While ICTs offer many advantages to European society, their impact will not be fully felt until all Europeans can use them.
But European society is changing – the proportion of population over 65 will increase from 20% to 28% between now and 2025, and by 2050 the old-age dependency ratio will have risen by over 160% from the 1985 level.
ICTs can help meet this challenge: extending the time elderly people can spend living independently in their preferred environment, for example, and providing a new generation of products and services to help integrate people at risk of exclusion. Such systems both address pressing societal needs and offer major opportunities for European industry.
The ICTs themselves, however, have to change, becoming more userfriendly, personalised and accessible to all.