Yesterday the second annual KickStart conference was held at the RAI in Amsterdam. With over 650 visitors from 25+ nationalities, this year the event has more than doubled in size. There was a nice buzz in the event venue during the day, as existing business relations were strengthened and many new contacts were made by visitors in the lounge areas thanks to the meeting app.
Apart from networking and the occasional business deal, the day was packed with the latest insights from industry experts. During the morning 4 keynote speakers provided all the market updates one could want, while during the afternoon specific topics were addressed, such as the challenges of decentralized power generation, normalization and standardization in data center design and the scarcity of employees with the right skills. Main topics of discussion were trends and developments in the connectivity, data center and cloud markets, opportunities and challenges that lay ahead and off course Brexit. Although after yesterday’s vote it still remains uncertain what will happen when the British leave the EU, it was obvious during the day none of the speakers had a rosy perspective on the matter.
During the morning, some interesting highlights were the flatlining of the growth of traffic of internet exchanges the past 12 months, while other forms of (inter)connectivity have become more popular due to the massive and rapidly growing demand for content such as video, downloadable content and webpages.
All this data ends up or originates from one server or the other, so its no surprise that data center floor space keeps growing with double digit numbers for the foreseeable future as Mitul Patel of CBRE explained. Patel also pointed out that it is becoming increasingly difficult to develop new data center sites on primary locations, which is why ‘second tier’ locations are becoming more popular.
Cloud growth on its own turn is driven by the demand for newer, better, and more agile applications and platforms, as Gregor Petri of Gartner explained. Public cloud is the preferred model for organizations, and other cloud service providers need to think about their added value in the coming years as public cloud providers will continue to grow. The demand for private, hybrid or edge cloud will not disappear, on the contrary, but local cloud suppliers need to create both a very specific and broad portfolio to remain competitive in a world were public cloud is dominant.
As these markets continues to evolve and grow, legislators continue to grapple with their dynamics, not always sure if new legislation will have the desired outcome. Jörgen Gren, advisor to Andrus Ansip, vice-president of the current European Commission and responsible for the European Digital Single Market (DSM), elaborated on the difficulties policy makers face when trying to make legislation for the digital world, but also noted that the EU is unique in having a comprehensive program for a digital single market to ensure for example the free flow of data and consumer protection on the web.
During the afternoon, numerous topics were discussed, most notably Brexit. Coincidentally, the event took place on the day of an important Brexit vote in the British parliament, and Ros Kellaway of Evershed Sutherland walked the audience to the possible scenarios and contingencies. In any case, Brexit will make doing business with UK harder, regardless of how Great Britain eventually leaves the EU.
Once again, visitors left having kickstarted their 2019, being prepared for the opportunities and challenges that may come during the year.
Don’t want to miss out next year? Keep a close eye on our website and your mailbox the coming months, because KickStart 2020 is already in the works! In the meantime, make sure you read the Outlook 2019 report.
See you next year at KickStart Europe!