Reflecting the significant investment Microsoft Corp. is making in cloud computing in Europe, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith on Monday shared new details about how this momentum is taking shape. Nadella stated that Microsoft has more than doubled its cloud capacity in Europe in the past year, noted that the company has invested over $3 billion (USD) across Europe to date, and shared that Microsoft intends to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in France, starting in 2017. These new investments in cloud are helping customers— including Irish organisations the Health Service Executive, AIB, Cubic Telecom and Clanwilliam Group — to innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting European data sovereignty, security and compliance needs. Furthering its commitment to make the cloud more trusted, responsible and inclusive, Microsoft also released a new book titled “A Cloud for Global Good.” The announcements were made in Dublin this morning as the two leaders began a four-day visit to Europe to meet with business and government leaders.
“At Microsoft, we strive to empower every Irish citizen, business and government organization to achieve more,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “We continue to invest in and expand our Ireland data centre hub, providing customers with a trusted and intelligent cloud, to help accelerate their digital transformations and seize new opportunity on a global scale.”
Cloud-powered digital transformation in Europe
As part of this cloud momentum, Microsoft announced plans to offer Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 from multiple datacenter locations in France. Initial availability is anticipated in 2017. Today, Microsoft offers customers across Europe a range of innovative regional Microsoft cloud services to transform their businesses.
The collective investments, including datacenter hubs in Ireland and the Netherlands, which continue to expand, together with locations in Austria and Finland, enable Microsoft to meet anticipated customer demand in Europe and offer European customers greater ability to digitally transform their organizations through the cloud, by meeting their security and compliance needs while understanding where their data resides.
The Microsoft Cloud, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, offers customers a trusted global infrastructure with 30 available, and 36 announced, datacenter regions — more than any other major cloud provider in Europe and globally. These investments mean that more European customers are using the Microsoft Cloud to transform their businesses and their lives.
They include the following:
- Ireland’s Health Service Executive is investing in the creation of a digital fabric to build a better health service and increased patient safety. The eHealth Ireland initiative will create a secure cloud infrastructure using Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 and will allow a single unique identifier for all patients, single electronic health records for all mothers and babies in Ireland, a single national lab system, digital identity for health workers across the system, and communications tools to enable relationships between clinicians and patients to develop in real time.
- AIB is using technology every day to transform the way it engages with and provides services for its customers. Customers have an increasing appetite to engage with the bank through technology and mobile based platforms. With over 95% of AIB’s transactions with customers now digitally enabled, the bank is finding that customers rarely go into a bank and if they do they use the digitally enabled kiosks that are present in the bank’s branches today. AIB Mobile Banking gets 17 million hits a month and this is increasing on average by 2 million every month since it was launched. This evolution of the use of technology in banking services is ensuring that AIB is continuously looking to be a step ahead when it comes to providing the best digital option for their customers. The bank is relying on cloud services to provide these latest services. AIB is partnering with Microsoft to help them drive competitive advantage adopting the Next Generation Workplace and Next Generation Enterprise, which will optimise Customer engagements and Interactions, streamlining operations, employee productivity and engagement. The AIB team are engaged with the bank on Office 365 and with the IT and Development teams on Azure.
- Cubic Telecom,an Irish ISV, operating for eight years, delivers connectivity solutions in four market verticals; Internet of Things (IoT), starting with their Automotive solution; PC OEM; Enterprise and Branded Retail. Cubic enables leading brands in those four verticals to intelligently connect, manage and monetize their devices on a global basis leveraging the benefits from IoT. In June 2016, the company announced its embedded SIM (eSim) technology and global platform. Cubic now supplies the technology behind the Audi connect® services in its new models which will roll out across the entire Audi/VW group as well as other car brands in the near future. Cubic’s work with Audi showcases its ability to leverage the Microsoft Azure platform to drive digital transformation. As the demand by drivers and passengers for in-vehicle infotainment continues to grow, the connectivity between vehicle and real-time service becomes critical. Cubic provides that “Connectivity as a Service” and real-time information to the car. Cubic has also built a connectivity solution that will allow commercial offerings to be pushed directly to customers in real-time over this network customized to the customers’ needs. It envisions a time in the near future where “performance upgrades”, which are increasingly becoming car software updates, could be purchased directly from Audi and delivered using Cubic connectivity, eliminating the requirement to visit a garage.
- Clanwilliam Group is a healthcare focused, technology and services business. It provides technology to healthcare professionals that empowers them to deliver better care to their patients. Clanwilliam is working closely with its customers, e-Health Ireland and Microsoft to deliver the digital integration of the Irish healthcare system. Microsoft technology powers Clanwilliam’s products for doctors, pharmacies and care homes and the Microsoft Cloud and the HSE’s Healthlink network provides the means to connect clinicians and patients across the Irish healthcare eco-system. Clanwilliam has collaborated with eHealth Ireland to bring eReferrals into general use throughout the hospital system. In March, Clanwilliam launched the nation’s first digital prescription notification service, eScript on Microsoft Azure. The service safely sends a secure notification of the prescription details directly from the GP’s computer to the patient’s chosen pharmacy.
Building a cloud for global good
Nadella and Smith also highlighted the importance of making sure that the wave of innovation being unleashed by cloud computing benefits everyone and that nobody gets left behind. Recognizing that the rapid pace of change creates concerns and even challenges for some individuals and communities, they highlighted the importance of ensuring that the cloud is a cloud for global good. They acknowledged the need for tech companies, the community and governments to work together to achieve this. As a contribution to this important debate Microsoft also announced today it has released a book called “A Cloud for Global Good” that details 78 public policy recommendations in 15 categories to help make cloud technologies more trusted, responsible and inclusive. Topics include next-generation skills, enhancing security and privacy in the digital age, environmental sustainability, keeping communities safe, and securing a bright future for all our children. The book’s specific proposals tackle challenges like data flow disruptions that can interrupt critical services, protecting people from online exploitation and fraud, and ensuring those with disabilities can access e-government services.
“Cloud computing has the potential to solve some of our world’s most challenging issues, but, as with all technological advancements, it raises important questions for society,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft President. “We must work together to build a cloud for global good. Our hope is that the ideas shared in this book will help move technology forward while ensuring no one is left behind. The policies set in the next two years will define how people experience the cloud in the next 20. Ireland has been very progressive in this area. Minister Dara Murphy, Minister for Data Protection and European Affairs has highlighted the importance of this agenda both here in Ireland and at a European level – contributing to Ireland’s reputation as a digital leader. As always, this remains an evolving and fluid space and we are committed to working with the Irish Government, citizens and all Europeans to ensure that the power of the Cloud is harnessed for the good of all.”
More on “A Cloud for Global Good” can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/cloudforgood.