This session included perspectives from different industry players on the challenges and drivers of today’s Connected Age. The session was led by Mr. Lars Albinsson, Creative Director of Maestro Management in Sweden, who started by sharing his point of view on the dramatic changes in the mining industry in northern Europe caused by the evolution of technology. Mr. Albinsson stated that being more connected through application such as Skype, Facebook, and other social media had helped the mining industry keep attracting people by eliminating the feeling of isolation.

Later on he asked the other speakers on the panel to share their thoughts about the topic and the top three critical points that they think humanity should foster. He started with Mr. Gerald Santucci, Head of Unit Knowledge Sharing at DG CONNECT. Mr. Santucci’s view was focused better regulation. According to him, today, policy-making in Europe and worldwide should no longer ignore the need for regulation regarding the usage of internet. Governments must be ready to leverage the possibilities that the Internet offers by creating suitable legislative frameworks, and ensuring complete security for users.

Afterward Ms Gabrielle Gauthey, Executive Vice President, in charge of Global Government and Public Affairs for Alcatel-Lucent took the lead and spoke about the drivers of change. She stressed two main aspects: innovation and disruption. According to her, we are seeing an explosion of the usage of mobile devices (smartphones), an explosion of video usage, and an explosion of cloud usage. These three significantly elements increase the traffic of data. Ms Gauthey also opined that the global network is not done yet, and that we need it now more than before in order to support these developments. At the end, she raised questions about how the world is going to make this transition.

Ms. Claudia Selli, the EU Affair Director talked about the ways smartphone are replacing many things. She said that our phones were going to be far more than just phones, and that we had been getting more and more connected with our Phones. At the end she said our phones tended to be more like tools that we used for daily life and tasks than for anything else. According to her, public sector is changing, and will automatically bring new investment during the next 5 years at least.

Next Ms. Aarti Holla, the General Secretary of the ESOA (European Satellite Operators Association), brought us into the video world – one of the more attractive sectors for most people. She believes that in the near future videos will be available everywhere, anytime, on any device, and at an affordable price. Otherwise it is not going to conquer the market.

Mr. Christian Buchel, Deputy-CEO & Chief Digital Officer at ERDF (Électricité Réseau de France) gave us his impression about the future. For him the user is at the centre of the future. People need to be allowed to benefit new technologies pointing to real-life examples like Paris where more than 3000 points for people to charge their electronic vehicles have been launched. Mr. Buchel, like many others, underlined the fact that investment from the public and the private sectors is needed. He also highlighted another problem related to the aging population that is scared of being left behind us and forgotten. He concluded by saying that people need to use Social Media more and more in order to interact more with each other.

Then Ms. Margot Dor, Strategy Development at ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) talked about the internet of things, and the ongoing process of getting more and more devices and object of any kind connected. By 2020 we will see more than 30 billion devices connected. The important thing for Ms. Dor is to find effective ways to engage in a dialogue and to work with everybody, and strengthen the connections among all kinds of industries. She finished by saying that Governments needed to set standards and implement them through the private sector.

Mr. Gérad Pogorel, Professor of Economics and Management, concluded the discussion by underlining the problems with our connected age – the huge differences in the connectivity speed across the world. For example, in USA the connection is 75% faster than in EU, and we are even not comparing that with emerging countries where the gap is huge. For him this is a difficult challenge, and governments can tackle it by enabling a platform for active involvement of stakeholders, and collaborating with one another on a global level.