On 23 September 2015, the European Commission launched a public consultation on information and communications technology ("ICT") standards for creation of a Digital Single Market. This follows on from the Commission's Digital Single Market strategy, adopted in May 2015, which describes 16 initiatives for delivery by the end of 2016.

It is hoped that achieving a Digital Single Market will open up opportunities and lead to significant growth in Europe's economy and unlocking of e-commerce potential. The Commission has produced a fact sheet outlining the benefits which it considers will flow from a Digital Single Market. A copy of this factsheet may be accessed here.

ICT standards are the pillar of the Commission's vision and it recognises them as being critical to the operation of a Digital Single Market. Such standards are required to make different systems work together and to promote the use of open platforms and interoperability of devices, applications, systems and services. According to the Commission, ICT standards are needed to boost innovation and reinforce competitiveness across the EU. There is no escaping digitisation and therefore, the Commission's view is that interoperability is essential to ensure that Europe fully adapts to the digital transformation.

Input is invited from Standards Development Organisations, companies, SMEs, national regulators, researchers, stakeholders' associations, public authorities and any other interested parties.

The consultation is set to focus on the following key technological areas:

5G communications Cloud computing Cybersecurity Data driven services and applications Digitisation of European Industry eHealth Intelligent Transport Systems Internet of Things Smart Cities and efficient energy use

A link to the consultation may be found here. It will close on 16 December 2015.

The Commission intends to consider the input collected from this Consultation alongside other input it is obtaining from ICT standardisation experts. This information will be used to build an ICT Priority Standards Plan by the first half of 2016 which will set priorities to ensure that the most relevant standards are developed in a timely manner.