Technology and Innovation
As can be noticed, Spanish investment in R&D has been increased since 2014, though in moderation. The economic situation and the social convulsions that continue to happen globally have brought unavoidable consequences for the innovation system.
Companies began reducing their investment in R&D at the beginning of the recession, although in the public sector the effects wouldn’t be noticeable until 2011. The acceptance of the new scenario and the assimilation that, in order to be competitive, it is necessary to maintain the capacity for research and business innovation, have made the decline a bit less dramatic.
The particular reality of Malaga allows us to identify in the capital a group of companies with technological potential, which includes both technology-based companies (EBTs) and those that make intensive use of technology.
Technological companies play a leading role in the economy, since the application of technology to any sector of activity affects productivity, the optimization of processes and the ability to work of human teams.
Regarding innovation, the productive fabric of Malaga assimilates it as a strategic value, but the implementation of R&D investments could be much better. At a province level, the companies are in a continuous search for competitive improvement, especially through the development of internal R&D and training for innovation activities. The latter focus specifically on the development or introduction of new or improved products or processes.
On the other hand, investments in machinery and software are usually made to maintain the competitive level of the business activity. The most reasonable explanation for this being that the difficult economic situation experienced by companies leads them to focus more on the immediate result, trying to keep up with the demands of the market and making the best use of the resources they have, focusing less on exploring, detect and pose new challenges that make the company adapt to future scenarios to be sustainable and competitive over time.
All of the above tells us that we need to continue strengthening policies to support innovation for companies as a means to structure the productive fabric and increase competitiveness in absolute terms.
In this sense, we can mention the objectives of the Junta de Andalucía’s Impulse Strategy of the ICT Sector for 2020, aimed at promoting the development of economic activity linked to information technologies, and which, among other purposes, aims to create 5,000 new jobs in this sector.
Thus, among the main goals for the coming years, the document proposes to increase the weight of these activities in the regional GDP with respect to 2013 by more than 25%; the number of people employed by 15%; the companies’ internal expense in R&D by 30% and the volume of the exports also by 30%.
And we must not forget another driving element such as the creation of clusters, -like SmartCity, or the maritime or rail clusters-, which become strategic bets for the generation of wealth, employment and projection of the province.
Also noteworthy is the Digital Content Pole of Malaga, which aims to accelerate ideas, projects and technology companies working in the digital sector, or in the field of video games, virtual reality, holograms, digital marketing, ‘mapping’ or ultra- high definition, among many other disciplines.
In the first nine months since its opening, the Digital Content Pole of Malaga has generated an economic impact of seven and a half million euros and its activities in this period have attracted some 60,000 people.
Among the activities promoted include the celebration of “Gamepolis”, known as the largest festival of games in Andalusia; the e-Sports League, with more than six thousand spectators; the Virtual Reality Observatory; the Malaga Jam videogame event and the international manga, comic and series convention “FreakCon”.
Malaga’s council announced recently the expansion of its facilities, from 6,000 to 12,000 meters, given that many audio-visual production companies have shown great interest in locating in this space. In fact, initially, an only company will occupy the space and will also take charge of the necessary conditioning works. Likewise, Samsung has also announced its incorporation.
An additional question that should be considered to improve the levels of innovation and technology is the University-Business relationship. Undoubtedly, the University works as a relevant agent in this scenario as a source of knowledge generation, with a notable contribution on technological development.
Technology becomes a driving element of the economy, and is transversal to any activity, but it is also necessary to see it from the opportunity it entails for the generation of new businesses. In this sense, the following areas or technological areas are identified for their potential medium-term development: geolocation, mobility and ubiquity; solutions in the cloud; augmented reality; drones; generation of online experiences; identification, security and means of payment; networks; green technologies; biomedicine and e-health; the internet of things; big data and open data and robotics.