Thought Leadership and Insight from EBRC

Alexander Duwaerts

For this edition Datacloud spoke to Alexander Duwaerts

Datacloud: What do you see as the future drivers for the industry?

Much faster than we had imagined, we find ourselves fully engaged in the use of Artificial Intelligence, or so called “Industry 4.0”. In a study published in July 2017, a global IT stakeholder predicted that AI could lead to a 38% increase in business profitability by 2035. Inversely, businesses – including SMEs – who do not take the step towards big data and its technologies for analysis, statistics and prediction, could disappear due to a lack of competitiveness.

We have all witnessed the power of these new tools in the behavioural analyses conducted using the data from social networks. This was most evident in various scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, during the Brexit referendum, and in the 2016 US elections which highlighted the omnipotence of those who have mastered the technology. This demonstration of effectiveness has revealed an imperative need to better protect data. Such control over data - and its resulting excesses and manipulations - could contribute to creating a dangerous counterpoise, and could de facto threat the democratic and independent model of our societies.

Those findings demonstrate the needs of a control trough regulation. The European Union has consolidated the legislation on the management of personal data through the GDPR. Data protection and availability have been identified as geopolitical and economic issues for the European States and companies alike.

Today, Data Centres and their uses, such as the Cloud, are of major importance in our ultra-connected lives and economies. Any downtime immediately affects the economic flows as well as human communications. The resilience required by this industrial model involves necessarily new arrangements. As an example, the Estonian digital embassy designed to protect the country’s data outside of its borders, is a world first. This offshored backup, which is similar to the method used by national banks to put their gold reserves in a safe place, confirms that data is the key component of this new revolution.

EBRC will therefore continue down the path of data-centric services, with a strong focus on security and cyber-resilience. It is also necessary to capitalise on a portfolio of services with the aim of providing our customers with a one-stop shop comprising advanced infrastructures with three certified Tier IV Data Centres. On this basis, EBRC, together with its partners, orchestrates and develops a European ecosystem focused on data and the valuation thereof, thus providing customers with the means of entering into this new economy.

Datacloud: What regions within Europe do you see as primed for IT asset expansion?

Our customers take into account 4 criteria for the management and processing of their data:
1. The territory: the economic area, the country, the political model, stability and applicable laws.
2. Resilient Data Centre infrastructures and telecommunication networks: routes and access, latency, the operators and their level.
3. Overall attractiveness: ease of doing business, taxation, technical skills, innovations, and therefore everything that can accelerate business and create value.
4. Finally, with increasing interest over the years: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and the reduction of the carbon footprint.

In this context, Luxembourg is ideally located in the heart of Europe, offering direct access to 70% of the European GDP within a radius of less than 700 km. Additionally, for the past twenty years, the country has entirely transformed its infrastructures and now has network coverage comprising low-latency broadband telecom links (Frankfurt < 4.5 ms; Paris < 4.6ms; London < 8ms), a guarantee of electronic competitiveness. EBRC has positioned three Tier IV Data Centres of 5,000 sqm server space each at the heart of this network, and offers a range of integrated services aimed at quickly and easily setting up new international customers. Over the past three years, additional efforts have enabled EBRC to reduce its CO2 emissions by 10,000 tonnes per year. Since 2000, the use of 100% green energy and a 100% availability rate show that “green” and “efficiency” go hand in hand.

In 2015, the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy drew up a strategic development plan for 2050 subsequently to a prospective mission conducted by Jeremy Rifkin. The plan includes a technological component whose implementation is intended to attract new businesses that will see in IT an opportunity to accelerate their development in these new sectors. We can cite for instance the following three initial measures (source: website of the Luxembourg government):
1. The implementation of an infrastructure offering high-level capabilities for processing complex models, with the establishment of a structure in the area of HPC (High performance Computing).
2. The deployment of technological platforms co-developed for industry and the world of public research. This joint approach makes it possible to offer more advanced services and strengthens economic efficiency through stronger and shorter exchanges between the stakeholders.
3. The creation of a national Internet of energy.

Datacloud: What is one of your goals for the next year and how do you expect to achieve it?

EBRC intends to continue developing and positioning its unique offer in Europe. This will be achieved through external growth operations on the one hand, and by establishing alliances on the other hand, thus creating a high-performance international network and concretizing presence and accessibility in all respects in the best conditions.

In 2017, EBRC took a participating interest in the capital of Digora, a French stakeholder specialising in the world of structured data, and has struck up alliances and exchanges with DARZ in Germany, BrainServe in Switzerland and MIGSOLV in England.

Datacloud: How can our sector help to improve society?

Data Centres are at the heart of our connected and cyber-regulated societies. To date, their role has been limited to storing data. Now, they are also powerful drivers of growth. Even more so when you consider the potential linked to processing such data, and the resulting potential improvement to our lifestyles.

Here are a few examples of improvements made possible by digital transformation:
1. The hosting of health data will make it possible to develop a new, personalised form of medicine. Saving lives while ensuring the maximum protection of privacy, including through the use of new developments such as telemedicine.
2. Observing the earth from space and keeping a history of such observations will enable scientists and entrepreneurs to design an infinite number of analysis models at the service of a sustainable and more respectful development of Earth.
3. In the area of transport, self-driving cars will draw and exchange their data from and with the Data Centres, thus improving passengers’ safety by anticipating and understanding their environment.

These changes which will affect our daily lives will need, first and foremost, to take into account the protection of data in order to ensure its security, quality, availability and confidentiality, for the benefit of our lives.

Since its inception, EBRC has made the protection of sensitive data its primary business. The company has also crystallized its values in the acronym EARTH – Excellence, Agility, Resilience, Trust & Human – which reflect the materialization of a code of ethics specific to the vision of our business.

Yves Reding, Chief Executive Officer EBRC, will be at the Datacloud Europe 2018 congress in Monaco June 12-14th. Meet them there

EBRC - European Business Reliance Centre
5, rue Eugène Ruppert L-2453 Luxembourg
Phone (+352) 2606-1
Fax. (+352) 2606-2090