Category Archives: digital

Fujitsu: Co-Creation for Success

This year, Fujitsu World Tour 2018, which stopped in Brussels on June 7, highlighted the “Co-Creation for Success“.

6 start-ups from the Hive Brussels network presented their innovations to more than 300 of Fujitsu’s most important customers and partners. As part of the “Labs Battle”, each start-up had 5 minutes to convince the public and the jury of the potential of their innovation. The laureate was n-Auth specialized on security of sensitive data.

We interviewed Mr. Yves de Beauregard, Managing Director Fujitsu Benelux who explained: “Today, digital co-creation is moving to a new phase, from concept to the creation of new opportunities. Our unique capabilities in advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things, combined with know-how, achieve this goal, delivering true innovation and business value.

The complexity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more then a usage.  As example we have used AI in Order to develop a non destructive testing that’s the example of Siemens Gamesa using AI to analyse images and data in order to ensure that the wings of the windmills are produced with the highest quality possible because it is very expensive for those companies that have the necessity to dismantled in order to change the wings. For so far this is done by human beings that they are really checking and also using the experience in order to look after the quality of those wings . This is a typical example where the AI has actually got to learn what humans are looking after and ones the AI has learned, it can apply very easily to a massive data informations, in order to really detect what is not in line with the expectations.”

 What are the other applications of AI?

“Another example AI applications is in the medical industry. We have been using AI together with San Carlo hospital in Madrid, supporting doctors in case of psychiatric treatment and at first when they go to analysing which sickness has the patient. In the psychiatric treatment there is a number of interviews that are needed to really understand what is the behaviour and what are the symptoms to define the actual sickness. For this reason, psychiatry is not that digital. We developed together with S. Carlo Hospital a system based on AI that really try to measure the behaviour, the comportment, the answers of the questions submitted to the patients and therefore that are able to support doctors in making a diagnosis on what is the actual sickness that the patient is suffering . Therefore, this application help patient to get treated quicker and helps doctors, who have to do less interviews in order to define the proper sickness and, of course, it also helps public money because it really support the entire chain to do better, quicker and less expensive.”

The second topic is Cyber security.   

“Fujitsu has been recently nominated as one of the top leader in cybersecurity. We see the recent attack from malware. I am proud to say that none of the Fujitsu customer, have been drastically impacted. We are effecting protecting our customer proactively and reactively. The business of Fujitsu in cyber security significantly improving and growing. Number of new customers, new logos and new companies come and ask us to support them with regard to cyber security.”

With the Blockchain centre recently inaugurated in Brussels which development you can see?

“We are actually very amazed by the number of projects and request coming after the inauguration of the Blockchain centre in Brussels. We were definitely too shy in our plans. We are very intrigue by the number of companies that are actually embracing Blockchain technologies, in order to help them because is not easy to understand what is the value that such technologies could bring to your business. We have developed a kind of support that really help those companies to understand what means Blockchain for their business model, for their customers. In the same time we are moving  ahead with our research for Blockchain for smart cities and new projects keep on having a leading position on that market.”

Why do you think is an asset choose Brussels for the Blockchain centre?

Three most important reason. The first reason is that in Belgium there is a culture of settlement. There is a number of company working on functional settlement located in Brussels. So the culture of working as a chain or being in the middle of a chain, support people from the business to stream line, the processes, they are able to work better together is something that is strongly in Belgium. The second reason is obviously, because Brussels is located in the centre of Europe. The proximity with European institutions and finally also the language skills that is present in Belgium.”

How do you collaborate with Japan?

On Artificial Intelligence, cyber security and Blockchain there is a very strong collaboration with Japan. There is actually a very strong relationship. We can benefit in Europe also from the technology advancement that our colleagues have in Japan. Fujitsu is indeed a market leader in Japan and the biggest part of R&D done by Fujitsu is still predominantly in Japan. If we want to benefit from those R&D as quick as we can, we need to have those strong relationships with Japan.”

How was important for you to collaborate for 0 Plastic Rivers initiative?

I truly believe that a company in whatever the business is operating is a social body. That means we also have the responsibility to the society, to the next generation and to the environment. One of the stakeholders we need to be very careful is our environment and we believe that this initiative is very interesting. In 0 Plastic Rivers initiative I believe that sensor technologies and Artificial intelligence technologies, could really help in managing plastic waste issue by detecting plastics in the water. It is an important topic that matter to us and on which we believe. We can have an added value.”

Henry Borzi

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Fujitsu inaugurate Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels

Fujitsu opened a new international Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels on March 21, 2018. The center undertake research with external partners, collaborating on specific projects to explore the technology’s potential and limitations. Fujitsu’s aim is to develop the potential of blockchain beyond financial services as a new architecture for information systems and sectorsof all kinds.

Brussels was selected by Fujitsu for the geographical, political, technological and linguistic advantages it offers to international organizations considering applications of blockchain technology, making it an attractive testing-ground for novel co-creation initiatives. The centerhas an international remit. Alongside local projects in Belgium, Fujitsu’s co-creation model has resulted in a number of international projects, including projects in Germany, UK, the Netherlands and participation EU Horizon 2020 projects.

Blockchain represent a big opportunity in Europe. Many people think that Blockchain beeng solely about financial services bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It is not. I think Blockchian could be the world glue or oil for the world economy and the public sector. So that make sense to be in the heart of Europe in a country with a long track record of innovation like Belgium.” Explained Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu Americas and EMEIA.

One particular area of expertise that Fujitsu plans to develop in the Blockchain Innovation Center is the use of blockchain for the design and implementation of Smart City services, focusing not only on technology, but also on important aspects of the cityof the future, such as sociological and demographic factors, societal organization, economic functioning and ecological challenges. The center will support and encourage research, development and innovation, both for Brussels and for other cities, throughthe funding of innovative projects by companies, research organizations and the non-commercial sector. Although the initial focus is on Smart Cities, the goal is to deliver scalable, secure, business-ready blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions in a wide variety of industries.

The first blockchain R&D project being developed at the center is called “Blockchain as enabler of services in the context of Smart Cities”, and is being conducted in collaboration with Innoviris, the Brusselsinstitute for the encouragement of scientific research and innovation. The 24-month project is focused on establishing blockchain knowledge and expertise for the design and implementation of services in the context of Smart Cities, in areas such as citizen participation and elections, and the interaction between smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and a multimodal supply chain. It consists of two main tracks: to build fundamental knowledge about the use of blockchain for Smart City applications, and then to apply this knowledge to specific use cases, with the aim of creating meaningful business solutions.

Mr Kris Peeters, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, commented that “Belgium is the ideal place to establish an international skills center such as the Fujitsu Blockchain Innovation Center. Not only it is located in the center of Europe, but it has also made the innovation the engine of its economy. In addition, our compatriots have excellent language skills, making them valuable contributors to multinational companies or international projects. It is important that all levels of government continue to work actively with innovative companies to support the overall economic fabric of Belgium.

Fujitsu has already identified more than ten projects and multiple European cities aiming to fulfill their ambitions to become Smart Cities have also expressed interest in collaborationwith Fujitsu. The Blockchain Innovation Center it is expected to lead to co-creation relationships with international and Belgian public bodies, customers, partners andthe Hyperledger Project (see Alternative Blockchain platformsbelow) to extend the technology beyond the current focus of proof of concepts into scalable, secure and business-ready DLT solutions.

What is blockchain?
Blockchain is essentially a database infrastructure, originally designed for the crypto-currency Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional government-guaranteed money and bank-controlled payments. What makes this technology special is the fact that the data is multiplied and stored across a network of nodes. This data distribution is the foundation and strength of blockchain technology, as it enables trusted information storage without a central controlling body (or trusted third party often referred to as an ‘authority’) by means of a network of computers (nodes). New transactions are sent to the blockchain, where they are encrypted before being sent to every node for validation and, once validated, stored in blockchain building blocks. Every new block is linked by cryptography (hash tree) to the previous block (which, in turn, is securely attached to its predecessor block). This makes the chain immutable: every change in one block entails change in every subsequent block on every node. Blockchain is said to provide trustworthiness like traditional ledgers. Therefore, it is usually referred to as Distribution Ledger Technology.

Watch the full interview with Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu Americas and EMEIA:

Henry Borzi

Artificial intelligence and ethical standards

 

The Commission has opened today applications for a group on artificial intelligence (AI) to gather expert input and rally a stakeholder alliance.

Also today, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), an independent advisory body to the Commission, has published a statement on artificial intelligence. The expert group will be tasked to advise the Commission on how to unite a broad and diverse community of stakeholders in a ‘European AI Alliance’; support the implementation of the upcoming European initiative on artificial intelligence; and come forward by the end of the year with draft guidelines for the ethical development and use of artificial intelligence based on the EU’s fundamental rights. The guidelines will be drafted following a wide consultation and building on today’s statement by EGE. Applications to join the expert group in artificial intelligence can be submitted until 9 April and the Commission aims to set this group up by May. The group will gather and build on the work done by other experts which is relevant to artificial intelligence, such as the high-level strategy group for industrial technologies (intermediate report) and the expert group on liability and new technologies. For the latter a call for applications was also launched today. This expert group will assist the Commission in analysing the challenges related to the existing liability framework.

Stop geo-blocking

This new EU law on geo-blocking is an important step towards an even more competitive and integrated Digital Single Market, for both consumers and traders. It also represents another milestone in the fight against the discrimination of consumers based on their nationality or place of residence, which should never be taking place in our united Europe. We have proven that the European Union can deliver concrete results for the citizens all over Europe, bringing positive changes in their daily lives.” Said Róża Thun (EPP, PL), rapporteur.

Online buyers will have wider and easier cross-border access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets in the EU.

The new rules will ban the “geo-blocking” of buyers browsing websites in another EU country, so as to enable them to  choose from which website they  buy goods or services, without being blocked or automatically re-routed to another website due to their nationality, place of residence or even their temporary location.

Traders will have to treat online shoppers from another EU country in the same way as local ones,  i.e. grant them access to the same prices or sales conditions, when they:

  • buy goods (e.g. household appliances, electronics, clothes) which are delivered to a member state to which the trader offers delivery in his general conditions, or are collected at a location agreed by both parties in an EU country in which the trader offers such option (traders would not have to deliver in all EU countries, but buyers should have the option to pick up the package in a place agreed with the trader),
  • receive electronically supplied services not protected by copyright, such as cloud services, firewalls, data warehousing, website hosting, or
  • buy a service which is supplied in the premises of the trader or in a physical location where the trader operates, e.g. hotel stays, sports events, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets.

Treating shoppers differently based on the place of issuance of a credit or debit card will also be forbidden. While traders remain free to accept whatever payment means they want, they may not discriminate within a specific payment brand based on nationality.

EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum

The European Commission launched today the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum with the support of the European Parliament, represented by Jakob von Weizsäcker, responsible for the recent report on virtual currencies.

The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will highlight key developments of the blockchain technology, promote European actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities.  Blockchain technologies, which store blocks of information that are distributed across the network, are seen as a major breakthrough, as they bring about high levels of traceability and security in economic transactions online. They are expected to impact digital services and transform business models in a wide range of areas, such as healthcare, insurance, finance, energy, logistics, intellectual property rights management or government services. The Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 since 2013. Until 2020, it will fund projects that could draw on blockchain technologies with up to €340 million. The press release and a factsheet are available online.

EU commitment for Digital Technologies in Development policy

The European Council adopts conclusions on ‘Mainstreaming digital solutions and technologies in EU development policy’ and reaffirms the EU and Member States’ commitment to support Digital Technologies and Services in developing countries as powerful enablers of inclusive growth and sustainable development, as stated in the new European Consensus on Development.

Digitalisation is an essential driver for achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It can contribute to achieving progress in areas such as gender equality, good governance and the rule of law, migration, health, education, agriculture, energy and climate change, and sustainable job creation. Digital for Development will follow a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights and freedoms, promote democratic governance and the rule of law.

Moreover the Council welcomes the publication of the Commission Staff Working Document on Digital4Development (D4D), which provides a framework for mainstreaming digitalisation into EU development policy and identifies four priority areas with an immediate focus mainly in Africa. In this direction the Council underlines the need to promote D4D as a comprehensive framework in all developing countries focusing on those where digital needs and opportunities are the greatest.

In the document conclusions the Council invites the Commission to swiftly implement the D4D approach through a series of concrete and demand-driven actions to be launched during the 2017-2020 period. It further calls on the Commission to bring successful pilot projects to scale. For this reason the EU Council looks forward to progress in developing digital infrastructure, promoting e-governance and digital skills, strengthening the digital economy and fostering start-up ecosystems. Digital start-ups in creative and cultural industries should also be promoted in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

The private sector plays a critical role in promoting digital for development, in particular in terms of investments, innovation, market knowledge and expertise. The Council underlines the importance of leveraging additional sources of funding, and welcomes in that regard the launch of the External Investment Plan and the creation of a dedicated investment window on digitalisation within the European Fund for Sustainable Development as a major innovative tool to mobilise public and private investment and to support the digital economy in partner countries. Finally the Council stresses the importance of mainstreaming digitalisation in all other investment windows in order to create synergies.

Croatia joins EU next generation supercomputers project

We are very pleased that Croatia joins this ambitious European project. Supercomputers are increasingly used to solve complex societal challenges that need large computational efforts, such as DNA sequencing, early detection and treatment of diseases, climate modelling and cryptography. We encourage other Member States and countries associated to the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to participate too and sign the declaration”. Said vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

Croatia is the 13th country to sign the European declaration on high-performance computing (HPC). The initiative aims at developing European high-performance computers that would rank among the world’s top three by 2022-2023. Croatian Minister for Science and Education Blaženka Divjak signed the declaration this morning in BrusselswithRoberto Viola, Director General of European Commission’s DG CONNECT. HPC is a strategic resource for the future of EU’s scientific leadership and industrial competitiveness. The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched in March 2017 during the Digital Day and signed by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Five other countries have since joined the initiative: Belgium in June, Slovenia in July, Bulgaria and Switzerland in October and Greece in November. The signatories of this declaration have committed to work together to establish a world-class high-performance computing ecosystem capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers).

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