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IPCEI on Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services
12 EU Member States join forces to create a common cloud and edge infrastructure and its associated smart services for the future
Following the visit of German Chancellor Merkel to French President Macron at Bregançon Fort in August 2020, and the Franco-German Technological Dialogue of October 20, the foundation for an "Important Project of Common European Interest" (IPCEI) in the area of cloud and edge was laid during the German EU Presidency. In the Member State Joint Declaration on Building the next generation cloud for businesses and the public sector in the EU published in October 2020 all 27 EU Member States stated that innovative data processing capacities are an essential resource for Europe’s post COVID-19 recovery, long-term competitiveness and climate sustainability. To achieve this an integrated IPCEI on Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI-CIS) was initiated in December 2020. Germany and France are jointly coordinating this process, which has so far been joined by ten other EU Member States. So far, the countries of Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and The Netherlands have joined the initiative leading to the joint Manifesto for the Development of the Next-Generation Cloud Infrastructure & Services Capabilities in 2022.
IPCEIs are important projects of common European interest that follow specific criteria laid down in the 2021 IPCEI Communication. Notified and approved State aid can be directed towards co-financing projects contributing in a concrete, clear and identifiable manner to one or more EU objectives and must have a significant impact on competitiveness of the EU, sustainable growth, addressing societal challenges or value creation across the Union. The IPCEI-CIS will directly contribute to the implementation of the EU Data Strategy in particular to the set-up of the High Impact Project “to develop data processing infrastructures, data sharing tools, architectures and governance mechanisms for thriving data sharing and to federate energy-efficient and trustworthy cloud infrastructures and related services”. It will also contribute to the Review of the EU Industrial Strategy with regards to “strengthen Europe’s industrial position in the global cloud and edge computing market, notably addressing the trend towards increasing distribution and decentralisation of data processing capacities and the need to enable federated and vendor-agnostic cloud ecosystem”.
Cloud-edge technologies are considered to be the key enabler for data-driven new innovative business models for EU industry and digital governments. It is estimated that 80 percent of the data generated at users´ sites by using edge-cloud services will be processed where the data are generated. It is important to connect decentralised edges with central clouds in order to achieve high interoperability and portability of data and applications with guaranteed latency and bandwidth.
Currently, proprietary cloud and edge solutions are characterised by a lack of interoperability, portability, scalability and transparency. This prevents the EU industries and public administrations from fully seizing the data opportunity by exploiting the innovative potential itself. To overcome lock-in effects companies and users need flexibility and alternative choices.
In addition, the requirements, and expectations from industries towards the set-up of a common Multi Provider Cloud-Edge Continuum and its corresponding services have risen as ever. Reliable and ultra-secure processing capabilities with guaranteed latency and bandwidth are increasingly in demand for example in the manufacturing industry, with autonomous driving, in tourism industry with seamless travel, smart cities, in energy industry with microgrid management or in Healthcare with edge augmented operating rooms. Furthermore, data security, portability and sustainability in processing activities in line with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Free Flow of Non-Personal Data EU Regulation and the Green Deal are indispensable prerequisites for companies, public administrations and citizens.
The next generation of a Multi Provider Cloud-Edge Continuum and its associated services will enable synergies with existing initiatives such as GAIA-X.
We want to invest in Europe's technological leadership via the development and initial Roll-out of the next generation, sustainable, secure cloud-edge technologies, services and infrastructure. Data must be generated, searched, accessed, processed, and shared according to European values and rules.
The amount of data generated across the economy from diverse sources such as smart devices and sensors, will continue to grow fast. Generating additional value from the processing of this data offers the opportunity to increase Europe's economic prosperity and industrial attractiveness.
The IPCEI will thus contribute to the establishment of completely new benchmarks in terms of scalability, interoperability sustainability and trustworthiness which are essential to enable new data processing ecosystems and the building of robust and forward-looking industrial edge and cloud solutions.
The new cloud and edge solutions developed and initially deployed by a robust cloud-edge ecosystem in the framework of the IPCEI-CIS will also contribute to the EU Green Deal by putting emphasis on the energy efficiency and sustainability of the future data processing solutions.
These goals can only be achieved if EU Member States and companies work together with the support of the European Commission. The IPCEI instrument offers unique opportunities to join forces and create a seamless common cloud to edge infrastructure and associated smart services accessible to end-users across the EU.
The participating Member States have elaborated the scope and intended value chain of this integrated project with the support of the European Commission. Between October 2021 and January 2022 companies that had been selected by their respective Member States participated in a European matchmaking process. The aim of this process was to further develop the integrated project by developing cooperation and collaboration. The Member States have prenotified the integrated project to the European Commission in April 2022.