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Vodafone Data Principles 

24 Nov 2019Public Policy

By Lisa Felton and Robert MacDougal

At Monday’s High-Level Conference on Data Economy the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU will announce a set of common European principles for the data economy, which it hopes will boost the growth of the data economy and the utilisation of artificial intelligence as part of developing the European single market.

Vodafone supports the objective of the Finnish Presidency data principles to encourage the development of a sustainable, competitive and human-driven data economy. In a report commissioned by Vodafone, Deloitte estimated €1.4 trillion of value could be unlocked with a more progressive approach to sharing of machine-generated non-personal data. Policies designed to enable the voluntary transfer of non-personal machine-generated data between devices and different actors would have a dramatically positive impact on the European economy and society.

At Vodafone, we recognise that we have a fundamental role to play in a digital society.  We are Europe’s largest mobile and broadband provider and we are a market leader in IoT services with 94 million global connections. Vodafone has invested €59.5bn in the last 5 years and has launched 5G in 7 European markets. Vodafone has pioneered innovative Open Ran networks to create a new wave of 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G technology vendors - in addition to the existing market leaders - improving supply chain resilience and connecting more of the world's most rural communities to the internet using standardised, lower cost network equipment. Today we can announce our reaction to the Finnish data principles which set out our recommendations on how to achieve this vision.

Stimulating the data economy through voluntary data sharing

Europe urgently needs to leverage its strengths in manufacturing, transport, health, energy and finance more effectively in order to thrive in the next wave of digital transformation. It is imperative that the value of data can be realised to contribute to our societies, for example, via smart cities, optimised healthcare, greater efficiency of business and a greener environment. In order to do this, Europe needs to lead the next wave of the digital revolution, in AI, 5G and IoT, all powered by big data. Europe cannot afford to be left behind.

Given the strong interdependency between connecting devices and the data economy, these new opportunities could be unlocked by developing additional targeted IoT policy measures that can facilitate and incentivise voluntary non-personal data sharing This is why Vodafone, in conjunction with a number of industry sectors, has called for the introduction of a new IoT framework for Europe that has an FRND data sharing principle at its core. Such a policy measure can facilitate and incentivise a horizontal approach to voluntary non-personal data sharing, leveraging sector specific best practices such as the extended vehicle and neutral server concepts that are being developed in the automotive sector or the data sharing Code of Conduct that has been pioneered in the agricultural sector.

At the heart of these principles is the conviction that operators investing in tools and technology to collect and analyse data should be able to develop a commercial model for the reuse and aggregation of this data. Sharing and reuse of data should be incentivised through the abovementioned policy initiatives and technical measures that facilitate the porting of data from one provider to another (data interoperability) such as APIs and open data access models.

Vodafone is a critical European infrastructure and service provider, enabling digital businesses to thrive securely and putting Europe at the centre of innovation. We look forward to working with the Finnish Presidency and the incoming European Commission to build on these data principles and to connect Europe for a better future.

View our position paper on data principles submitted to the Finnish Presidency
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