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Decreasing the Digital Divide by Increasing E-Innovation and E-Readiness Abilities in Agriculture and Rural Areas

Miklós Herdon, Szilvia Botos and László Várallyai
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Miklós Herdon: Department of Business and Agricultural Informatics, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
Szilvia Botos: Economic Analysis Methodology and Applied Informatics Institute, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
László Várallyai: Department of Business and Agricultural Informatics, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

International Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Information Systems (IJAEIS), 2015, vol. 6, issue 1, 1-18

Abstract: Technologies and skills in the ICT sector have rapidly advanced in the past forty years, but the profession has not kept up with this process. Unfortunately, poorly qualified colleagues are even found in sector today. The EU ensures that the knowledge, skills and creativity of the European workforce (including ICT practitioners) meet the highest standards, by using effective lifelong learning. ICT programs offer workers the full advantage of strategic and operational opportunities. More and better qualified ICT practitioners and e-skilled managers are needed to take advantage of them. That is why e-skills are a central aspect of European policies, which increase the competitiveness and productivity of the workforce. Education providers, government and industries have to collaborate to accomplish these goals. Important factors of the digital divide are networking, internet penetration and services, as well as e-skills on all levels. This research and developments focus on the discovery of the differences in the e-readiness and developing of education programs in agri-informatics to reduce the digital gaps in agriculture and rural areas. In the first part of the article, the usage of network services were evaluated on two regional levels. On the national level, it analyzed the EU member states, in order to compare their actual development level. On a micro-regional level, the SMEs of a typical rural settlement were evaluated, since within the functional analysis, the evaluation of rural regions has grown in importance and, with regard to territory and population, Hungary is mainly classified as a rural area. 106 enterprises were involved in this study and the data collected during the research were derived by Principal Component and Cluster analyses. Farms consider network services to be unnecessary because of the nature of their work, even though most of the factors included in the analysis were considered important or expressly important by service and commercial enterprises, regardless of the applications they use. The second part of the article presents those educational tools which could increase the e-readiness of SMEs and principally aid agricultural enterprises.

Date: 2015
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