We continue travelling across Europe to discover the Regional Action Plans developed by DEVISE project partners. This week we move to West Region Romania to talk with our partners from West Regional Development Agency who have completed a plan formed by two main actions.

“The contribution of digital technologies in manufacturing is not only symbiotic, but a top priority in the transition towards the Industry 4.0 and Factories of the Future”, mentions Cristian Gotia, consultant at West Regional Development Agency and DEVISE project partner. West Region’s ICT and Automotive are the strongest in terms of GDP, employees, market value and RDI. However, even if the regional landscape is dominated by corporates that expanded the regional supply chain, the gap in digitalisation among them has increased exponentially, instead of being organically developed. "This gap has shown that it impedes not only the innovation in the region, but also growth and competitiveness of SMEs in both the vertical and horizontal supply chains”, adds Gotia.

In this context, West RDA’s objectives in DEVISE were to identify successful practices in stimulating the adoption of digitalisation in SMEs across sectors and the investment of material and non-material assets in developing new technologies to reduce the digital gap between regional SMEs and its European counterparts, being a core priority in West Region’s strategic policies too. In that way, following a series of learning and experience sharing activities, West RDA adopted two core actions for the improvement of regional support to enhance digital transformation.

Creation of an instrument for harvesting digital projects to support the development of future EDIH service

This action aims to capitalize the knowledge and the approach learned from DEVISE through the IoT Compass Hub (Finland) good practice where the local Digital Innovation Hub is actively participating to help the digital transformation of companies. “West Region already took the initiative of developing a DIH by enrolling Tehimpuls in the DIHelp Academy program in 2019. Consequently, the concept of a future DIH was designed and successfully implemented in September 2020 when Tehimpuls passed the national selection for future EDIH”, explains the DEVISE partner.

The proposed action is intended to further strengthen the West Region capacity to play a role in the future EDIH community, by developing and implementing at small scale a tool and a methodology that facilitate the demand and supply of digital transformation. The initiative will be implemented by Tehimpuls under the coordination of West RDA providing a good case of adoption of digital technologies within the manufacturing sector.

Virtual Reality collaboration hub

The second action aims at providing a platform to access latest augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies as digital solutions to increase the overall competitiveness of SMEs at considerably lower costs than traditional technologies. According to our Romanian partner, “the benefits and application of such technologies, apart from standard business enhancements (customer engagement - marketing, modelling, and prototyping and safe environment for complex collaborative innovation) is progressing continuously in all domains and niches, and particularly fast since the COVID19 outbreak”. The action is meant to provide thus easy access to demonstrations of VR technology applications and uses, to key players in the field at global level. Apart from that, the goal is to stimulate not only adoption of such technologies, but also using them in developing new innovations in a collaborative fashion to grow and expand the VR community of West Region overall.

“With a total of 200 SMEs expected to be reached in the implementation period, the spill-over effect in the aftermath is estimated to grow exponentially and facilitate access to digitalisation projects to over 7,000 SMEs over the course of 7 years”, concludes Gotia.

Read the whole Action Plan here.