With the greatest concentration of Tier IV data centres in Europe and the second highest level of digital connectivity, Luxembourg has developed a reputation as a country that prioritises information and communication technology (ICT) and data security, and leaders are keen to maintain the country’s competitive edge and transform it into a data-driven economy.
Since the beginning of the 2000s, Luxembourg has adopted a national strategy to prioritise ICT. This strategy has involved building an excellent infrastructure, funding research, and attracting entrepreneurs while at the same time making sure that opportunities are available to everyone, from individuals and start-ups, to SMEs and large companies. Recent notable projects include a large-scale initiative to prepare the country for its move to a data-driven economy, a new and improved national cyber security strategy to cement the country’s reputation as one that ensures digital security, and the 2020 launch of a highly touted supercomputer.
Luxembourg’s leaders recognise that data is increasingly being valued as an independent asset and that the country must continue to work hard to position itself as an attractive economy in a data-driven landscape. The European Commission is setting the stage by opening up digital opportunities and enhancing Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy. Initiatives include efforts to create a Digital Single Market (DSM) and the investment of billions of euros into projects to develop supercomputers, AI, improved cybersecurity, trust measures, and programmes fostering the use of digital technologies across economic and social strata.
At the national level, Luxembourg is working hard to meet its stated goal of becoming the most reputed data-driven economy in the European Union by 2023. It has greatly developed its ICT infrastructure, which now includes extensive broadband networks and state-of-the-art high-end data centres. It has also invested in public centres such as Security and Trust (SnT), which conducts research in ICT and engages in projects with industry and the public sector. The year 2019 saw the launch of the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub (L-DIH), which offers assistance to companies of all sizes to match them with experts and IT solutions, as well as help them assess and advance their digital transformation. The Ministry of the Economy is also playing a large role in the shift to a data-driven economy by collaborating on support platforms, testbeds, and regulatory sandboxes. To ensure the long-term sustainability and impact of the transformation, the government is fostering a robust ICT innovation ecosystem which includes a healthy regulatory, intellectual property, and financing environment.
A main driver of cyber security in Luxembourg is private industry, particularly the many financial institutions as well as the bodies that oversee them. In addition, Luxembourg is home to a large NATO installation and several European Union institutions, all of which have developed their own high-level cyber security apparatuses. The government of Luxembourg is taking an intensely proactive approach, realising the grave threat that breaches can pose to an economy highly reliant on data security and a reputation built on stability. In 2018, the government released the National Cybersecurity Strategy III, which aims to build public confidence in the digital environment, further protect data and digital infrastructure, and boost the economy. The strategy is wide-ranging and involves governmental ministries, intelligence and security services, judicial authorities, and the police.
The Luxembourg ICT landscape is populated with a large number of institutions, both public and private, that work to increase cyber security in Luxembourg. These include research and education institutions such as Bee Secure, SnT, and Restena; sectorial PPPs like the Luxembourg Commercial Internet Exchange (Lu-Cix); regulatory bodies such as the Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF); more than 300 companies that provide cyber security services and products as a key feature of their business; and a plethora of start-ups that offer services like identity management and encryption. Another important entity is the Cyber Emergency Response Community Luxembourg (cert.lu), whose objective is to gather key players into a community in order to share and consolidate expertise.
Big data, according to one popular definition, is data that contains ever greater amounts of the three Vs: variety, volume, and velocity. Enterprises from key Luxembourg sectors such as space, automotive industries, logistics, fintech, and life sciences are finding it necessary to deal with big data, and they’re about to get some big help. The year 2020 will see the launch of Meluxina, Luxembourg’s own supercomputer that will join the European network of EuroHPC supercomputers. Its usage will be focused on industry, particularly SMEs and start-ups, both those based locally as well as across Europe. LuxConnect will host the supercomputing centre at a facility in Bissen, which is being constructed with its own clean energy plant to power and cool the data centre. Built on a modular design, the HPC centre will be extremely user-friendly. The computing power of Meluxina will be 10 petaflops, about 10,000,000,000,000,000 calculation operations per second.
Luxembourg is a growing hub for distributed ledger technology (DLT) and its most well-known incarnation, blockchain. The technology has been adopted by several large companies including PwC Luxembourg, which in 2019 formed a partnership with the security token platform Tokeny to provide tokenisation services, and a few months later the company announced it would accept bitcoin payments from its clients. The Grand Duchy is also home to Bitstamp, one of the first cryptocoin exchanges, as well as a host of ancillary organisations like InfraChain, a non-profit that aims to create a blockchain governance framework, and Lëtzblock, which promotes the adoption of DLT and Blockchain technologies in Luxembourg. PwC Luxembourg’s adoption of tokenization services followed a law passed by Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies in 2019 permitting the use of DLT for the circulation of securities, opening the door for wider use of blockchain technology in financial services.