The Nanotechnology Laboratory and the nZEB Smart House function as ‘‘one stop stores’’ with the aim of digital business transformation.
Five centers that support businesses with their digital transformation, Digital Innovation Hub, are already operating in Greece as ‘‘one stop stores’’, where companies, mainly small and medium enterprises, start ups and small cap businesses are being helped to improve their business models, offered services, production lines and products through Digital Technology.
This is a pan-European goal set in 2016 in the framework of the European Union Strategy for a Single Digital Market, so that any business in Europe in any sector, regardless of its location and size, can take advantage of the benefits that stem from the digital innovations.
There are five DIHs in Greece, two of which are in Thessaloniki. Something quite normal and expected for the Greek standards, since the Alexander Innovation Zone SA is active in the city, which aims at promoting innovation as a business practice and a comparative advantage in the wider region.
Analytically these are:
The LTFN Nanotechnology Laboratory, with its facilities at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Center for Organic and Printed Electrical Engineering (COPE-H) in the area of Thermi in Thessaloniki.
The ‘‘Athena’’ Research Center in Athens
The nZEB Smart House – Smart Energy House, in Thessaloniki.
The Center for Digital Innovation in Blue Growth
According to the Nanotechnology Laboratory announcement, coordinated by the Research Institutions of Excellence, DIHs offer: 1) access to digital technologies, tools and know-how, 2) infrastructures for testing new technologies, 3) educational activities for the development of digital skills, 4) consulting services for finding funding schemes, 5) market analyses, 6) networking opportunities. Practices that offer practical business solutions.
”In the European Union the fully functioning DIHs are 174, and another 500 are in a preparatory phase. The outcome of the New Digital Age and at the same time one of the ten European Union’s political priorities for the next decade is the achievement of the Digital Single Market (DSM). The EU objective is the integrated Single Digital Market that will bring
€ 415 billion per year to its economy, creating new jobs, new businesses and enabling existing businesses to be aimed at a market of 500 million people, developing public services and establishing an open government system”, explains the person responsible for issues of extroversion and exploitation of innovation at the LTFN Nanotechnology Laboratory of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the HOPE-A Hellenic Organic and Printed Electronics Association, Phoebe Logothetidis.
European Platform of National Initiatives, but not for us…
60% of large enterprises and 90% of small businesses lag behind the integration of digital innovations with wide variations being recorded between different sectors of the industry. Great emphasis is put on the preparation of the Europeans for the New Digital Age so as to take advantage of the benefits of Digital Transformation. The education system will be adapted and the workforce will be trained in similar skills. The Digital Innovation Hubs will play a key role in assessing the skills needs of the workforce of businesses and providing appropriate educational services.
”Appropriate policies and the appropriate channeling of funds are needed to effectively adapt to the new era. The European Platform of National Initiatives launched in March 2017 with the commitment of the member states and the attraction of investments and various cooperative actions. There are already 15 national initiatives, in which however Greece is not included, and this shows that we have not acted promptly.
A source of funding for the DEI initiative and, more specifically, the DIHs project would be the proper capitalisation of funds from the ”European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). However, this is determined by the National and Regional Strategies for Digital Development and Research and Technology Strategies for Smart Specialization (RIS3), which need to emphasize or even integrate such initiatives into their plans”, as noted in the relevant announcement.