IIC Brussels Chapter
INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE IIC BRUSSELS CHAPTER: 25 April 2017
On 25 April 2017, the International Institute of Communication (IIC) held the Inauguration of its Brussels Chapter at an event on Smart Cars, hosted by Squire Patton Boggs in Brussels.
The event, entitled ‘Connected Thinking: What is a Smart Car’ has gathered great interest from various industry players. The former IIC President, Fabio Colasanti opened the event by launching the IIC’s Brussels Chapter chaired by Francesco Liberatore, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs. “Smart Cars” is a new term comprising both connected and autonomous driving vehicles.
The rise of the Smart Car marks a new phenomenon of convergence between traditionally separate industries players, where companies who would previously be in a supplier-customer relationship find themselves competing for the provision of the same product or service. In perfect synch with the spirit of the IIC, it was great to have a well-balanced and impartial debate on this topic with views from the automotive, satellite, telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, in the presence of the European Commission. Some of the points emerging from the debate – which was held under Chatham House Rule – are summarised below.
An issue raised by all the speakers was that long term European investment into Smart Cars and associated technology is an essential element. Various investment schemes are already in place in Europe, giving an important push to improve connectivity, road safety and achieve environmental benefits. A related issue is how to cooperate within this converging ecosystem to promote investment, whilst at the same time protecting competition. Other potential legal and regulatory roadblocks of common relevance for all stakeholders include concerns for cybersecurity, data protection, and liability among others. Speakers at the event explored the ways these different issues are intertwined in this ecosystem.
Zooming in on the communications related aspects of Smart Cars, certain speakers proposed that the transmission of real time data with respectable latency is critical. Other speakers indicated that no single network provider will be able to meet the growing demand of connectivity alone and suggested that a hybrid network would be more pertinent to provide a highly scalable and secure network that will not traverse the public internet. Finally, all speakers shared the view that having a common language and understanding on Smart Cars on a cross-border basis is indispensable. Avoiding excessive regulation will also be vital so as not to hamper innovation and to unveil the full potential of a deployment of connected and autonomous driving in Europe.
The IIC Brussel Chapter Inaugural event is the first of a series of events organized in the course of 2017 by the IIC on Smart Cars. The next event will be held in early July 2017 and will be looking into the regulatory landscape in the EU on Smart Cars from a legal and policy perspective.
Head of Unit for Smart Mobility and Living,
DG Communication Networks, Content and Technology
Partner, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP; Chair, IIC Brussels Chapter
Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Connected Car Program,
Senior Manager European Advocacy, GSMA
Head of European Affairs,
European Broadcasting Union
Head of Economic and Legal Policy, EU Corporate Representation Brussels,