures, telemedicine could reduce costs by almost € 50 billion for the whole of the EU, by having more personalized information and being able to offer quick answers.
“The foundation for many of these opportunities is 5G technology that is driving the digital industrial revolution.: so much so, that IHS Markit has calculated, based on existing 5G use cases, that the global deployment of this technology could mean an increase of up to 11 trillion euros in global cross-sector production by 2035 ”, he explains Daniel Jiménez, director of Vodafone Business.
Yet Europe continues to lag behind the United States and China in 5G adoption: By 2025, the GSMA expects only 34% of European mobile connections to use 5G networks, compared with 48% in North America and the United States. 47% in China. Digital for Europe insists that Europe needs a faster transition to 4G LTE and 5G networks, driven by policies that incentivize network investment, infrastructure sharing, and accelerated release of network spectrum. Precisely investing in OpenRAN technology would ensure secure and resilient networksessential for maintaining critical infrastructure and strengthening supply chains on the continent.
Public-private collaboration, key in economic recovery
The document also highlights the The need for the recovery and resilience plans of the Member States to be built under the premise of public-private collaboration, and points out that the dimensions that the digital market of the European Union can offer will be an incentive so that each euro of public and private investment contributes the maximum value. , ensuring a sustainable balance between the benefit for consumers and a good return on investments.
“Meeting the challenge of recovery requires an ambitious response at all levels and, above all, close collaboration between governments, businesses and citizens. Alliances are absolutely necessary to maximize the impact of investments and reforms and avoid that no citizen is left behind ”, adds Daniel Jiménez, director of Vodafone Business.