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EC launches new economic strategy Europe 2020
On 3 March 2010, the European Commission launched the Europe 2020 Strategy for economic growth. It is the successor of the Lisbon Strategy, whose ambitious goals the EU failed to achieve. Although the Lisbon goal of becoming the world’s leading knowledge economy has been given up, the five targets set out in Europe 2020 are still ambitious:
1. Raise the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 from the current 69 percent to at least 75 percent.
2. Achieve the target of investing 3 percent of GDP in R&D in particular by improving the conditions for R&D investment by the private sector, and develop a new indicator to track innovation.
3. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent compared to 1990 levels or by 30 percent if the conditions are right, increase the share of renewable energy in our final energy consumption to 20 percent, and achieve a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency.
4. Reduce the share of early school leavers to 10% from the current 15 percent and increase the share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary education from 31 percent to at least 40 percent.
5. Reduce the number of Europeans living below national poverty lines by 25 percent, lifting 20 million people out of poverty.
In order to meet these targets, the Commission proposes a Europe 2020 agenda consisting of a series of flagship initiatives in the three key areas of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The two flagship initiatives particularly relevant for the area of R&D in ICT are the “Innovation Union” and "A digital agenda for Europe". The Innovation Union aims at re-focussing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges, while closing the gap between science and market to turn inventions into products. “A digital agenda for Europe” delivering sustainable economic and social benefits from a Digital Single Market based on ultra fast internet. All Europeans should have access to high speed internet by 2013.
The EC stresses that implementing these initiatives is a shared priority, and action will be required at all levels: EU-level organisations, Member States, local and regional authorities.
Record communication speeds over ceiling lights
Researchers at Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin together with their Siemens colleagues have scored a peak data rate of 500 megabits per second (Mbit/s) using off-the-shelf LED lights. The new benchmark breaks the previous record they held of 200 Mbit/s. Data transport over visible light is a means of transmission that is license-free, and tap-proof and that opens the way for a range of novel applications in the home, industry and transport.
Researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich and the Heinrich Hertz Institute set the new free space data transmission record for a distance of up to 5 meters using a white light emitting diode from the Siemens subsidiary Osram. Data were directly modulated from the supply current onto the quantity of light emitted by the LED. The Ostar LED can be modulated so rapidly that a high-speed data transmission rate of 500 Mbit/s can be achieved while the human eye detects no change in the level of brightness. The receiver is a photodetector that transforms light signals into electrical impulses.
Visible Light Communication (VLC) can be used as an extension to WLAN in the home. Further application areas are factories, medical facilities and other places places where wireless cannot be deployed or only to a limited extent. Another application area is the transport domain where LED traffic lights and railway signals could relay information to cars and trains.
The researchers also demonstrated that a network of up to five LEDs is capable of achieving data transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s over a longer distance. This is a critical point for practical applications as, for instance, data from ceiling lights can then be sent to a receiver on a desktop no matter where the desk is positioned in the room. Since 2007 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has been working on standardization of the technology in a procedure scheduled for completion by late 2010.
Parts of the research work were conducted within the framework of the FP7 research project OMEGA.
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