Friday, November 6

Brussels Trip

I recently went on a trip to Brussels thanks to Karen Stone from Design Event and Stuart Jackson and his team in the North East England Brussels office.

Here are my thoughts on the experience and what I learnt:

Privacy is an important issue at the moment around the EU, and one that as a company we’ll have to keep a careful eye on to see how the current pressures and movements will play out. The two main privacy concerns are: what exactly does “private data” entail (scope) and what can you actually do with it once you have it. Another area is what happens when private data is compromised, who can be blamed, what actions need to be taken and is any compensation due as there doesn’t seem to be any current laws that address this issue.

“Open” software is a key point currently, especially after the Microsoft case. It’s now becoming a requirement during the public procurement process for development, so something that as a company we need to ensure we’re making the most of.

A main gripe was the access to market and common law system that is present in the large economies like the US and China, who were almost viewed enviously. There is a lot of talk about how to open up the European market and enable the selling of services across European borders with a single law system. One such system is the “Digital Single Market” although there seemed to be mixed feelings about the significance of this push. For our purposes we are currently using larger distributors such as Nokia and Apple for our digital content, however if it becomes easier to handle these types of distribution ourselves or it opens up the market for competitive services then it sounds like a good thing to me. Although law is only one part of the “issue” of an open European market that has language and cultural boundaries however open distribution becomes, so I’m not sure how necessary this drive will ultimately be.

A final area of interest was the vast amounts of funding available through the EU pots, that if correctly identified and the lengthy application processes negotiated could benefit companies greatly, although may not be appropriate for us just at this stage.

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