Technology and Innovation
The economic situation in recent years has had undeniable consequences for the innovation system. Companies began to reduce their Research and Development investment from the start of the crisis, although the effects were not noticed in the public sector until 2011. The acceptance of the new scenario and the assimilation that to maintain competitiveness it is necessary to maintain research capacity and business innovation; it is what has led to this decline being more moderate. Since 2014, R&D investment has been increasing but in very small amounts, and without recovering pre-crisis spent.
The communities with the highest percentage of spending on internal R&D activities on GDP were Basque Country (1.88% of GDP), Foral Community of Navarra (1.73%) and The Community of Madrid (1.68%). These communities, together with Catalonia, were the only ones that exceeded the national average.
According to the latest available data from the National Statistical Institute (INE) Innovation Survey, spending on technological innovation stood at EUR 13,857 million in 2016, an increase of 1.3% on the previous year.
With regard to the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and Content sector, society’s advancement in digitization, together with technological development, is taking place as citizens, companies and administrations perceive and value the benefits of new technologies, as well as having the necessary capabilities and resources for their adoption.
In this sense, the adequacy of the supply of products and services of the Information and Communication and Content Technologies Sector (ICTC) to the demand of society, plays a fundamental role and can be reflected in the evolution of sales of the ICTC sector.
The turnover of the ICT Sector in Spain in 2017 grew by 1.2% compared to the previous year. With this increase, it has maintained a positive trend in this indicator since 2012, when it stood at 77,304 million euros. In 2017, the figure reached is 87,627 million euros, around 10 billion above.
Not with the fact that Malaga is in Malaga, the Malaga reality allows us to identify in the capital a growing collective of companies with technological potential, a more inclusive concept that allows us to include both technology-based companies (EBTs) and those that they make intensive use of technology.
Technology companies play a leading role in the economy, but the application of technology to any sector of activity also affects the productivity, process optimization and work capacity of human teams.
With regard to innovation, the business ecosystem assimilates it as a strategic value, but the realization of investments in R&D strictly can be improved. The companies of the province are in a continuous search for competitive improvement, especially through internal R&D activities and training for innovation activities. Mostly dedicated specifically to the development or introduction of new or improved products, services or processes.
On the other hand, investments in machinery, software are frequently undertaken to maintain the competitive level of business. The most reasonable explanation suggests that the difficult economic situation crossed by companies has led them to orient themselves more to the immediate outcome, trying to live up to market demands and exploiting as best as possible the resources with which focusing less on exploring, detecting and posing new challenges to be sustainable and competitive over time, although it is true, companies are gradually detaching themselves from the consequences suffered by the crisis.
All of the above leads us to conclude the need to continue to support innovation drive policies for companies as a means of building the productive fabric and increasing competitiveness in absolute terms.
In this sense, the ICT Sector 2020 Boost Strategy of the Junta de Andalucía aimed at supporting the development of economic activity linked to information technologies, and among other objectives it aims to create 5,000 new jobs in this sector.
Among the main targets for these years, it is proposed to increase by more than 25% the weight of these activities in regional GDP compared to 2013; by 1% the number of employees; by 30% of corporate R&D expenditure, and by another 30% the volume of exports.
Some experts consider that the usage of ICTs to be the cause of synergies that in turn produce innovations in advanced manufacturing processes, in the medical and health industry, in environmental protection and in other applications and sectors.
We must not forget another movement element such as Clusters. Highlights in Málaga SmartCity, Maritime Andalusian, railway or aeronautical, which become strategic bets for the generation of wealth, employment and projection of the province.
Also highlight, the National Pole of Digital Contents of Malaga, first of these characteristics in Spain, inaugurated in June 2017, was born with the objective to become the push project of Digital Contents in Spain. It aims to accelerate ideas, projects and technology companies working in the digital sector, whether in the field of video games, virtual reality, holograms, digital marketing, ‘mapping’ or ultra-high definition, among many other disciplines. Inside are distributed areas for micro-enterprises, for training, area of ‘startups’, showrooms, eSport area, coworking space, video recording studios, FabLab (3D digital printing), motion capture studios and areas of creation of video games, animation and graphic design, reaching almost 12,000 square meters after its expansion.
The economic impact achieved is more than ten million euros per year and its activities in this period have attracted about 90,000 people.
Among the activities promoted are the celebration of “Gamepolis”, known as the largest game festival in Andalusia, the Observatory of Virtual Reality; the Malaga Jam video game event, the 4k Summit or the 5G Forum. It has also hosted 17 eSports tournaments that have carried 40,000 online views of the LOL Survival League, with the participation of 2,255 people and 260 players.
Education is one of the main pillars on which the National Pole of Digital Contents is based and its educational model is based on the achievement of academic excellence and the practical execution of projects in connection with the business reality. That is why it focuses on promoting training close to market demand, with a job placement rate of 87% of the Youth Guarantee students who have trained in their facilities.
More than 1,000 students have been trained in one of the 58 courses and a master of video games of the UMA taught in its facilities, reaching 3,884 hours of training and more than 85% of students hired.
An additional issue to be asked to improve the levels of innovation and technology is the University-Company relationship. Undoubtedly, the University functions as a relevant agent in this scenario as a source of knowledge generation, with a remarkable contribution on technological development.