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IT One Gala 2021: Luxembourg ICT experts at the forefront of the data economy marathon

On December 7th at LuxExpo the Box, more than 500 people attended the 15th edition of IT One Gala, organised by Farvest, which annually gathers the Luxembourg IT Community to highlight the most technological, innovative and inspiring projects that the country has to offer. After an insightful conference focused on the data economy and an enriching networking cocktail, the evening ended with a prestigious dinner and the much-anticipated Luxembourg ICT Awards' Ceremony. 

After a 2020 edition organised in a digital format, ITOne Gala, the largest networking event of the IT industry in the Grand Duchy, was back in a physical format. Aiming at highlighting and sharing insights of some of the most followed IT experts from the country, the audience shared views on innovative projects and which technologies are redesigning the ecosystem offering Luxembourg to be recognised as a digital nation.

“We are living in challenging times and Luxembourg as a digital nation and a gateway to Europe is at the forefront of changes to build sustainable technology and innovative future. IT companies have been precursors in helping organisations step into digital transformation and more than ever they are setting the pace since data has become the new oil ”, said Charlotte Boutelier & Margaux Vetzel, Managing Directors, Farvest agency, as they kicked off this 15th edition of the IT One Gala, which is a great opportunity “to federate the IT community and to stay ahead of the trends”.

Mario Grotz, Director General for Industry, New Technologies and Research, Ministry of the Economy, President, Luxinnovation, then opened the conference "The data economy marathon". With the increasing digitalization in all areas, we are witnessing a “tsunami of data that has become the new oil”, explained Grotz, and Luxembourg is a “data economy frontrunner” in the EU' with “a clear, credible and respected vision”. The Grand Duchy participates in numerous international initiatives such as Gaia-X and has established many partnerships in the sector. The Meluxina supercomputer, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe and the 4th greenest in the world, is part of this dynamic.

Oxana Turtureanu, Co-Founder & COO, digitalUs, Master of ceremonies, then invited experts to spotlight their projects and tell the audience about their “innovation journey” .

It started with Yves Le Traon, Professor in Computer Science - Systems and Software Reliability - Deputy Director of SnT, delivering the first keynote speech entitled "Building a Data Science Lab in a financial company". Le Traon described the key steps to build a data science lab, using AI and Machine Learning as key enablers. First, the preparation, where you need to work on concrete use cases thanks to data available. Then you develop use cases in the lab and start to accumulate knowledge and improve methodology and intern processes. “After a while, we are entering in a continuous improvement loop where you can deploy and evolve“, Le Traon stated, while financial companies are looking for personalised services, clear business strategy and KPI, proper risk management and internal processes.

David Dab, National Technology Officer at Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg, then took the stage to address how to "Capture the potential of the new model economy". According to him “data is even better than oil as it can be used and reused”. With Machine Learning, a new way of solving problems has emerged which has a huge value creation potential. But to play a role in this new economy and its winners-take-all dynamics, you need a lot of data and to be able to access it. By entering the race early, more people use it offering better data and feeding models that become, with the time, even better. You need to embrace cloud technology. In this new environment, ensuring the protection of data AND its use is key. This is what confidential computing technology enables. Confidential computing is the technology of the future, which closes the encryption triptych (Data at rest, Data in transit, Data in use), according to Dab.

The conference continued with a Q&A session, moderated by Emilia Tantar, Chief Data and AI Officer at Black Swan LUX, President of Luxembourg AI national mirror committee and delegate on AI standardisation in the CEN CENELEC JTC 21 Strategic Advisory Group and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 42 working groups and Alexandru Tantar, Business Analytics Group Leader, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Black Swan Lux Board Member.

The first questions were addressed to Jean-Christophe Witz, CIO of Husky Injection Molding System by Alexandru Tantar. He was asked about the "Factory of the Future" project of his company and how the implemented system has allowed the complete digitisation of the process. He mainly highlighted that digitisation “is a journey” both in terms of people and infrastructure. It took two years to change the backbone of digital infrastructure to enable digital transformation. To embark the team, you have to “change the management process to enable people to understand the goals, to know what you will gain”.

It was then the turn of Philipp Jäggi, CIO of Laboratoires Réunis and CIO of the Year 2020, to answer some questions from Emilia Tantar about the way he and his company answered a national and urgent requirement during the Covid-19 crisis. What Philipp Jäggi wanted to underline was how everyone in Laboratoires réunis was focused on a common goal and how great things could be achieved when it happens, such as creating applications from scratch in 4 weeks. He also listed three main factors of resilience: a microservices architecture, a hybrid cloud architecture and good governance in a broadest sense.

At the end of this Q&A session, the speakers met for a round-table discussion to address some considerations on data and AI regulation in Europe. For Philipp Jäggi, AI is both a danger and an opportunity, so it's about finding the right balance. There is a need for regulation but at the same time, you need freedom of exploring technology, a startup should not need a year to be compliant”.

Moving forward with Fabrice Aresu, Chief Executive Officer of LuxTrust, who highlighted the issues related to citizenship and sovereignty in a Global Data Economy involved in the Gaia-X project. First of all, Gaia-X is about “interlinking and data sharing” and it’s based on EU values and standards. “Gaia-X is the GDPR of the cloud”, said Aresu. But Gaia-X is not a European centric project. It aims to obtain better data insights and quality in a transparent and user driven way. In the future, Gaia-X-labelled services could emerge as a source of trust for the general public. “This certification could be a commercial argument”, explained Aresu.

The last keynote session, presented by Ludovic Gilles, Head of Department - Enterprise Sales, POST Telecom, was dedicated to “POST and 5G, drivers of innovation and digitization in Luxembourg”. Above all, 5G meets a need. With the constant growth of mobile data worldwide, the 4G network will simply become congested within a few years. 5G means more capacity, less energy use, higher speed, low latency and dedicated reliable service quality. Gilles then outlined several concrete examples of 5G applications, from autonomous cars to healthcare, to drones for emergency services, to mobile banking, to smart city or the use of VR for surgical procedures. By the end of his presentation, he invited professionals to explore "NEXT, a space designed to promote creativity and innovation, in its premises in Cloche d'Or”, a way to test and improve customer experience, push the limits of creativity and challenge new concepts.

The evening continued with a networking cocktail, sponsored by Kyndryl Luxembourg, that allowed the IT community to share a privileged moment.

The event ended with the Luxembourg ICT Awards' Ceremony, introduced by Marc Hansen, Luxembourg Minister Delegate for Digitalisation, and moderated by Guy Benzeno, Founder, Center Stage. “This year, we have witnessed real progress in the use of digital public services”, said minister Hansen, welcoming the confidence of citizens in the digital tools made available, as shown by the success of MyGuichet.lu application. Marc Hansen took the opportunity of the IT One Gala to announce the launch of a new platform in January 2022, Zesumme Vereinfachen (“Let’s simplify together”), which “will enable the citizens to take part in the simplification and the further development of administrative procedures”. The Minister also announced the launch in the very near future of the GouvID app, where citizens will have the possibility to use their Luxembourg electronic identity card together with their smartphone to identify themselves to access online public services. On the occasion of the ITOne Gala, Marc Hansen reaffirmed the government's commitment to move towards a digital government in order to create a simple and predictable framework for citizens and companies in their relationship with the state. He took the example of the recent law making e-invoicing mandatory from 2022.

And the winners of the Luxembourg ICT Awards 2021 are:

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

CIO of the Year (rewards an outstanding ICT leader that, thanks to her/his vision, strategic skills and management/leadership qualities, contributed to the performance of its company while meeting the stakeholder's needs (clients, employees, shareholders) : Christian Kettmann (CFL).

The CIO of the Year 2020, Philipp Jäggi, CIO at Laboratoires officially passed the torch to his successor on stage and greeted this new nomination.

Inspirational ICT Personality of the Year (rewards an ICT personality for her/his entire career, her/his achievements, the lessons learned and her/his efforts to inspire and share with her/his peers and future generations): Jean Hilger (SnT).

Steve Breier, Director, Head of Finance & IT for the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce presented the trophy “After almost 31 years at the Spuerkeess where the IT was a precursor to many fields including electronic banking, the shared adventure of ICT Spring since 2010 and, finally as another example, the creation of LUXHUB, it feels for him like a homecoming to get back to education and research and it is a great pleasure to reward a personality that inspire us and who is now bridging the gap between the FinTech and the Research sector”.

TECHNOLOGIES & PROJECTS AWARDS

ICT Business Partner of the Year (rewards an ICT provider that led and successfully implemented development, software and/or hardware integration, or infrastructures projects, bringing real added-value to its clients): SnT.

Telecom Innovation of the Year (rewards a local telecom provider that develops and provides a telecom innovation which will contribute to revolutionising the way companies leverage communications (Edge computing, 5G, Everything-as-a-Service Model, User-Friendly API, Network Optimization Using AI…): NTT.

Most Innovative ICT Training Programme (rewards a training programme or initiative aiming at schooling actors of the ICT sector, both in terms of hard skills and/or soft skills): WIDE.

Best use of AI & Data (rewards a company that ingeniously and efficiently used artificial intelligence and/or data to conduct an ICT project or implement new processes or tools): POST Luxembourg.

Digital Transformation Project of the Year (rewards a digital transformation project that cleverly leveraged technology to improve a company’s performance, and contribute to the enhancement of customer and/or employee experience): Ministry of Education, Children & Youth.

ORGANISATIONS AWARDS

ICT Outsourcing Services Provider of the Year (rewards a company providing an on-demand tech environment – Cloud, Managed Services, BPO… – in order to unburden its clients of some tasks and functions): Finologee.

Young ICT Revelation Company of the Year (new this year, rewards a company, created less than 5 years ago, whose primary technology aims to help established IT systems improve their operations and/or functionality – or to flat out disrupt them): Cascade Lab.

More information : gala.itone.lu