--- Posted by Rainer Zimmermann, DG INFSO, Head of unit: Software & Service Architectures and Infrastructures

The impact of cloud technologies goes beyond reducing IT costs and improving business efficiency. Cloud computing combined with web based applications and services are preparing the ground for new European start-ups that could play a positive role in the IT landscape. Companies of all sizes and government institutions will achieve new levels of productivity and innovation. The cloud and web services industries will be a key source of new jobs and could help making great gains in addressing major healthcare, education and other societal issues. 

We at the European Commission DG Information Society have done intensive work in the last two years in bringing together expertise and experience to answer questions like what is Cloud Computing and how it differentiates from other IT systems? What is the future of Cloud computing? What are the opportunities for European industry? What are the regulatory and technological barriers to be lifted? For example, you are already aware of the report of our Expert Group on the Future of Cloud Computing or the report of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) on cloud security.

Further to this, Cloud Computing is highlighted in the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE). Our Commissioner and Vice President Neelie Kroes, announced early this year the launch of a Cloud Computing strategy for Europe. She wants to make Europe not only 'cloud-friendly' by providing the right regulatory framework but most importantly 'cloud-active' which means that she wants European IT industry especially SMEs to take the opportunity and  become leaders in the area. For this to happen, VP Kroes has initiated a number of private and public consultations with industrial stakeholders looking both at the supply and demand side.

According to analysts at Pierre Audoin Consulting, "Cloud computing, a capital-intensive, network-based market segment, is a perfect playground for Europe’s telecom giants and its strong IT services industry. Their experience in networks, outsourcing and professional services could help them gain a worldwide standing while investing a lot in European data centres, thus limiting the technological dependency and value transfer from the US. Cloud computing is also preparing the ground for new European start-ups that could play a role in tomorrow’s IT landscape."

Cloud computing can boost Europe's competitiveness and will play a major role in our economy, creating new jobs and growth.

Cloud computing will be discussed in a dedicated workshop at the Digital Agenda Assembly ( #daa11eu – Brussels 16-17 June). The aim of workshop will build on and broaden the consultation process on a European Cloud Computing strategy launched by Vice-President Kroes earlier this year.

You can take part in the discussions and share your ideas about Cloud computing on Twitter using the #daa11cloud hashtag!