There is no doubt among experts that
in order to understand the socio-economic impacts as well as changes and
developments in the domains of the Information Society, indicators on
- supply and availability,
- penetration and
- patterns of usage
particularly by users, i.e. households and establishments
/ enterprises, are needed. In many cases these are not readily available
from official statistical sources but need to be collected by special
user surveys. In addition, these statistics need to be internationally
comparable, and therefore based on a common set of definitions and a common
measurement framework. Such a framework is provided in SIBIS (WP1). Also,
and as outlined by the OECD Working Party on Indicators for the Information
Society, it could be meaningful to develop metrics related to the areas
of the S-shaped path for the diffusion of new technologies. Accordingly
the three broad areas to be covered by indicators are:
This has been illustrated using the example of electronic
commerce (OECD Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society:
defining and Measuring E-Commerce: A Status Report, October 1999, P. 7).
It is against this background that different types
of surveys have been carried out by the SIBIS project.
The results of the surveys serve various purposes:
- Firstly, they document the current state of European
society with regard to a range of important and politically relevant
Information Society indicators. The issues dealt with in the surveys
reflect current objectives of EU initiatives regarding Information Society
development, like the eEurope initiative and other policy frameworks.
- Secondly, in some instances they provide time-series
of indicator values, thereby enabling inferences to be drawn about the
rate of change of these indicators. They will pilot a number of new
indicators which take account of the rapidly changing nature of eEurope.
- Thirdly, the survey results provide an unrivalled,
unique and representative single source of reliable data on the current
and medium term supply and demand aspects in the Information Society
domains across the EU Member States. For specific domains, i.e. those
currently already worked on and covered by the partners in comparable
projects, where also representative European-wide surveys of the population
and establishments have been and will be carried out (e.g. e-commerce,
e-work, IST supported social care for the elderly), time series analysis
results could be provided.
- Fourthly, the work contributes to the development
of policy in the area and helps the European Commission as well as national
governments in EU Member States to set RTD and investment priorities
and inform policy and strategy development at all policy levels. It
can also be used by private companies for strategy development.