A new initiative aims to develop open-source software that can provide real-time and low-latency services close to users, to unlock new applications for EU citizens and businesses.
Seven EU member states are investing €1.2bn to support the research and development of 19 projects focused on cloud and edge computing technologies.
This initiative was approved by the European Commission under state aid rules as an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI). This marks the first IPCEI in the EU cloud and edge computing domain.
The project is focused on developing an interoperable and openly accessible European data processing ecosystem to create new possibilities for EU businesses and citizens. There are 19 companies taking part including Siemens, SAP, Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
The countries providing public funding are France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. It is hoped that the €1.2bn investment from these countries will support an additional €1.4bn in private investments.
The participating companies will develop open-source software that can provide real-time and low-latency services close to users, in order to reduce the need to transmit large volumes of data to centralised cloud servers.
European commissioner Didier Reynders said this initiative will open up “a new range of opportunities for European players in the digital sector” and claimed the work is essential for Europe’s “green and digital transitions”.
“In the long term – and beyond this joint project – it will enable the emergence of innovative applications for local digital public services, smart agriculture, automated and connected vehicles and real-time remote patient monitoring,” Reynders said.
The research, development and first industrial deployment phases of the 19 projects will run between 2023 and 2031. The timelines for each project is varied, but the European Commission expects the first results to appear in 2027. The Commission expects this initiative to create at least 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during its initial phases and “many more in the commercialisation phase”.
Last year, a European cloud adoption project wound down its operations after giving €8.5m in grants to researchers since 2019. This Open Clouds for Research Environments project gave researchers access to commercial cloud services offered by companies such as Google, Amazon and Orange.
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