There was a panel session at the conference and Elena Bonfiglioli was one of the keynote speakers. She touched on several new things that happened in Cloud computing during the past year from the Microsoft perspective. One of the key points was the opening of the new data centres in Germany and in the United Kingdom. Elena Bonfiglioli talked about that under the framework of the fact that local Cloud supports global empowerment. Cloud is also an enabler for big societal challenges and opportunities with several examples. She shared some of those in health care. Other important aspects are trust, certification, standardization, and all the requirements from country level or specific industries. The panel discussed about how people really embrace technologies that they trust, that they feel respect privacy, security, with the right level of compliance and transparency.
Microsoft has made announcements for expanding the existing data centres, both in Amsterdam and in Dublin, and for new data centres. The German data centre is actually a new model of Cloud delivery. In this case, T-system, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom, is actually the custodian of the data which is being processed under German law. This is the way in which Microsoft can on one side guarantee the requirements for privacy and data residency of its customers, and on the other side secure the key requirements for Cloud which need to be really hyperscale. It needs to be a Cloud that is open, with choice, and the opportunity to move to the public Cloud, as a customer, and select the part of the data that you want to move and when you want to move it. This is for Microsoft a paramount criterium: Cloud on your terms. It needs to be trusted and it needs to be at the speed that your business requires. All of that of course is possible, not only in Germany, but in all Microsoft's data centre offerings.
When you look at the quality of openness, Microsoft has set up a collaboration with open source. Microsoft is one of the biggest investors in Hadoop and has a big partnership and collaboration going on with the open source community, both at the level of infrastructure and at the level of databases, applications and management. Microsoft made the announcement of the release of the new sequel server 2016 that will run Ubuntu. You will no longer see a division, you will see Microsoft's vision of Cloud as an open Cloud with open standards. We need to be sure that developers from no matter which platform of choice will be able to do the best mobile and Cloud solutions.
Primeur Magazineremarked that Azure is the Cloud that glues everything together so that you can really have this openness and collaboration between different kinds of applications.
Elena Bonfiglioli confirmed that Azure is really the glue that brings it all together in an extensible, open, interoperable and scalable way which is what the customers really require today. There is no other way for Cloud. You can run Ubuntu on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, it is business as a service. Microsoft has also been investing in creating bridges. You have open source applications that work very well with the public Cloud. You can do what you want in whatever platform in the same way in which, for example, an iPad runs Office 365. Before, you would have never seen these two companies collaborating this way. Microsoft wants its productivity and mobility collaboration applications to be able to empower every single person, every single machine, every single organisation independently from the form factor or the platform of choice. So you will see actually Office 365 running beautifully on iPad.
Primeur Magazineasked Elena Bonfiglioli about her specific topic of health care and what the recent developments are in that area.
Elena Bonfiglioli explained that in health care we see a huge transformation and actualisation where care is actually moving beyond the walls of the hospital. What does this mean? Care becomes much more mobile as an experience. It needs continuous follow-up and interaction that cannot be done on the hospital premises. It needs to be done 24/7, on the go. Many different organisations need to talk to each other because the patient is no longer within the hospital. The patient is going to visit many different organisations and the data need to be available to those organisations. We see care and cure becoming more mobile, more collaborative, more predictive and more preventive. What does this mean? It means that we need to have the right data accessible to the right user on the right device in a secure way at the right moment. Only the power of Cloud can do that. It also means if we want to become more preventive we need to use machine learning to understand where certain parameters or vital signs are going out of norm. The machine will learn from the data that we provide and therefor send alert signals so that we can do remote monitoring. Patients do not have to be in the hospital.
We can also see the use of machine learning for early diagnosis. It could be early diagnosis of dyslexia so that learning patterns of children can be corrected much faster. It could be a diagnosis of rare diseases so that people do not have to go through the painful experience for months and months for doing all sorts of diagnoses that actually cost a lot of money to the system. It can be solved in a matter of days or weeks. Elena Bonfiglioli gave an example from Helsinki with high-performance computing and Cloud capabilities working working with partner Techila at the University Hospital of Helsinki. The likelihood of a tumour turning into a metastasis when you look at the prevention of breast cancer has been brought down from more than 15 months to a couple of days. That is real Cloud-enabled transformation with societal impact.
There are many other examples like that. Elena Bonfiglioli cited system efficiency, machine learning looking at patterns of upcoding from hospitals to payers and really correcting certain behaviours within the system. You could look at machine learning for genomics and looking at the opportunity for precision medicine. Microsoft made a big announcement in the US, supporting a precision medicine initiative from President Obama. Microsoft also made a recent announcement about one billion dollar of Azure computing capabilities to be donated to NGOs and research, universities and research institutes to go after the big challenges that society needs. Health care is one such challenge; education is definitely another one, and so are intelligence-led defense and first responders. Can we really predict bad things before they happen, be it in the human body or in society as a system?
Primeur Magazineasked Elena Bonfiglioli whether all this advanced technology can be really trusted.
Elena Bonfiglioli responded that people and organisations will only use the technologies that they can trust. In health care but in the public sector as well, one often sees a myth that has to be expelled about the difference between what the law requirements are at industry or country level and what the perception is. One needs to make clear what is possible. Many times we have seen that a lot is possible but people don't know it. We need to invest in clarifying the requirements. Number one is clarification and awareness. Number two however is to be sure that we fastforward from a Cloud standard standpoint. Microsoft was a very strong and early supporter of 27018, particularly because this is a standard born in the Cloud. These are requirements for the world of today and tomorrow. We cannot make progress and advances in technology with requirements done maybe twenty or thirty years ago. We need to narrow that gap and make sure that the requirements for privacy, security and compliance which are of paramount importance, are maintained but with a view of making progress and the needs and opportunities of tomorrow. We need today and tomorrow to come closer.
Cloud has a bright future if we manage to fulfill three conditions: we need a Cloud that we can trust; a Cloud that empowers for global challenges and opportunities, creating a digital dividend; and a Cloud that provides choice as an open Cloud, even at a local level, for a global opportunity. With these three things: trust, openness and empowerment, there is a bright future for Cloud computing.