NESSI Summit 2014 - Big Data Value and Software Innovation for Europe - held on the 27th May

On the 27th May, Sofitel Hotel in Brussels, more than 80 people participated in interesting discussions about the European software industry, software engineering and “Big Data Value” for Europe. Researchers, policy makers, and industry representatives from Europe were present at the NESSI Summit 2014 and contributed to make the conference a great success with many very interesting presentations and a very good atmosphere for discussion.

After a welcome speech by Jan Sundelin, co-chair of the NESSI Board, and an opening speech by Mario Campolargo, Director of Directorate E "Net Futures" in DG CONNECT, the participants had the opportunity to attend to three enriching panel discussions and exchange with the speakers.

The first addressed the major statement of the ISTAG report 2012 "Software Technologies, the Missing Key Enabling Technology", outlining that "Missing the strategic importance of software technology as a key enabling technology will lead to a significant drawback for global competitiveness". The two members of the European Commission present in this panel, Giuseppe Abbamonte, director for media and data in DG Connect, as well as Jorge Gasos, head of sector for Cloud and Software Research and Standards, provided their policy expertise to tackle these issues. Giuseppe Abbamonte outlined that research and innovation was fundamental for the future of Europe and that Software is a key driver for productivity and growth. Mr. Gasos presented the great potential of Cloud computing, and explained that Europe’s cloud strategy aims at supporting industrial and public sector innovation by providing new business opportunities.

The second panel focused on research and innovation potentials for software, services and cloud. Another statement from the ISTAG Report, claiming that "A Strategic Agenda for Software Technologies in Europe should be created in cooperation with Industry, Academia and Public sector", was discussed. It was moderated by Josef Urban, Head of Software and Security Research at Nokia, who pointed out that today the telecommunication equipment providers’ revenue share based on Software and Services was much more important than the revenue share based on hardware. Michel Cosnard, Chairman and CEO of INRIA, insisted on the fact that NESSI’s responsibility was to raise awareness of Software importance in Europe and to put this topic higher on the agenda, explaining that “Software is now everywhere”. Andreas Metzger (Head of Adaptive Systems and Future Internet Applications, Paluno, The Ruhr Institute for Software Technology, the University of Duisburg-Essen, gave a presentation about the Software Engineering White Paper (see column NESSI’s current activities), underlying the fundamental importance of Software Engineering in developing key sectors such as Cloud computing, Cyber Physical Systems, and Big Data. He also pointed out the need to define a clearer Software Engineering Research Strategy. On the Panel were also present Ken Ducatel, (Head of Unit E2, Software and Services, Cloud, DG Connect, European Commission) and Michal Skubacz, (Head of Business Analytics & Monitoring Research, Corporate Technology, Siemens).
The last panel tackled the issue of Big Data Value innovation for Europe, discussing the following statement to single out the opportunities and challenges in this area: "Big Data - possibly one of the few last chances for Europe's software industry to take true leadership" (K.-H. Streibich, CEO, Software AG). This session was moderated by Edward Curry, Research Scientist and Unit leader at Insight, National University of Ireland, Galway. Professor Stefan Wrobel from Fraunhofer presented the benefits of a potential data-driven economy. He underlined Europe’s current weaknesses in improving the value of its Big Data market. Indeed, he pointed out that US companies are actually in the lead in using Big Data, followed by Latin American ones. He presented a survey which shows that 68% of the companies in the US had undertaken at least one Big Data initiative in 2012, whereas only 45% of companies in Europe were involved in such a project. He identified some barriers in the European Big Data market, such as the lack of skilled people in gathering, developing and creating business value from data, the complexity of privacy regulation, the insufficient budget concerning research and innovation on data, as well as the issue of interoperability, reliability and access to large data sets. Mr. Wrobel then explained how a contractual Public-Private Partnership could solve these problems and strengthen the European Big Data market. Michael Beigl, Professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), gave afterwards a presentation about the Smart Data Innovation Lab, a German initiative which aims at transferring knowledge between industry and research and which would be one of the core elements of the Big Data Value Partnership. 

Emmanuel Miconnet (Research Director, Thales) and Gabriela Cattaneo (Senior Associate Vice President, IDC European Government Consulting) gave then two interesting presentations, respectively about thetransformation of software in Europe and about the European Big Data market. Mr. Miconnet showed that open source was now the standard for software development and that clouds are the new server paradigms. Gabriella Cattaneo pointed out that the worldwide development of the amount of data constitutes a huge potential for improving Europes's competitiveness and delivering social benefits. Indeed, the Big Data market is expected to grow significantly during the next years, providing many opportunities for large companies and SMEs.
Finally, participants had the opportunity to exchange with two Work Group leaders for two of NESSI’s key activities. Indeed, they could discuss the White Paper on “Software Engineering: Key Enabler for Innovation” with Dr. Andreas Metzger and the “Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda on Big Data Value” with Julie Marguerite, European research cooperation manager of Thales. These face-to-face meetings were the occasion to better understand NESSI’s current activities. Moreover, the inputs received by Mr. Metzger and Ms. Marguerite were taken into account in the finalization of these two documents.

You can find more information about the event on the NESSI website, including the agenda with all the participants, the presentations of the panelists and some pictures.

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