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Business Innovation Observatory

Semester 4 April 2015

Disruptive innovations and
forward-looking policies towards
smart value chains

The Business Innovation Observatory

trend report:
Disruptive innovations and forward-looking
policies towards smart value chains
The three emerging trends of Service innovation for smart industry, Traceability across the
value chain and the Internet of Things are investigated in the fourth batch of case studies
published by the Business Innovation Observatory.
A common red line in the analysed trends is the contribution of the selected innovations
towards the rise and success of smart value chains. Smart value chains involve the
introduction of new processes or solutions so as to save at least one step, generate
enhanced productivity and cost savings, decrease time-to-market, respect the environment,
and provide a better quality output.
The fourth trend report tackles some of the key issues emerged from the case studies. Constant
body monitoring, human-robot collaboration, and driverless cars are three of the most
disruptive innovations likely to change our lives in the future. The report also includes
recommendations resulting from the Conference held in Brussels on 16 April 2015.

Constant body monitoring: the human body is becoming a digitally connected part of
the value chain in the health sector. The emergence of new wearable devices offers new
monitoring capabilities and it also poses new policy challenges, particularly related to
data accessibility, privacy and security.
Human-robot collaboration: a new generation of collaborative robots (or co-bots),
designed for direct interaction with humans within a defined setting, is entering the
market. As co-bots are flexible and predestined for a small-scale, adaptable production,
they have the potential to positively impact the competitiveness of European
manufacturing SMEs across many industries.
Driverless cars: at the crossroads of human-robot collaboration and the Internet of
Things, the entry of autonomous cars onto the market will require clear regulatory
frameworks, the adoption of new technologies and investments in the infrastructures
needed to deploy them.

These disruptive innovations pose new policy challenges which need to be dealt with urgently:

Data security and data privacy: Effective policies concerning data protection can play
a crucial role in the development of smart value chains around new technologies, as they
create security and certainty that facilitate operations and cooperation by the actors.
Technology standards: Standardisation can play an effective role in the development
of new markets by focusing the demand on specific technical solutions and helping to
reach a critical mass. Standards also enable interoperability, reduce risks and transaction
costs for users, and remove technical barriers to trade.
Skills gaps and qualification mismatches: the lack of ICT competence of the skilled
workforce represents a barrier for the development of a digital society and of a Digital
Single Market, as well as in general for fostering innovation in the European economy.


Learn more about the Business Innovation Observatory:
Internal Market,
and SMEs