EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Information and communication technologies sector - what future?

Sector Futures are specialised, targeted reports using findings from existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable data sources. December 2003 features the third and last article in the series on the future of information and communication technologies (ICT). It focuses on policy issues for the future of the sector.

The ICT sector is a broad-ranging industry cluster that encompasses a diverse group of manufacturing and service businesses. Over the past decade, the products and services of the ICT sector have dramatically affected almost every aspect of the way we live and work. Moreover, information and communication technologies are ‘enabling technologies’, which means they underpin the competitiveness and efficient operation of all sectors of the economy. So, developments in ICT have an influence on everything from farming to fashion as well as driving discoveries in biotechnology and nanotechnology.

The ICT market in western Europe includes: end-user communication equipment; datacom and network equipment; computer hardware; office equipment; software products; IT services; and telecoms carrier services.

It is now estimated by the European Information Technology Observatory to be worth EUR 662 billion, or 7.5% of GDP.

From defining the trends and drivers…

The first feature, The future of IT - now it's getting personal (pdf 188 kb), provides a snapshot of the ICT sector, the trends and drivers that will map its future and its pervasive influence across other sectors and the lives and work of European citizens.

… to shaping the future of ICT

The second article in this series, Shaping the future of ICT (pdf 188 kb), explores in greater depth the scenarios and other relevant future work likely to shape development in ICT. This feature provides a more interpretive and analytical account of how these developments might affect work organisation and patterns, employment and skills and training, particularly with regard to the European Union and its Member States.

Policy implications

The third and last article in the ICT series, Policies, issues and the future of ICT (pdf 125 kb), focuses on policy issues for the future of the ICT sector. Its objective is not to propose policy per se, but rather to stimulate dialogue and debate about policy alternatives regarding ICT and their future impact.

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