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The Digital Transformation of Europe

SAN JOSE – Europe is on the cusp of an unprecedented technological transformation. I call it the Internet of Everything: the penetration of the World Wide Web into the everyday aspects of our lives. Wearable technology will tell us how well we are sleeping and whether we need to exercise. Sensors in the street will help us avoid traffic jams and find parking. Telemedicine applications will allow physicians to treat patients who are hundreds of miles away.

This massive transition will transform how citizens interact with their governments, revolutionize entire industries, and change the way we engage with one another. In Europe, the Internet of Everything is emerging as the single most promising way to revive a moribund economy and tackle the continent's stubborn unemployment problem, with companies, cities, and even countries positioning themselves as leaders in innovation, growth, and the creation of jobs.

The most recent example is France. Last month, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and I announced an ambitious partnership to promote a digital transformation of the entire country. The collaboration, which includes a $100 million investment from Cisco in French startups, could transform energy management, health care, and education – boosting France's economic competitiveness, job creation, dynamism, and growth in the process.

France's program is a major step toward a digital Europe, following German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Industrie 4.0 initiative and the United Kingdom's planned expansion of innovation centers to foster technological breakthroughs and pioneer solutions in energy, transport, health care, and education.