Greece is an official member of the Open Government Partnership

At the annual session, which was conducted in Brazil on April 19, 2012, the Greek action plan for Open Government Partnership submitted by the Minister of Administrative Reform and eGovernment, Mr. Pantelis Tzortzakis was accepted. As a result, Greece became an official member of the international initiative, Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder international initiative launched at the UN that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

More information about the Greek text of the Plan of Action for Open Government Partnership that was submitted at the meeting of Brazil.

Cloud Computing will generate 14 Million Jobs By 2015

According to a recent article published
by the Forbes Magazine, Cloud computing will potentially
generate at least 14 million new jobs across the globe within the next three
years. Moreover, these new jobs may likely be in many areas outside of IT.
Those findings come from new research
conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC)
 and sponsored by Microsoft Corp.,
looking at the economic benefits of cloud computing in the years ahead. A
couple of months back, a Microsoft-underwritten study by the London School of
Economics projected substantial job growth in two industries: smartphones and

Europe is developing cross-border eHealth services

The European Health Insurance Card is being used in epSOS, a pilot project co-financed by the European Commission, which aims at developing cross-border eHealth services to improve the quality and safety of healthcare for citizens travelling to another European country.
The project consists in developing an eHealth framework and ICT infrastructure that enable secure access to patient health information among different European healthcare systems. This includes making patients’ medical records (Patient summary) available electronically and using cross-border electronic prescriptions (ePrescription). The European Health Insurance Card is being tested in the project as one of the tools for identifying patients. It allows holders to provide health professionals with the identification data they need to access the patient’s electronic medical record or prescriptions when seeking healthcare in participating epSOS pilot countries – whether as tourists, business travellers, commuters or exchange students, for example. (…) »
Europe is also funding project such as CompAAL that aims to develop qualification profiles for jobs in Ambient-Assisted Living or AAL. AAL specialist skills are needed in many professions, in which the job requirements have changed under these fast-evolving technologies. New skills profiles have to be set-up for professionals from various backgrounds, for example architects building AAL compatible homes, staff of ambulatory home care, and most of all IT specialists in order to enable them to design AAL systems and interfaces, to manage interoperability, as well as to create, manage and moderate social networks.

Where Can Green IT/IS Education and Training Be Found Today? An Initial Assessment of Sources

The push toward sustainability & “greening” in organizations is evident in the Federal government as well as within the private sector.  A more specific focus on “greening” information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) can also be seen. As might be expected, a corresponding increase in green jobs is also occurring with many of those jobs focused on IT.
The trouble with filling green jobs, IT or otherwise, is finding educated and qualified workers to fill them.  As a result, there is a growing demand for green computing education. As early research has indicated, however, the demand for green computing knowledge by those in industry is only slowly making its way to the academic world. A recent study by Sendall (2010) identified a surprising “lack” of green IT/IS/computing and/or sustainability curriculum initiatives in institutions of higher education.  With this knowledge as background, this research efforts attempts to identify, even so: Where can green computing education and/or training be found today?

Shortage of ICT workers in many European companies

Europe is facing an “alarming” unemployment level and paradoxically, a shortage of information and communications technology workers. Despite of the crisis, employers are actively looking for technologically proficient workers who also have “soft” business skills and specialized knowledge in areas such as digital media. Recruitment agencies identified this new trend : « Since Mai 2011, the number of job offers posted in our category ‘ICT/Software Development’ has reached the highest level from 18 months« , Hugo Stienstra, Monster Benelux.
ICT skills are critical to the global competitiveness of the European economy and Neelie Kroes, VIce-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has already underlined the importance of sustaining growth in the technology-driven markets of the future. Many workers are increasingly thinking of turning their back on a career in ICT, which requires that educators, employers, government and recruiters act together to deliver an attractive and accessible career pathway.
In according to this need, the e-Jobs Observatory aims at creating a central point of reference for all activities related to research, training, qualifications, standards, norms, certificates and employment in the field of e-Jobs in Europe. We invite you to check out the e-jobs descriptions and provide comments to the authors.
Source : Inside digital media, 2011 Oct.

Will the ICT sector drive the deployment of renewable sources of energy ?

According to the Greenpeace’s report « Make IT Green« ,  2010 has been touted by many in the ICT sector as the ‘Year of the Cloud’. While this is likely a prediction that will be repeated in subsequent years, the arrival of the iPad and growth in netbooks and other tablet computers, the launch of Microsoft’s Azure cloud services for business, and the launch of the Google phone and the proliferation of mobile cloud applications are compelling signs of a movement towards cloud-based computing within the business sector and public consciousness in a way never seen before.
If cloud providers want to provide a truly green and renewable cloud, they must use their power and influence to not only drive investments near renewable energy sources, but also become involved in setting the policies that will drive rapid deployment of renewable electricity generation economy-wide, and place greater R&D into storage devices that will deliver electricity from renewable sources 24/7. The potential of ICT technologies and cloud computing to drive low-carbon economic growth underscore the importance of building cloud infrastructure in places powered by clean renewable energy. Companies like Facebook, Google, and other large players in the cloud computing market must advocate for policy change at the local, national and international levels to ensure that, as their appetite for energy increases, so does the supply of renewable energy.
It is clear that as the energy demand of the cloud grows, the supply of renewable energy must also keep pace. Additionally, because of the unique opportunities provided to the ICT sector in a carbon- constrained world, the industry as a whole should be advocating for strong policies that result in economy-wide emissions reductions. Among prime concern is priority grid access for renewable sources of energy. The Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution Scenario report demonstrates the ICT sector holds many of the keys to reaching our climate goals by innovating solutions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. Technologies that enable smart grids, zero emissions buildings, and more efficient transport systems are central to efforts to combat climate change.
The European project e-Jobs Observatory supports and promotes Green IT node (GRIN-CH project) that aims to identify competences and skills for Green Jobs and mapping them with EQF/eCF in accordance with market needs to build guidelines for developing/setting-up further vocational training measures for Green Jobs. The expected impact will allow for comparable skills sets for these professions of the future which supports the European labour market and thus, the employability of professionals while at the same time contributing to one of the major challenges of Europe 2020.

Europe opens to the challenge of Qualified Training in ICT sector

Last December the European partners of 5 countries met in Genova (Italy) to kick off the Leonardo Da Vinci Project Vet QI (Vocational and Educational Training Quality in the ICT sector). The challenge is to elaborate on the  European quality parameters of  training for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the  Information and Communication Technology sector.
The partnership composed by, Dispos (Italy), Eurofortis (Latvia), MPS (France) , IPF (Spain) and WSBINOZ (Poland) and led by For s.a.s (Italy) is motivated to work  and produce a Quality Control System allowing the SMEs’ staff to be more competitive and in the same conditions of large companies, that have already developed high standard quality systems for training. The aim  is to develop innovative methods for Vet operators on the basis of the confrontation with market needs, stakeholders’ perspectives and European policies about quality in VET.  These themes are all increasingly focused by European policies and are summed up in the EQAVET  European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training descriptors, that have been considered as a source of inspiration for the project design.
This is the start for a new  challenge  aimed at spreading the culture of qualified training in Europe.

EU : ICT is one of the 3 areas with the biggest job potential in the future

« Job creation must become a real European priority » said László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. While unemployment is hitting records across the 27 EU member states, European Commission presents a set of measures to boost jobs. It also identifies ICT as one of the 3 areas with the biggest job potential in the future. « All together, the green economy, the health and new technology sectors will create more than 20 millions of jobs in the years to come. Member States need to seize these opportunities, mobilize existing resources and stimulate their labour market in close cooperation with the social partners. » said Barroso. In pratical terms, members states are encourage hiring by reducing taxes on labour or supporting business start-ups more. The employment package aims to create a genuine EU labour market to restore growth and to face major structural changes and includes proposals such as :
– Exploit the big job potential areas for the future such as the green economy where 20 million jobs could be created between now and 2020 and to include green employment into their’ National Job Plans, strengthening green skills intelligence
– Support an increase in highly qualified ICT labour and promote digital skills across the workforce.
– To improve the matching of jobs with job-seekers, the package proposes to transform the EURES job seeker portal into a true European placement and recruitment tool and foresees (as of 2013) innovative online self-service applications to provide users instantly with a clear geographical mapping of European job offers.

Digital Agenda: Commission consults on rules for wirelessly connected devices – the « Internet of Things »

Brussels, 12 April 2012 – The « Internet of Things » (IoT) is a future in which everyday objects such as phones, cars, household appliances, clothes and even food are wirelessly connected to the Internet through smart chips, and can collect and share data. The European Commission wants to know what framework is needed to unleash the potential economic and societal benefits of the IoT. The Commission wants to ensure that the rights of individuals are respected and is launching a public consultation inviting comments by 12th July 2012.  Today, an average person has at least 2 objects connected to the Internet and this is expected to grow to 7 by 2015 with 25 billion wirelessly connected devices globally. By 2020 that number could double to 50 billion. This means a possible future in which many everyday things are linked. 
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, said: « An Internet of Things with intelligence embedded into everyday objects is the next big thing. I want to promote an Internet of Things that serves our economic and societal goals, whilst preserving security, privacy and the respect of ethical values. »

IT Situation similar in the United States and Europe

A recent study conducted by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) reveals that the USA and Europe face a similar situation in regard to the skills shortages of the IT industry.

The most relevant findings are listed below:

– A 93 percent of survey respondents identified a gap between the technical skills their IT employees possess and the skills that were acutally required in the company

– More than a 70 % indicated web design and development, cybersecurity, and networking/infrastructure as the most required skills

– In more than 40% of the midsize companies, staff productivity is hampered by IT skills shortages. In a 33% of those companies, innovation is hampered for the same reason