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W3C's reply on the Horizon 2020 innovation and financial aspects impacting Web Entrepreneurs

From: Daniel Dardailler <danield@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:06:33 +0100
Message-ID: <50ACDFE9.2060007@w3.org>
CC: "Liaisons, " <team-liaisons@w3.org>, Isidro.LASO@ec.europa.eu
Hello Isidro, all

In relation to the public EC consultation at 
here is our input.

Best regards.

Daniel Dardailler
W3C Director for International Relations.

W3C's reply on the Horizon 2020 innovation and financial aspects 
impacting Web Entrepreneurs
November 2012

The EC funds basic research - as it has in FP6 and FP7, and will 
continue to do so in Horizon 2020. The rationale is that while companies 
should be investing in developing their own products, mid-term and 
long-term investments are too risky, and it is not always clear how to 
monetise them directly. Hence these research level investments are made 
through government - through the EC programs.

In the physical world, it is also accepted that basic infrastructure 
(roads, utilities, telecommunications cables and satellites, etc.) is 
funded by government because it raises all boats, and no individual 
company can reasonably make such investments.

In the Web world, the basic infrastructure that transforms every 
industry and makes it possible for European companies to be effective 
and competitive for the next generation is the *world of Web standards*. 
Just as government funds the development of the physical infrastructure, 
it needs to fund the development of the data infrastructure, i.e. the Web.

A logical place for the mandate to fund Web development is Horizon 2020. 
Horizon 2020 should fund those basic investments that are beyond the 
scope of individual companies and lead to technology competitiveness for 
Europe. Which is exactly what would result from investments in Web 

A possible route to achieve this would be to fund SME participation in 
Web standards development. Where the output is a royalty free Open 
Standard (required for example by the Spanish 
<http://hdl.handle.net/10421/6561> and British 
<http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/openstandards> governments) the cost of 
participation could be subsidised through the payment of membership fees 
and travel expenses where relevant. The contribution from the 
beneficiaries would be their time and expertise in developing the Web 

The EC could also fund more advanced work in standardisation in areas 
where Europe is already in the forefront:

  * data privacy --- easy access to cryptographic tools on the Web, data
    anonymisation, ID management etc.;
  * open government data --- discovery, visualisation and analysis for
    citizen empowerment and evidence-based policy making;
  * the mobile Web --- including applications within vehicles for
    safety, navigation, communication and back of seat entertainment;
  * multilingualism --- via W3C's continuous engagement in
    standardisation, SMEs will be empowered to participate in the
    realisation of the European single digital market in which the open
    Web will foster business and communication without language barriers.

Entrepreneurs recognise modern Web standardisation as innovation in 
itself, understanding that things like training, education and 
internationalisation are part of a successful Web infrastructure. W3C 
offers all these services and has moved as far as it can to help start 
ups take part in in its standards work by introducing a reduced 
membership fee. This is available to companies with 10 or fewer 
employees, and with relatively modest revenue, for a limited period. 
This membership route, and the W3C policy of giving every member an 
equal say irrespective of size or number of participants in a working 
group, allows start ups to take part in standards-setting right 
alongside the biggest companies.

Participation by small companies is also a way for them to learn about 
state-of-the-art Web trends, and raise their awareness of new and 
upcoming technologies, and not just contributing to standard development 
and supporting actions. However, active participation does cost any 
member time and money and it is this investment that we believe the 
Commission could usefully support.

Major changes will affect many European industries because of the Web in 
the period considered (2014-20), in automotive, entertainment, 
transport, health, etc. and the EC could take measures that give 
advantages to Europe with a more active role in getting entire domains 
like those closer to the Web.

This would put European industries and SMEs in the vanguard of the 
innovative development of the data infrastructure.

Received on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 14:06:57 UTC

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