[see also: Preliminary Information]

IST 99 - Making the Information Society a Reality for All

Erkki Liikanen

European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society

Erkki Tuomioja

Minister of Trade and Industry, Finland


The information society can only be a success if it becomes a reality for everyone.

It is our conviction that all European citizens should get the full benefits of the new technologies in terms of new and high-quality jobs, better health, increased prosperity, and improved security.

Equally, all companies and public organisations should benefit from the information society by becoming more effective, efficient and innovative.

It should be our common aim to harness the flow of new ideas, technologies and applications of the information society for better economic performance and increased competitiveness, and combine this with the more general objective of increasing the quality of life of all citizens.

This is what we mean by ‘creating e-quality of life’, the European Commission’s slogan at the recent Telecom 99 conference; or as it is expressed in the national information society strategy of Finland: developing the information society on the basis of human needs and sustainability.


Europe has great potential to realise such an information society: one that will foster the European identity and European values, and bring benefits to all, independently of their age, background or abilities.

Europe is a global economic power: it has the Euro as a common currency, and is a well-appreciated partner in international co-operation.

Europe is making a major contribution to the emerging global information society with its rich history and culture, its diversity in patterns of living and working, its human-scale values, its care for the elderly and people with special needs, and its excellence in science and technology.

Europe is well placed to drive the future of the information society in key areas such as mobile communications, smart cards, e-banking, language technologies, navigation systems, and manufacturing software. Some European countries are amongst the most advanced in Internet usage. No better way to illustrate this than in the host country, Finland, itself a leader in the information society.


Meeting citizens’ expectations, and exploiting Europe’s potential and strengths to achieve widespread acceptance of the information society, requires vision, coherent action and commitment.

We are committed to make the information society a reality for all through an integrated approach in advancing technology, improving skills, promoting investment, and adapting legislation.

Technologies such as smart cards can find many new applications in health and social services and in security. Awareness and education of all citizens about the use and potential of these types of technologies and applications will be needed to make this a reality across Europe.

Awareness about the many new business opportunities that originate from the information society also needs to be combined with the willingness to invest and a positive attitude to entrepreneurial risk-taking. The information society can become a society in which innovation thrives

The revision of the Internal Market rules for digital business can make cross-border electronic commerce flourish in Europe provided that a commitment is made to update skills in technology, improve the understanding of legislation and develop new business models. New approaches will also be needed to the telecommunications legal framework, which is being challenged by new converging technologies and new market developments.

We need to imagine joint action by all the key players involved, based on dialogue, vision, and realism. This conference, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the Finnish Presidency of the European Union, provides the opportunity for an open dialogue bringing vision and commitment to action together.

In this spirit, we are proud to welcome you to take part in the IST 99 conference, in an exploration of the road towards the future information society, in making new friends and building new partnerships, and in renewing our commitment to the realisation of an information society that brings benefits to all.

IST 99 conference: showcase of the future and meeting place to explore visions and actions

The IST 99 conference, “Exploring the Information Society” is the conference in Europe of the information society community. It is a unique meeting place for business people, researchers, and politicians from all over the world.

IST 99 opens a window on the future of the information society in terms of technologies and applications, the legal and regulatory framework, visionary scenarios of how people will live in the future, emerging job opportunities, how business will be competitive, and how governments will serve citizens. It addresses the relationships between all these elements and how they can support each other.

The conference will also present information about future R&D in the EU Information Society Technologies programme.

Realising the information society for the benefit of all citizens requires involvement and dialogue of all key players and joint action balancing vision and realism. Participating to the IST 99 conference offers the opportunity to jointly explore visions and actions, based on the most recent insights and innovative developments, and to build new partnerships to realise the information society of the 21st century.


The IST99 exhibition, which will cover some 4000 sqm will consist of 4 main elements:

R&D technology

The major part of the exhibition will be oriented towards results from previous Commission R&D Programmes in information and communications technologies. Some 80 projects will display their results, clustered in accordance with the main topics of the conference.

Special villages and pavilions

Several area’s in the exhibition will be devoted to special theme’s. Important Finnish technology applications and research activities will be presented in the ‘meeting Finland’ pavilion . The 25 winners of the European IST Prize will show their technologies and products in the EISTP village and some highly interactive music generating technologies will be hosted in the ‘Interaction CafĂ©’.

International contributions

Several non-EU countries will present their research activities and will be looking for R&D collaboration. The Central and Eastern European counties will be strongly represented, as well as a number of non-EU Mediterranean countries and other countries associated to the 5th Framework Programme.

Information stands

Projects and actions of a horizontal nature will inform the visitor on their awareness activities, support actions and services. Some of them are from within the IST Programme, others originate from initiatives like the Global Cities Dialogue or EUREKA. Last but not least, the key actions and messages of the Information Society Directorate General of the European Commission will be displayed in a visual and attractive manner.


The Investment Forum offers an opportunity for promising European Information Society Technology ventures to come together and to meet leading investors, advisors and industrialists. IST companies seeking capital can apply to present their business and fund-raising plans. The Forum will also include discussions on Europe’s high-tech investment prospects, processes and policies.

The presentations on technologies, applications, policies and the exhibition build upon work supported by the European Commission, in particular by the Information Society Directorate General.

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