IT alliance: Europe must be on par with the USA when it comes to the cloud


On Friday, 27 European technology companies presented the EU Commission with a roadmap for the next generation of the Internet with a focus on cloud computing. According to the 75-page paper, politics and companies in Europe should drive the development of “data sovereign services” in the coming years that keep up with the offers of hyperscalers in the USA and Asia and thus provide serious alternatives to Amazon’s cloud services, Alibaba, Google and Microsoft can make.

To the authors of the “Roadmap” belong to corporations such as Airbus, Amadeus, Atos, De-Cix, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Ionos, Nokia, Orange, OVHCloud, SAP, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Telefónica and Telecom Italia. you worked out their proposal after a round table with EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in December. With an update for its industrial strategy, the Commission has just announced that it intends to set up a cloud alliance in the second quarter.

According to the initiative, by 2025 the European cloud industry should “be known worldwide for its technological leadership and competitiveness in terms of climate neutrality, cybersecurity, trustworthy data exchange and interoperability and shape global standards”. The EU could take on a pioneering role in this field through the development of highly energy-efficient infrastructures, the use of low-consumption hardware and software, improved resource management, energy mix and increased cooling capacity of data centers.

In order to create sustainable data services in the computer clouds and on the edge of the network with so-called edge computing, the EU must focus on security and use, for example, “innovative hardware encryption technologies”, writes the IT alliance. Solutions that enable secure communication networks as well as adequate management of cyber attacks are important.

According to the authors, promoting openness, interoperability and the ability to manage an ecosystem with multiple providers is also crucial in terms of future demand. At the same time, users would be able to “further adapt cloud edge services to their own needs”. By defining common standards and building central components, European actors could take on a leading role.

In the interest of efficient use, the European infrastructure will need “advanced network management and orchestration technology” as well as neutral connection services, according to the task book. This is the only way to implement innovative large-scale applications. In addition to fast landline connections, a high-performance 5G cellular network is a prerequisite for this.

Existing European offers for infrastructure services must be strengthened, demand the signatories. The focus should be on “sovereign options” “that correspond to global standards in terms of price and reliability”. Europe is lagging behind, especially when it comes to online platforms. A killer app for this could be legally compliant offers and standards for sharing, in particular, non-personal machine data. Existing public and private initiatives such as the European Gaia-X cloud project should be used “to align with this common goal”.

According to industry representatives, the EU should also prepare for big data solutions “which are expected to be mature by 2030”. This includes “swarm computing” with the help of intelligent edge devices that “work together automatically and securely to perform complex tasks”. Such a swarm of computers will “increasingly contain nanotechnological components” in the form of “smart dust”.

Companies also see collaborative robots and exoskeleton suits, advanced human-machine interfaces and interactive augmented reality environments on the horizon. There are also neural interfaces, computers that can understand emotions, and advances in the direction of “General Artificial Intelligence”. Such new forms of computing power are linked to many questions about security, ethics and sustainability, which the EU should address at an early stage.