New research claims Europe can close US clouding computing gap
By Benjamin Fox
Europe is lagging behind the US in the cloud computing economy according to new research released by the London School of Economics.
The new study, titled ‘Modelling the cloud’ was commissioned by IT-giant Microsoft, and focuses on the economic effect of cloud computing on the aerospace and Smartphone sectors in the US
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It claims that US cloud-related smartphone services jobs will increase from 19,500 in 2010 to 54,500 in 2014. This compares to an estimated 4,040 equivalent jobs in the UK, with the authors arguing that this is the result of lower electricity costs and more liberal labour regulation compared to the EU.
Although the research forecasts a continuation of the Smartphone sector boom, with cloud-related jobs in the smartphone services sector expected to grow by 349% in the UK, 280% in Germany and 268% in Italy, compared with 168% for the US.
Speaking at the launch event for the study in Brussels on Monday (30 January), Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that businesses were excited by the potential economic gains from cloud computing commenting that “cloud computing will change the way businesses do IT, and it will change our economies.”
“I think we could all do with a productivity boost right now”, she added.
The study follows last week’s launch of a European cloud partnership by Commissioner Kroes, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The partnership, which the Commission has backed with an initial €10 million, will see public sector organisations and the IT industry working on common EU-rules for cloud procurement. Europe's public sector IT market accounts for 20 percent of Europe's total IT market but is fragmented.
The partnership is expected to report back in 2013, with Kroes arguing that cloud computing could “promise scalable, secure services for greater efficiency, greater flexibility, and lower cost.”
Meanwhile, the LSE paper also comes at a time when enthusiasm for the economic potential of cloud computing is curbed by widespread concerns about data privacy and protection.
Last week, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding set out legislation for data protection in EU including a “right to be forgotten”, giving users the right to take their data away from companies and have it deleted. It would also require firms to get explicit approval from customers to use their data for marketing purposes.
Referring to the proposals, Commissioner Kroes commented that businesses and customers “worry about the service they will be getting, about risks of lock-in and whether they can trust the provider with their data.”
She added that the EU Cloud Strategy would help businesses “get clarity on issues like standards, privacy, data portability, legal liability and applicable jurisdiction.”