6 decembrie 2011

CEPIS Address at Digital Trends 2011 Conference

Dear colleagues and fellow ICT professionals,

I am delighted to have been invited here today to address you all in Athens at today’s special conference, the first of its kind in Greece. It is an honour for me to present the opening address to you this morning on behalf of CEPIS. First and foremost I would like to thank HePIS, who are co-hosting Digital Trends with CEPIS, for all of their hard work and dedication in organising this event.

Digital Trends 2011 is a forum that I believe is important, to encourage valuable discussion between all of you here today, on increasingly vital topics related to the contribution that the ICT sector has on economic growth and for increased productivity. I hope that today’s forum which brings together participants from all over the world will encourage relevant discussions towards promoting the development of the Information Society in Europe. CEPIS and its Member Societies have been working hard towards achieving this aim over the last 20 years, by focusing on a number of different strategic areas including Professionalism, e-Skills, Green ICT and through our Legal & Security Issues Special Interest Network we have published a pan-European recognised paper on Cloud Computing.

It is clear that in recent years we have all experienced the incredible impact that ICT has brought to our daily lives. I think some of us can remember when no one even had a mobile phone, but now with the widespread use of not just laptops but also smart phones and tablets the world is truly entering a digital age where almost everything can now be undertaken online using these devices and many more to come. This digital age needs to be embraced not just by ICT professionals but also all other sectors of society to use ICT to their advantage, and for the benefit of the recovering economy, productivity and smart growth.

Boosting smart growth is a very significant and important initiative that the European Commission launched in 2010 as part of its Europe 2020 strategy. Smart growth essentially means improving the EU's performance in using ICT, creating new products/services that generate growth and jobs and encouraging people to use new skills, learn and study. As you can see the ICT sector will be and is already a significant contributing factor in all of these areas. CEPIS and its Member Societies especially have teamed together to form a coherent strategy around the contribution that this sector can have on society, and I encourage all other stakeholders across Europe to do the same. The ICT sector is of such importance nowadays that without a proper strategy in place that embraces the overwhelmingly positive contribution that ICT can have, you will be left behind.

One of the phrases that I have heard a lot recently is “How Green are You?”. As we start to realise that the way of the future is indeed digital, we must also start thinking about how we can limit the way the ICT sector is itself contributing harmfully to the environment, and more optimistically about the extremely positive impact that the ICT sector can have in reducing Europe’s carbon footprint.

Recent figures published by the European Commission show that today ICT equipment and services are estimated to be responsible for somewhere between 2,5 and 4% of the EU's carbon emissions and 8 to 10% of our electricity consumption. As part of the Digital Agenda for Europe flagship initiative, the European Commission will focus on the energy efficiency of the ICT sector in at least two actions. CEPIS praises the European Commission for these actions but I believe that they can only be successful if all European ICT companies, stakeholders and beyond become involved and join together to carry out these actions. For the recovery and growth of our economy it is essential that the ICT sector and other major emitting sectors such as transport, building and construction etc. band together to fully take advantage of the energy saving capacity of ICT. The use of Green ICT needs to be encouraged and promoted for even further organisations though also like SMEs and with European citizens’ own personal use of ICT.

CEPIS, as the leading organisation of European ICT professionals, is committed to mobilising its members to promote the ideas of Green ICT and contribute to the environment's protection. Last year we launched the Green ICT Task Force which now consists of more than a dozen experts in the area of Green ICT representing 10 different countries, and 11 informatics associations from across Europe. Byron Nicolaides, CEPIS Honorary Secretary and Vice President of HePIS will present more information about the Task Force, and will reveal the results of a recent pan-European survey for ICT Managers created by the Task Force, in the next session.

Regarding Green ICT and its influence at a more local level, it is clear that both the public and private sectors have a responsibility in controlling their power consumption and wasteful usage of ICT resources in many European countries. CEPIS believes that public authorities must adopt actions on both a national and a pan-European level in order to enhance public e-services. The private sector, being more flexible, could also easily adopt practices that contribute to energy efficiency and reduction of power consumption. Many of you here today are part of various sectors of industry and business including but not limited to the ICT sector, but I believe all of us should implement Green ICT practices in our personal and professional lives and contribute to the environment’s protection in this way.

Cloud Computing is an advancement in ICT that has started to revolutionise the way in which citizens, businesses and governments in Europe operate. With a simple Internet connection anything is possible. As such Cloud Computing has also been an important focus of CEPIS’ strategy over the last number of years. European citizens are utilising cloud computing in a number of different ways either via web-based emailing or for saving information on a remote database with practically endless storage space available. It is true that the advantages of Cloud Computing include also most importantly cost savings, especially for SMEs, but the fact is cloud computing also carried implications of data protection particularly across borders. I was encouraged to see the European Commission launch a public consultation this year where all Europeans could respond and share their opinions about this issue. I’m looking forward to the Cloud Computing strategy that is to be launched next year by the Commission, based on the results of this consultation.

CEPIS and its Member Societies also published its first paper on Cloud Computing. The paper is available in both English and Greek on our website, www.cepis.org. We appreciate and gladly welcome the incredibly positive impact that Cloud Computing has had on all of our daily lives, but before any major developments continue in this field both positive and indeed negative sides have to be examined. That is why our statement explores the security and privacy implications associated with Cloud Computing. The CEPIS working group in charge of legal and security issues examined areas such as the loss of control over data and dependence on the Cloud Computing provider and outlines the related issues in this paper. We also provide 15 recommendations on measures that should be taken to deal with the risks and privacy invasion factors of Cloud Computing. I look forward today to seeing involving and active discussions about the huge value that Cloud Computing can provide in the corporate world and beyond, but also some of our concerns need to be considered too. 

One concern is Digital Divide with the need to consolidate the four pillars of its bridge: appropriate ICT Infrastructure, accessible and affordable Internet access, generalized ability to use IT, availability of useful content. The predominant narrowband access vs. broadband applications produces a new divide in the use of transactional applications eGovernment, eCommerce, etc., but also in use of cloud computing.

I am glad to be here at Digital Trends today which is the perfect setting for open and active discussions to take place on all these topics.

CEPIS is extremely proud to be co-hosting of Digital Trends with its Greek Member Society, HePIS. Today’s forum is a relevant and significant event that is catered towards European ICT professionals, businesses and citizens alike and we hope that you will be enlightened and more importantly, we hope that this event will inspire you to realise the importance of two influential topics currently having an impact on ICT.

You may further contact us, follow us on social networks or visit our portal www.cepis.org

Thank you!

Σας ευχαριστούμε!

Vasile Baltac, 5 December 2011
Athens, Greece

Presentation on Slideshare.net

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