Developing Digital Economy and Society in the Light of the Issue of Digital Convergence of the Markets in the European Union Countries
2. The European Union’s Digital Economy and Society and Digital Convergence
- The transition of electric power supply systems to the Industrial Internet of Things concept (using a network of sensors to monitor energy demand, manage its transmission and storage);
- Using Artificial Intelligence to optimize energy transmission and distribution;
- Management of energy resources and logistics using e.g., blockchain, which in turn increases the potential of operational efficiency in the activities of energy companies;
- Monitoring of changes in demand with the use of smart grids and models of responding to changes in this area, which allows not only monitoring but also an autonomous response to these changes through appropriate energy distribution;
- Creating the so-called Virtual Power Plants, i.e., systems integrating various energy sources for the purposes of distribution management and demand production control;
- Creating energy management systems by consumers and prosumers to optimize energy production and consumption, along with the analysis and offer of optimal energy use from various sources. For the purposes of such a system, the so-called smart meters or IoT devices at the consumer (mobile reporting applications). The use of such systems also has an educational value, related to the increase in environmental awareness of users;
- The use of digital modeling to design both new energy networks, as well as to improve the existing ones. The use of this tool will have a direct impact on the operational efficiency of economic entities from the energy sector, as it will allow for faster data analysis (compared to existing solutions) on the basis of real energy networks to prepare new investments, including reducing the costs of designing new installations;
- The use of blockchain, i.e., security and automation of transactions within the energy network, e.g., when selling micro-amounts of energy between prosumers;
- building systems in the form of the so-called “digital twins”. A digital replica of a physical object works in real-time with this object, making decisions regarding, for example, optimization of the operation and maintenance of physical fixed assets, production systems and processes in energy, design, organizing information, estimating project profitability, improving update processes, etc.
- Smart, knowledge-based and innovation-based development;
- Sustainable development (efficient use of resources, more environmentally friendly while increasing competitiveness);
- Inclusive development (social, territorial cohesion, with a high level of employment of the population of EU countries).
- The creation of the Digital Single Market;
- Improving the framework conditions for interoperability between information and communication technology products and services;
- Increase trust in the Internet and the security of its operations;
- Ensuring access to a much faster Internet;
- An increase in research and development expenditure;
- Developing digital literal use and inclusion skills;
- The use of information and communication technologies to address the challenges facing society, such as climate change, rising medical costs and an aging population.
- Ensuring easier access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;
- Creating an appropriate and level playing field enabling digital networks and innovative services to flourish;
- Maximizing the growth potential of the digital economy.
- The horizontal dimension of economy-wide actions, including the regulation of universal law, solutions and universal capabilities ;
- Motivational dimension, related to the mental approach of society to modern technologies and means of communication;
- The material dimension relating to society’s access to these tools, resources, etc;
- The personal dimension, concerning the ability of members of the public to acquire, maintain and upgrade acquired capacities;
- The dimension of the use of technology and the social impact achieved.
- Willingness to develop on the resource and skills side, which are necessary for its occurrence;
- An increase, expressed in the availability and use of the necessary tools, techniques, methods, functions, etc. on the road to digital development;
- Impact–economic impact and effects obtained.
- The convergence of networks;
- The convergence of terminals;
- The convergence of services;
- The convergence of rhetoric;
- The convergence of markets;
- The convergence of regulatory regimes.
3. Materials and Methods
4. The Digital Economy and Society in the Countries of the European Union in 2015 and 2020. Convergence or Digital Diversity? Results of Empirical Studies
- In 2015, the lowest rate recorded for Greece was 67.16% of the EU-28 average and the highest for Denmark was 146.44%;
- In 2020, the lowest rate recorded for Bulgaria was 69.25% of the EU-28 average and the highest for Finland was 137.42%.
- For Cluster 1 in 2015, the DESI was 29.08 points and in 2020 it was 43.54 points, an increase of 49.74%. The achieved indicator values for Cluster 1 were below the UNION average;
- For Cluster 2 in 2015, DESI was 32.40 points and in 2020 45.13 points, an increase of 39.32%. The DESI values obtained for this cluster were below the Union average;
- For Cluster 3 in 2015, DESI was 41.67 points, then increased to 53.31 in 2020, i.e., by 27.92%, and its values in both 2015 and 2020 were above the Union average;
- For Cluster 4 in 2015, DESI accounted for 42.08 points, after which it increased to 59.81 in 2020, i.e., by 42.13%, and its values in both 2015 and 2020 were above the Union average;
- For Cluster 5 in 2015, DESI was 55.00 points, then increased to 69.72 in 2020, i.e., by 26.76%, and its values were both above the EU average in 2015 and 2020.
- In 2015, the country with the lowest rate in Cyprus accounted for 56.0% of the EU-28 average and Latvia’s highest-rate country accounted for 146.2%;
- Greece had the lowest score in 2020 (66.7% of the EU-28 average), while Denmark had the best result (131.5% of the EU-28 average).
- In 2015, the average indicator for Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 was below the EU-28 average, Cluster 3 was very close to Cluster 3, while Clusters 4 and 5 were above the EU-28 average;
- In 2015, almost all countries in Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 (with the exception of Romania in Cluster 1 and the Czech Republic in Cluster 2) had a connectivity ratio below the EU-28 average. In the third cluster, they were three out of four countries (Austria, Ireland, Portugal) and in the Cluster 4 there was one country (France);
- In 2020, the average connectivity value for the first cluster was below the EU-28 average, while in the remaining clusters it was higher than the EU-28 average;
- In 2020, in Cluster 1, all countries did not reach the EU average, Cluster 2 below average had one country (Italy), in Cluster 3–three countries (Austria, France and Lithuania) and in Cluster 4 there were another two (Ireland and the United Kingdom).
- In 2015, the country with the lowest rate in this area, Romania, accounted for 62.4% of the EU-28 average, while Finland’s highest-rate country accounted for 164.1%;
- Italy had the lowest score in 2020 (65.8% of the EU-28 average), while Finland had the best result (159.1% of the EU-28 average), of which it can be concluded that only a slight reduction in polarization in the area of human capital is noticeable in relative (percentage) terms, as the range between the lowest and highest rates in relation to the EU-28 average decreased from 101.7 percentage points in 2015 to 93.3 percentage points in 2020. The ratio of the performance of the countries in the extreme places in the ranking of this indicator has also changed only slightly. In 2015, the ratio of the best performance in the area of human capital of Finland to the lowest rate in Romania was 2.6, while in 2020 the ratio for the highest in the area of human capital of Finland and Italy was 2.4.
- In 2015, the average indicator for the Human Capital component of Cluster 1 and 2 countries was below the EU average, Cluster 3 was almost at the EU average, while Clusters 4 and 5 were above the EU average;
- Almost all the countries included in Clusters 1 and 2 (with the exception of the Czech Republic in Cluster 2) had a sub-indicator value in this area below the EU average. In the third Cluster, this included three of the seven countries (Spain, Lithuania, Portugal) and in Cluster four there were two countries (Latvia and Slovenia);
- In 2020, the average value of Human Capital in Clusters 1, 2 and 3 was below the EU average, with lower values than the EU average for all countries in these Clusters except Austria in Cluster 3;
- In 2020, in Clusters 4 and 5, the average value of the indicator in the cluster, as well as the values of indicators for all countries in these clusters, were higher than the EU-28 average.
- In 2015, the average rate for the Use of Internet component of Cluster 1, 2 and 3 countries was below the EU average, while Clusters 4 and 5 were above that average;
- Almost all the countries included in Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 (with the exception of Hungary in Cluster 2 and Belgium, Lithuania and Malta in Cluster 3) had a sub-indicator value in this area below the EU average. In Cluster 4, they were two of the seven countries (France, Slovenia);
- In 2020, the average use of Internet value in Clusters 1, 2 and 3 was below the EU average, with lower values than the EU average for all countries in these clusters except Spain in Cluster 3;
- In 2020, in Clusters 4 and 5, the average value of the indicator in the cluster, as well as the values of indicators for all countries in these clusters, were higher than the EU-28 average.
- In 2015, the average value of this indicator for Cluster countries 1, 2 and 4 was below the EU average, while for Clusters 3 and 5 it was above that average. It is, therefore, worth noting that the countries of the fourth cluster were characterized by relatively poor performance in this area compared to the EU average;
- Almost all countries in Cluster 1 and Cluster 2 (with the exception of Croatia and the Czech Republic in Cluster 2) had sub-index value in this area below the EU average. In the third cluster, it was only Austria, and in the fourth cluster as many as six out of seven countries (the exception was the United Kingdom);
- In 2020, the average value of indicators for this component in Clusters 1, 2 and 3 was below the EU average, with lower values than the EU average for all countries in these clusters except Croatia and the Czech Republic in Cluster 1 and France and Lithuania in Cluster 3;
- In 2020, in Clusters 4 and 5, the average value of the indicator in the cluster, as well as the values of indicators for countries in these clusters, were higher than the EU-28 average, with the exception of Estonia, Luxembourg and Germany in Cluster 4.
- E-government users;
- Partially completed forms;
- Comprehensive online services, including business services;
- The advancement of open data as a condition for greater participation of citizens in such services, as well as the basis for the development of new ICT solutions;
- In 2015, the lowest rate recorded for Greece was 41.07% of the EU-28 average and the highest for Estonia was 153.93%;
- In 2020, the lowest rate recorded for Romania was 67.23% of the EU-28 average and the highest for Estonia was 124.08%. This clearly attests to the decreasing spread of performance between EU countries in relation to the average (from 112.86 pps in 2015 to 56.84 pps in 2020), which promotes their convergence. The positive convergence process is also confirmed by the improvement in the relationship between the performance of the countries with the highest and lowest rates, as it has decreased from 3.74 in 2015 to 1.85 in 2020. However, it is still substantially high.
- For Cluster 1 in 2015, the rate was 43.09 points, 59.33 in 2020, an increase of 37.7%. However, the achieved indicator values for Cluster 1 were below the UNION average;
- For Cluster 2 in 2015, the DPS was 27.92 points and in 2020 it was 63.24 points, an increase of 126.5%. Despite such significant pro-growth developments, the DPS achieved for this cluster was below the Union average;
- For Cluster 3 in 2015, the DPS was 62.26 points, then increased to 80.35 in 2020, i.e., by 29.0%, and its values in both 2015 and 2020 were above the Union average;
- For Cluster 4 in 2015, the DPS accounted for 50.92 points, after which it increased to 75.82 in 2020, i.e., by 48.9%, and its values in both 2015 and 2020 were above the Union average;
- For Cluster 5 in 2015, the DPS was 69.61 points, then increased to 83.61 in 2020, i.e., by 20.1%, and its values were both above the EU average in 2015 and 2020.
5. Discussion of Findings
- Cluster 1: Bulgaria, Cyprus;
- Cluster 2: Hungary;
- Cluster 3: Austria, Spain, Lithuania;
- Cluster 4: Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom;
- Cluster 5: Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden;
- from Cluster 1 to Cluster 2: Italy, Poland, Romania;
- from Cluster 3 to Cluster 4: Belgium, Ireland, Malta;
- from Cluster 4 to Cluster 3: France, Latvia, Slovenia;
- from Cluster 3 to Cluster 2: Portugal;
- from Cluster 2 to Cluster 1: The Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Slovakia.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|Country||DESI||Connectivity||Human Capital||Use of Internet Services||Integration of Digital Technology||Digital Public Services|
|Country||DESI||Connectivity||Human Capital||Use of Internet Services||Integration of Digital Technology||Digital Public Services|
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|Share in Relation to the EU-28 Average of the Lowest and the Highest Score of the Countries|
Differences in DESI Components in the
|The Assessment of Changes|
in the Context of Implementing Convergence Processes in a Given Area
|Human Capital||2015||62.4||164.1||101.7||degree 1||+|
|Use of Internet|
|Integration of Digital Technology||2015||52.3||164.1||111.8||degree 2||-|
|Cluster Number||DESI||Connectivity||Human Capital||Use of Internet Services||Integration of Digital Technology||Digital Public Services|
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Borowiecki, R.; Siuta-Tokarska, B.; Maroń, J.; Suder, M.; Thier, A.; Żmija, K. Developing Digital Economy and Society in the Light of the Issue of Digital Convergence of the Markets in the European Union Countries. Energies 2021, 14, 2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092717
Borowiecki R, Siuta-Tokarska B, Maroń J, Suder M, Thier A, Żmija K. Developing Digital Economy and Society in the Light of the Issue of Digital Convergence of the Markets in the European Union Countries. Energies. 2021; 14(9):2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092717Chicago/Turabian Style
Borowiecki, Ryszard, Barbara Siuta-Tokarska, Jolanta Maroń, Marcin Suder, Agnieszka Thier, and Katarzyna Żmija. 2021. "Developing Digital Economy and Society in the Light of the Issue of Digital Convergence of the Markets in the European Union Countries" Energies 14, no. 9: 2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092717