The emergence and development of new cloud computing technologies, services and solutions is enabling more and more businesses to overcome many long-standing market limitations, drastically transforming the way software is created and consumed, and providing businesses with countless new opportunities to cut costs, scale up, and internationalise.
Cloud computing technology itself is not new, yet its potential is still being discovered and is far from being fully explored. The term cloud computing refers to the on-demand delivery of computer system resources through the internet, meaning the end-user can remotely access data storage and computing power without direct active management of the necessary equipment.
Many businesses, organisations and individuals have already been impacted by this technology in their day-to-day life, witnessing the transition from traditional offline software to online cloud alternatives (e.g. the shift from downloadable Microsoft Office packages to Office 365, or the increasing usage of Google Drive), but the potential of the technology goes much further.
Cloud computing cuts many overhead costs related to managing on-premise computer resources, particularly when it comes to scaling up a business. The most costly aspects are the management, energy consumption and maintenance costs needed for server storage across a distributed system, which can be cut down by the concentration of data servers at a singular data centre. This centralisation offers further advantages in ensuring data security and strengthening measures to prevent data loss, with the added potential of minimising the environmental impact of data storage – providing many new opportunities for pursuing Green ICT through cloud computing technology.
However, despite these numerous advantages, many companies are still investing time and resources into the maintenance and management of servers on their own premises due to the lack of a “cloud-culture” and a general lack of trust towards cloud-based solutions and infrastructures.
This is a particular barrier that Europe needs to overcome in order to compete with US giants such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, that have successfully leveraged cloud technology through hyperscale computing – allowing them to run massive data infrastructures to provide their services globally.
The European Commission has recognised the role of the European Cloud Community (ECC) in growing and leading the creation of a Single Digital Market in Europe. However, the market remains too fragmented, and too inhibited by the lack of trust of cloud services to effectively compete with companies outside the EU. To develop the full potential of the European Cloud Community, a common European agenda and a united vision towards cloud computing is required.
The Horizon Cloud (H-CLOUD) project was therefore funded by the Commission to address this issue. H-CLOUD aims to inform the European Commission and relevant stakeholders from the business and research communities of the best strategies in implementing cloud computing in Europe, through producing policy papers, and conducting research on individual sectors and how they can better utilise cloud computing. This policy development work is conducted in full alignment with other existing EU policies, notably, the EU Green Deal policy.
H-CLOUD’s goal is to create a set of collaborative content, tools and actions to increase collaboration in Europe and beyond, while aligning on a common direction towards a European Cloud agenda, including leading the definition of the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda for Cloud Computing to recommend strategies for future cloud services and their necessary market regulations.
AcrossLimits is responsible for leading the business development actions within H-CLOUD, supporting the project through our consolidated expertise in exploitation and sustainability analysis, implementation, and promotion. Our main goal is to ensure that the assets created through H-CLOUD become a viable and valuable legacy for the project, exploiting any potential they may have to be taken to the wider market, after proper market testing and incubation. Through our European network of entrepreneurs, SMEs, business angels and business organisations we aim to generate interest in the project and explore possibilities for exploiting these assets. We are also involved in developing an openly accessible catalogue of initiatives, best practices, and knowledge relating to cloud computing.
The next milestone in paving the way for a new cloud computing strategy in Europe, is the Horizon Cloud Summit 2020, which will be hosted on the 25th and 26th of November 2020. The Summit gathers researchers and innovators, cloud stakeholders, as well as cloud initiatives and projects to be on top of the relevant technology and market developments.
H-CLOUD organises the following thematic sessions:
1) From Digital Europe to High Impact Project – The Role of Cloud Computing
2) Cloud Computing research challenges
3) Success stories, best practices and use cases for innovating through Cloud adoption
This two-day programme of inspiring talks, thought-provoking debates and collaborative workshops, is open for free to anyone interested in discovering the potential of this technology and its future, or to contribute to shaping a European agenda for cloud computing.
Find out more about the Horizon Cloud Summit, and register for free here: