The commercial phase of the Internet beginsThe University of Vienna is the first node in Austria to be connected to the Internet
The first text message is sent
A room with 18 PC workstations and 2 PCs is set up in the New Institute Building (NIG) at the University of Vienna
The first smartphone (“Simon”) goes on sale
Amazon sells the first book on its website
eBay is launched as the first Internet auction siteInternet packages are available for business and private customers
Google is born
Help.gv.at and RIS
(Legal Information System) go online
Online banking is launched
Online payment system PayPal is founded
The Data Protection Act comes into force
Wikipedia, the first freely licensed encyclopaedia, is launchedThe eCommerce Act comes into force
Central Register of Residents goes online
Free instant messaging service Skype is introducedLaunch of FinanzOnline
The social network Facebook is launched
Over 50% of Austrians are online (use the Internet)
Electronic communication with public authorities is regulated in the eGovernment Act
The Citizen Card (official identity document for electronic administrative procedures) becomes available
All citizens covered by social insurance receive an e-card
The first Wi-Fi hotspots become available at parts of the University of Vienna
82% of all businesses use online services offered by public offices and authorities
The introduction of the iPhone, with its multi-touch user interface, marks a turning point in the smartphone market
Austria wins the United Nations Public Service Award for eJustice and RIS.bka.gv.at
The Bitcoin payment system (virtual money, cryptocurrency) is first described in a white paper
Introduction of the mobile phone signature
Launch of the Business Service Portal (USP)
Google launches the
Google Art Project, which enables users
to take a virtual tour
of major museums
First test of a
on public roads
Over 80% of Austrians use the Internet
The first generation of 3D printers finds its way into private households
Austria wins the United Nations Public Service Award for Open Government Data
eInvoices can be submitted to the Federal Government
82% of all households have an Internet connection
The Trades Information System Austria (GISA) is launched
ELGA, the electronic health record scheme, is launched in Vienna and Styria
The first 3D-printed house is built in Dubai
The Digital Roadmap for Austria is created
Launch of Silicon Austria
Launch of #gegenHassimNetz (#AgainstHateOnline) initiative
60% of all vehicles networked
Overall digital strategy for schools
Overall digital strategy for schools
Development of an Austrian 5G strategy
Launch of KMU digital funding programme
Electronic one-stop shop for business startups
Launch of test environments for automated driving
Reintroduction of skilled workers’ grant
Start of education and training guarantee for under 25s
Development of a quantum computer demonstrator
Quantum research funding programme
Laboratory for autonomous railway driving
5.5 million 3D printers sold worldwide
Electronic vaccination record
Digital ID valid throughout Europe
25 million devices connected to the Internet
Right to electronic delivery
Austria as a 5G pilot country
Rollout of 5G standard begins
90% of all vehicles networked
Global investment in virtual reality applications reaches around USD 35 billion
Blockchain technology reaches the mass market
Guiding the way to the digital future
On this basis, the Digital Roadmap presents around 150 specific measures in twelve fields of action in order to ensure that Austria can optimally exploit the potential of digitization. The Roadmap brings together the activities of all government departments in a joint Federal Government strategy paper for the first time. With digitization changing our world at a rapid pace, the Digital Roadmap is also in a constant state of flux. It is a dynamic strategy paper that is continuously adapted to the latest developments in digitization, thus reliably guiding us all towards the digital future.
The 12 guiding principles
of the Digital Roadmap:
- Every person in Austria should be able to take part in digitization. We want to bridge the digital divide.
- Digital education should begin as early as possible. No child should leave school without digital skills.
- Basic and human rights apply in the digital world too. We want to strengthen digital individual responsibility and civic courage.
- Internet access via a well-developed and affordable digital infrastructure is essential to both citizens and businesses in Austria and should be guaranteed.
- We want to create more and better jobs through digitization and to educate and train people accordingly.
- Digitization leads to new business and working models, for which we want to create a modern legal framework.
- Our aim is for Austria to be one of the world’s leading digital business locations. To this end, we must provide support to businesses for their digital transformation.
- Science and research should be helped to develop new digital opportunities to ensure that Austria becomes an innovation leader in the future.
- We will play an active role in shaping the European Digital Single Market.
- We consider security in the digital sphere to be the joint responsibility of public institutions, business and citizens. Austria should continue to have high data protection standards.
- We want to ensure and encourage a respectful online discussion culture and high-quality journalism in the digital world too.
- The public sector also sees itself as a driving force for innovation in Austria. Citizens and businesses have the right to convenient, easy and accessible electronic communication with public administration.
to the digital future
History has shown that technological change can be a powerful force for positive change processes in society. New technologies have always presented people with challenges, but have also expanded their possibilities, made their lives easier and made progress possible.
The Neolithic and industrial revolutions were the results of economic and social change made possible by technology, just as the invention of printing allowed science and world views to advance.
Digitization opens up a new chapter in our development. Digital infrastructures, products and services are changing business, science, society and politics. The technological changes associated with digitization currently include the use of information and communication technology in the manufacturing sector (Industry 4.0), the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things applications that are entering our everyday lives. Digitization is also changing the way in which we communicate, our social relationships, opportunities for us to participate and our working environment. Digitization is not a development that we only will have to face in the future. It is neither a technological niche issue nor a business issue that is solely relevant to major corporations. It is already part of our everyday lives. It affects us all, e.g. with 92% of Austrian mobile phone users owning a smartphone, 6% more than in 2015. This means that almost everyone is constantly carrying a key to the digital world.
The potential of digitization is enormous and wide-ranging: it can open up new opportunities for growth, work and prosperity, improve health care, be a driving force behind the turnaround in energy policy, facilitate equal opportunities and social participation, support government transparency and help to enhance our democracy.
At the same time, the digital revolution is confronting us with new challenges: the fear of constant monitoring and restrictions to our freedom are issues that must concern us just as much as protection from cybercrime and the ethics of artificial intelligence. One intensively debated topic is the fear that digitization is replacing human labour on a massive scale. This fear has always accompanied any kind of technological change. It is clear that technological developments are changing work processes and the work itself. First, activities are being replaced; second, new areas of activity that do not currently exist will constantly emerge. Modern working conditions, social security and focused training measures for employees are important factors for leveraging the potential of digitization for new high-quality jobs.
Digitization does not just mean having access to new technologies, but participating in the opportunities offered by a modern society. Digital applications are having an ever increasing impact on knowledge, the world of work and freedom. Everyone in Austria should be able to benefit from the opportunities of the digital world, regardless of origin, gender, age or social class. By ensuring that everyone can participate from a very early age, digital poverty can be prevented and a significant contribution made to combating poverty in future.
Digitization does not happen automatically. It is not a development that can only be marvelled at or simply awaited. To enable us to take advantage of the positive effects of digitization and avoid critical effects of this transformation process, appropriate political goals and priorities need to be set. Digitization needs to be shaped proactively in the interests and for the benefit of everyone. An obstructive approach or defensive behaviour towards digital change would only keep us on the international sidelines. The future cannot be stopped.
Digitization plays a major role in the development of our innovative strength. In the face of international competition, innovation is one of the most important insurance policies for the future of Europe and of Austria. The ambitious goal of the Austrian Federal Government to make our country an innovation leader in Europe is becoming increasingly important in light of digitization. Digitization offers key technologies for the development of economic and social innovations. Only as a competitive innovation leader can Austria maintain and develop its economic and social model and ensure equal opportunities and social security through innovative and efficient enterprises and high-quality jobs.
When shaping digitization in a positive way, key political tasks include the issues of data protection and cybersecurity, a modern legal framework for new business models, and the fair structuring of working conditions. Three areas form the essential foundation for successful digitization: develop an education system that prepares students for digital opportunities, provide a first-class digital infrastructure, and develop research and innovation policies that specifically promote Austria’s strengths.
Digital opportunities through education
Digitization requires our education system to evolve rapidly. Routine tasks become less important in the modern working world, while the scope of the work becomes more complex. There is a growing need for specialists in the digital economy, while participating in society also requires digital skills. The education system needs to take account of these requirements at all levels. Using digital tools in the education system must become standard practice. Digital media literacy is becoming an integral part of basic education. Retraining people who are already in employment ensures their employability. Innovations in education must be accelerated and quickly incorporated into the regulatory system on a wide scale.
The digital infrastructure is the nervous system of Austria as a digital nation. In order to make Austria’s digitization a success, an efficient nationwide infrastructure is needed. The development and deployment of digital applications, products, services and forms of work is dependent on powerful broadband Internet connections. Moreover, when it comes to securing livelihoods and providing for the future in order to increase social participation and equal opportunities, the digital infrastructure is an essential tool for the future development of Austria. With its target of increasing nationwide broadband speeds to at least 100 Mbit/s by 2020 and playing a leading role in 5G development, Austria is taking an important step to safeguard its position and ensure that it continues to have a society worth living in.
Strengthening research and innovation
Research and innovation frequently lay the foundations for successful digital products and services – and we are only at the start of this development. As a centre of research, Austria is already a global leader in a number of disciplines (e.g. quantum computing, life sciences, metallurgy and the automotive industry). These fields of expertise must be strategically developed and further strengthened in the context of digitization and digital production. At the same time, science and industry must intensively tackle critical areas of digitization, for instance with regard to safeguarding civil liberties and basic rights, the data ownership of citizens, the intelligent international regulation of technology and media companies, and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence.
Managing the digitization process successfully is also a question of social attitudes and values. Digitization requires joined-up thinking and action from us all. Just because something is technically possible does not mean that it is socially desirable. We must continue to decide on these issues. Ultimately, even in the digital age people must always take responsibility for decision-making. Digitization therefore needs convincing visions and a clear regulatory and social policy framework to implement these visions.
The democratization of knowledge, free communication and free access to information, open data, open innovation and open source are potentials for our digital society that strengthen growth, prosperity and opportunities for social participation and allow our society to develop in a positive way. Open and shared knowledge will contribute to more fact-based public discussions and deliberations, becoming an important element of a new kind of awareness-raising. Personal interaction and the discussion culture in the digital world require formal and informal rules, individual responsibility and civic courage.
The aim is for our country to play a leading role in shaping digitization as an innovation leader. Only then can we ensure that everyone in Austria can benefit from the advantages of digitization.
- In 2025, entrepreneurs will be the driving force behind a digital economy that generates new success stories and growth for Austria as a business location through new value chains and business models. Austrian businesses – from small SMEs to big leading enterprises – have made a name for themselves on the international market with their digital products and services based on successful research and innovation. It is worth investing in new technologies in Austria.
- In 2025, employees will benefit from a high level of employment and high-quality jobs in the digital business and working world. Continuous and flexible professional development will safeguard individuals’ employability and job satisfaction. Thanks to a first-class broadband infrastructure that enables employees to work from anywhere, the whole country will benefit from a digital job revolution.
- In 2025, young people will benefit from an equal opportunities education and training system that prepares them for the opportunities and challenges of a digital world. A modern curriculum, innovative forms of teaching and digital learning platforms will ensure that educational institutions – from nurseries and schools to universities – impart values, knowledge and skills that support personal development and employability.
- In 2025, citizens will experience new mobility concepts that offer convenience and a high degree of safety through intensive linking of private and public transport. Everyone will be able to find the quickest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly way of reaching their destination using a smartphone. Networked cars will warn us of potential dangers such as accidents, roadworks or black ice. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
- In 2025, the Internet will be a place of free knowledge and communication. Thanks to a culture of digital civic courage, an enlightened information culture and deep-rooted media literacy, hate posts and hoaxes will be a thing of the past. The positive aspects of unlimited opportunities to communicate, learn and develop globally will outweigh any negative aspects or fear campaigns.
- In 2025, the population will benefit from a reduction in the use of energy and resources. This will decrease personal energy costs and support the turnaround in energy policy to protect the climate. Smart technologies and applications will increase energy efficiency and reduce our dependence on energy from other countries.
- In 2025, patients will benefit from a health care system that makes first-class medical care and nursing available and affordable to all. The use of digital tools will support patients’ own health literacy, thus enabling them to enjoy better health. Personalized medicines and treatments will ensure that patients recover as quickly as possible.
- In 2025, citizens and businesses will benefit from an effective public administration system that is an efficient service provider, is itself an innovator and also supports innovation drivers. Digital communication will dramatically reduce the administrative burden and time-consuming bureaucracy. Citizens will receive customized service from government institutions. The state will become the digital partner of the citizens. Digitization will also enable people to become more involved in active citizenship and democratic decision-making processes.
To allow these visions – which are given as examples – to become reality, Austria must focus its political efforts on shaping digitization and driving it forward with lighthouse projects. The Digital Roadmap provides the strategic framework for it to do so.
Digitization is a cross-cutting political issue. In many fields and at various levels (e.g. government departments, regional authorities, unions and employers’ associations, NGOs, business), strategies already exist that cover particular aspects of digitization and identify specific measures to be taken in order to support and manage the digital transformation. We now need a coordinated approach bringing together politics, administration, unions and employers’ associations, business, science and research and also involving civil society. The Federal Government’s Digital Roadmap is the foundation on which all further coordinated activities can be built.
„Our aim is to play an active role in shaping digital progress for citizens, businesses and the whole of society. Austria must remain economically successful and everyone should be able to share in this prosperity. Education, research and innovation combined with an efficient digital infrastructure are the prerequisites for Austria’s path into the digital age. We have no time to lose. Let’s get started together!“
What will be possible?
The fifth generation of the mobile telecommunications standard is of major importance for mobile use of the Internet in future. Data rates of up to 10 GBit/s, low latency and a high density of connected end devices will enable a wide range of new business models and applications to be developed and will form the basis for the Internet of Things. Availability of the 5G infrastructure is therefore a high priority for the future development of Austria as a business location.
UMTS 3G40 Mbit/s
5 G10,000 Mbit/s
Increasing data transfer rates in mobile communications
Internet of Things
In future, devices will make status information (e.g. current use, ageing, environmental conditions) available on the Internet and communicate with each other. Based on user requirements, devices can automatically provide support and make our lives easier. The industry benefits from improved maintenance of machinery since status information is automatically communicated. Devices on our bodies can communicate physical functions such as heartbeat and blood pressure and enable patients’ health conditions to be medically monitored from a distance.
The Internet of Things is already reality: by 2020, there will be almost three times as many devices online as people.Number of devices connected to the Internet worldwide, in billions
The Internet of Things also provides the basis for autonomous driving, i.e. the ability of cars to drive themselves using sensors. This enables completely new mobility concepts, more convenience for road users due to the linking of private and public transport, and less pollution as a result of smart/optimized driving. If the potential of self-driving vehicles is fully harnessed, 90% of accidents will be able to be prevented by 2025. At the same time, there is likely to be a dramatic reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads. People born today may never drive a car themselves.
The volume of data that we generate every day is no longer growing in a linear way, but exponentially. The amount of data currently available is too large and complex for it to be processed using conventional methods. The increased amount of information brings new opportunities, especially for the service sector and medicine, while the interlinking of large data sets enables completely new insights to be gained. New diagnostic methods make it possible to identify the genetic characteristics of diseases. This allows medicines and treatments to be developed that are precisely tailored to the patient’s personal disease profile. At the same time, the production and use of ever increasing volumes of data bring new challenges when it comes to safeguarding privacy and data ownership.
2.5 exabytes of data are generated every day. 90% of all data was created in the last two years.
Data traffic on the Internet in exabytes per month
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Computing power is growing at an exponential rate. The enormous volume of data created over the last few years forms the basis for the progress made in artificial intelligence. Machines are capable of processing both structured and unstructured data, with the latter including language or photos. As a result, we will in future be able to obtain an increasing amount of information from data that no one had previously been able to access. In addition, machines are capable of learning. Computers learn something new from every single scenario, which consistently reduces the potential for errors. A computer can diagnose a tumour within ten minutes. By 2030, neuroprosthetics could also be possible, with neural devices replacing motor, sensory or cognitive abilities that have been damaged due to injury or disease. This raises new ethical questions: What decisions can a computer be allowed to make? Who is liable if a machine makes the “wrong” decision?
Access to information is considerably simplified by electronic data processing. Knowledge is no longer subject to the usual “laws of the market” since information is freely available in a variety of forms and can also be shared. The quality of knowledge is also improving thanks to the general public constantly developing their knowledge and skills. Online courses, simulators and personalized learning management systems allow people to learn and study at any time and in any place. Educational technologies (EduTech) such as serious games and learning apps help users to learn digital skills such as programming in an age-appropriate way. This “democratization of knowledge” plays a major role in promoting equal opportunities.
Augmented and virtual reality
Additional visual information or objects are overlaid onto the real world in real time, generally via glasses, creating an interactive virtual environment. The fields of application are almost limitless and range from tourism, leisure and education to the craft and construction industries. In future, for example, a building project could be viewed in a virtual space before construction has begun or instructions could be displayed directly on an object when it is being repaired or maintenance work is being carried out.
3D printing could replace conventional manufacturing. It is already possible to build a house from parts produced entirely on a 3D printer, thus decentralizing production. Production and consumption are united in the same place, which has an enormous impact on sales, distribution and transport. The products produced could be precisely tailored to their intended use, e.g. knee joints can be cost-effectively produced for patients. Printing on a micro and nano scale enables tiny medical devices to be operated. Entire house or car parts can also be printed.
Smart materials (4D)
The next step involves objects and materials that automatically adapt to environmental conditions (e.g. clothes that become waterproof when it rains or materials that repair themselves if they become damaged). In future, new printing processes could also allow electrically functional ink to be printed on materials, creating active or passive devices such as resistors. This technology can facilitate cost-effective sophisticated electronic applications. Sensors for construction sites will in future be able to be used to monitor vibrations and the condition of the materials in buildings, bridges and infrastructure, making maintenance work significantly easier.
Intelligent energy networks (smart grids)
These allow direct communication between consumers and grid operators. Digital technologies can be used to control and manage supply networks centrally, ensuring that supply and demand are balanced in the distribution network – and making it easier to feed in renewable energy. By 2030, this will enable 6.3 billion megawatt hours of energy to be saved worldwide every year. The introduction of digital technologies allows customers to have better control over their consumption and the costs. Consequently, digitization will play a key role in increasing energy efficiency and encouraging a long-term switch to renewable energies.
A blockchain is a decentralized log that permanently and unalterably records defined transactions between two parties within a network. This eliminates the middleman since a blockchain is public and accessible to everyone worldwide. It does not belong to anyone and this transparency makes it virtually impossible for the blockchain to be manipulated. This technology can revolutionize the way in which we enter into contracts, trade on stock exchanges or carry out banking transactions. In future, for example, digital contracts could be made forgery-proof using blockchain technology.
Overall “digital education” strategy
Education 4.0 brings together all the initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Education, specifically prioritizing digital skills, infrastructure and educational media. Digital education is to be increasingly incorporated into the education system.
Broadband Strategy 2020
The aim is to achieve virtually nationwide broadband coverage by 2020. To this end, one billion euros (the “broadband billion”) is being provided and is intended to benefit rural areas in particular.
Link: Broadband Strategy 2020
Strategic and operational objectives will be defined in order to build on strengths in research, technology and innovation, enter new fields of the future and niches, set up transparent funding and decision-making structures, and ensure efficient and sustainable use of public funds.
Link: RTI strategy
Open innovation strategy
The opening, expansion and development of Austria’s innovation system will be driven forward and open innovation will be embedded in the innovation system as a guiding principle.
Link: Open innovation strategy
The intellectual property (IP) of Austrian businesses and researchers will be better protected and exploited commercially.
Creative industry strategy
Creative industries will be supported in their role as a driving force for innovation and transformation in the development and marketing of new products.
Link: Creative industry strategy
Startup country strategy
The environment for startups will be continuously improved and a framework created that encourages innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
Link: BMWFW "Land der Gründer"
efit21 for digital education
efit21 prioritized the provision of ICT in Austrian educational institutions in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to integrate innovative learning scenarios into the education process.
The cornerstones of the strategy propose focusing ICT measures on education, health and businesses over the next five years. Implementation levers include infrastructure, eGovernment, mobility, financing and security.
Link: ICT strategy
The strategic principles, structures and processes as well as governance and cooperation between the government, business and society are laid down in this strategy. It focuses on protecting critical infrastructures, awareness-raising, research and development, and international cooperation.
Link: Cybersecurity strategy
This strategy lays down the structures and elements required for the coordinated implementation of ICT and its communication in administration and defines principles for the implementation of digital processes.
Link: the eGovernment ABC
Open government data strategy
Joint standards will be developed to create an effective environment that benefits all interest groups. Cooperation OGD Austria is responsible for managing this strategy.
Link: Cooperation OGD Österreich
Open Source Software position paper
This position paper describes how the opportunities of Open Source Software (OSS) can be best used for the common good.
Big data in public administration
The position paper will provide basic information for strategic decision-making in the big data sector. The focus is on structural, legal, economic and technical aspects in the administrative environment.
Link: PG Big Data