N° 5 / 2011
on Research & Innovation in Luxembourg
Leading the way in ICT security
University of Luxembourg : International to its core Pages 5 - 7
( Bio ) banking on quality Pages 38 - 39
editorial Education, research and innovation rank highly on the political agenda in Luxembourg, and the public support provided in these areas is producing excellent results. The public research sector, for example, has grown considerably over the past few decades, generating novel opportunities for the talented researchers needed to sustain this momentum. One of the government’s key priorities is to create a positive research environment and first-rate conditions in order to establish the Grand Duchy as an attractive option for researchers abroad who are considering their next career moves. The Public Research Centres play a central role in the country’s drive to build research excellence in specific fields, as does the University of Luxembourg, which was created in 2003. This young institution – portrayed in this edition of FOCUS on Research and Innovation in Luxembourg – attracts students and researchers from Europe and the rest of the world. Financial measures have been put in place to provide funding and support to public research organisations recruiting outstanding researchers. These measures have enabled a number of brilliant minds to find a new home for their research in the Grand Duchy. In addition, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Public Research Centres have recently defined joint objectives related to human resources in research, aiming at optimising structures and human resources policies in order to attract and retain the highly qualified researchers required in the science and technology fields. The Grand Duchy’s ambition in this area is also reflected in the commitment of its public research organisations to the European Charter for Researchers and the associated Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Do you want to exploit your research results? Find collaboration partners on the Luxembourg Portal for Innovation and Research. The portal is an invaluable source of information on R&D and innovation in Luxembourg – an essential tool for identifying potential partners, increasing the visibility of your knowledge, learning more about innovative companies and research institutes in Luxembourg, browsing national and European calls for proposals and keeping up to date with the latest news.
www.innovation.public.lu Innovation and research start here.
At European level, Luxembourg’s Minister for Higher Education and Research and his Portuguese counterpart have taken the initiative to
Pierre Decker, Head of the Research Department, Ministry of Higher Education and Research
recommend a coordinated approach to human resources in research. Their report was adopted by the European Council in 2009 and has supplied input for the establishment of the European Partnership for Researchers ( EPR ), which aims to improve career prospects for researchers in Europe and to help attract researchers from other parts of the world. Aligning public research more closely with private sector needs is also essential for Luxembourg. One example of this symbiosis is the field of ICT security, which Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research, explores in this issue of FOCUS. The country offers excellent ICT infrastructure and services – a crucial asset for its economy, and specifically for its strong financial sector, which also relies heavily on local expertise in data security. With numerous companies active in this area and specialised research competences being developed by several public research organisations, the Grand Duchy’s ICT security sector holds great promise for the future.
Head of the Research Department at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents International to its core Interview with Prof. Rolf Tarrach, University of Luxembourg
News from innovative Luxembourg
ICT security Leading the way in ICT security Powerful ICT : a matter of trust Guardian angels of the cyberworld Secure e-mail : towards a paperless world How to build a hub Protecting IT systems in the financial industry Communication in the cloud Championing innovation in services Better safe than sorry Innovative spaces
11 12 14 16 18 23 24 26 28
Mudam : the art of modernity
Entrepreneurship and innovation Entrepreneurship and innovation news Empowering SMEs Intelligent content management
33 34 36
Public research ( Bio )banking on quality Innovation, bricks-and-mortar style Unravelling complexity Mastering meta-integration matters
38 41 42 44
Rolf Tarrach, President, University of Luxembourg
INTERNATIONAL TO ITS CORE
Internationalism and openness are central to Luxembourg’s economic success, and they also lie at the heart of the country’s university – a young establishment that attracts students, teachers, researchers and partnerships from around the world. Study is conducted in three languages, and all undergraduates have to spend at least one semester abroad. This global outlook helps to provide a stimulating environment for the students and a conducive setting for international research. President Rolf Tarrach sees it as one of uni.lu’s strongest assets.
Did you know it’s from Luxembourg? Putting the ball in ballpoint pens
Five questions for … Michèle Detaille, managing director of No-Nail Boxes
The RDI directory
FOCUS on Research and Innovation in Luxembourg is published by Luxinnovation GIE National Agency for Innovation and Research Director of publication Gilles Schlesser Editor-in-chief Lena Mårtensson email@example.com
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“ Research is international by definition, especially in sciences ”, Prof. Tarrach insists, explaining why he, the University and the government are determined to ensure that the institution reaches out beyond Luxembourg’s borders. Founded in 2003, the University of Luxembourg was conceived as an establishment with a strong international mindset focused on teaching, research and knowledge transfer. He adds that the world faces challenges that cannot be resolved at national level, and needs “ universities which can address problems from an international perspective ”. The Grand Duchy is ideally placed to create the required synergies, not least because of its multilingual nature : courses are taught in combinations of French, German and English. This cosmopolitan vibe resonates throughout the institution, where students are required, by
regulation, to study abroad for a certain amount of time. Prof. Tarrach hints that this arrangement may be unique in the world, but points out that this is just one of many facets. Indeed, the university caters for students from 94 countries in addition to Luxembourg. Together, they make up more than half of the student body. A third of these students has never studied in Luxembourg before, and 15 % come from beyond the three neighbouring countries.
Taking internationalisation to the next level Faculty members have also joined from near and far, such as Belgium, France and Germany, but also China, Israel and the United States. Some 20 nationalities are represented. A range of outlooks is required, says Prof. Tarrach, to develop a truly international perspective, and he is encouraging applications from afar, as part
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These partnerships will provide opportunities to broaden the flow of students further. During a recent state visit to China, three student exchange agreements were signed with universities in Beijing, Jenin and Shanghai. Similar links with other partner institutions in Asia, Europe and North America are in the pipeline. Prof. Tarrach believes that courses and interests can only be aligned by creating firm ties. In establishing the university, the government was keen to avoid setting up a Luxembourgcentric institution that might tempt locals to study at home rather than raise their sights through study abroad. In Prof. Tarrach’s view, this objective has been met, as the number of students going abroad from Luxembourg has remained constant.
of the university’s ongoing drive to broaden its horizons. He hopes that the university will prove increasingly attractive to talent from around the world. It may not be able to boast a reputation established across several centuries, but it strives to acquire one in due course – and in the meantime, uni.lu already has a lot to offer. The President emphasises its ambition, its fresh, internationalist approach, and the reliable financial backing provided by the state, reflected in budget growth of approximately 10 % per year. Ambition? Indeed. Prof. Tarrach is aiming for the university to be ranked globally in the top 100 in at least 1 discipline by the middle of the next decade. “ There is no alternative to having a good university ”, he notes. “ I would rather have no university than a mediocre one ”. Prof. Tarrach is not just committed to excellence, he is also a staunch advocate of cooperation in international research – a stance that was combined with his extensive experience to clinch his appointment as President of the fledgling university. With his multicultural upbringing and proficiency in 6 languages, he has found it natural to work as a researcher in 12 countries during his career. Much of his management work has been geared to facilitating cross-border partnerships within the EU and beyond.
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That said, the orientation of the establishment is influenced by its environment. The presence of the European Court of Justice makes uni.lu the ideal place to study EU law. Similarly, Luxembourg being one of the world’s leading financial centres, it offers exciting opportunities to study this sector. Decision-making occurs close to the ground in this small country, and developments can be tested more easily against real-life situations in all disciplines.
Dedicated to research excellence
The university has five research priorities : European and business law ; international finance ; security, reliability and trust in information technology ( IT ) ; systems biomedicine – and, in keeping with its international calling, education and learning in multilingual and multicultural contexts. While the main intention was to create a research-based institution, the university also offers an extensive range of under-graduate courses combining into 11 bachelor’s and 25 master’s degrees. There are 5,200 students in total, of which 900 are taking master’s courses and 360 are working towards a PhD ; 60 PhD students received their degree last year. The President intends to grow the number of postgraduate research students. Research and international cooperation are greatly facilitated by advances in information and communication technology ( ICT ). The holistic view taken by systems biology, for example, requires substantial IT support for analyses of complicated structures. ICT is a research topic in its own right at the university, as reflected, for example, in the creation
Think local, act global
of its Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust ( SnT ). The Centre focuses on improving communication networks and software systems. “ We have had a lot of support from industry ; SES and P&T Luxembourg in particular have helped us to conduct research that is of interest to them ”, says Prof. Tarrach, referring to the SnT. He describes the Centre as “ the link between the university and our partners in private industry and the Greater Region ” surrounding Luxembourg. In particular, this work is driven by the financial sector, which has a specific interest in data security.
Symbiosis with industry
The university has also attracted financial support for six funded chairs. There has already been a technological breakthrough in research into new materials for solar cells by the TDK Europe Professorship sponsored by the Japanese electronics company. The ArcelorMittal Funded Chair in Façade Engineering is backed by the Luxembourg-based global steel leader and is advancing the development of energy-efficient buildings. Tax consultants ATOZ are funding research into international tax law, and there is also the Deutsche Bank Chair of Finance, which will look into matters of local relevance. A chair in satellite communications and media law was underwritten by one of the world’s largest satellite operators, Luxembourg-based SES, and Luxembourg City is backing work to better understand regional cross-border planning. Prof. Tarrach sees momentum building, with three of the six chairs having been established in 2010. These developments have provided the university with added financial support, and they also embed it firmly within the wider community, increasing the access to input and expertise from beyond academia. The spirit that drives these interactions is expected to endure, although some of the actual arrangements will, eventually, expire. If the chairs prove to be successful, says Prof. Tarrach, the university is prepared to ensure their long-term funding.
Professor Rolf Tarrach became President of the University of Luxembourg in January 2005. Born in Valencia, a Spaniard of German parents, he earned his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Barcelona before conducting postdoctoral research at CERN, in Geneva. He has written two books and published more than 100 papers. Before moving to Luxembourg, he was Dean of the School of Physics and ViceRector of the University of Barcelona. He is also a former President of the Spanish Scientific Research Council and a former member of the European Union Research Advisory Board.
University of Luxembourg +352 46 66 44 60 00 email@example.com www.uni.lu
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NEWS FROM INNOVATIVE LUXEMBOURG
NEWS FROM INNOVATIVE LUXEMBOURG
© DuPont Tejin Films
The security of any system depends on the security of its various components and the interactions between them. This is especially valid for the Domain Name System ( DNS ), as nearly all online services use domain names. DNS “ cache poisoning ” occurs when malicious data is introduced into a DNS server, which then sends a visitor to a site that may mimic the one intended for fraudulent purposes, such as identity theft.
DuPont Teijin Films, the world’s leading differentiated producer of PET and PEN polyester films, is a 50 / 50 global joint venture between partner companies DuPont and Teijin. The Fedil award is presented every two years ; Dupont Teijin Films is the 19th recipient. www.dupontteijinfilms.com
© CRP Gabriel Lippmann
A new laboratory for the Greater Region
RESTENA Foundation, the organisation that operates the registry for .lu domain names and coordinates internet resources at the national level, deployed DNSSEC in February 2001 and made it available to all domain name holders in June 2011. This upgrade protects visitors to signed .lu domains from DNS cache poisoning attempts, if validation is enabled by the visitor’s internet service provider. www.dns.lu
The site’s content includes information on the financial aid available for research and innovation projects, a Technology Market that publishes offers and requests from entities throughout Europe and facilitates technology transfer, and a “ Finding Partners ” section that highlights the RDI capabilities of public research institutions and innovative enterprises in Luxembourg. In addition, the portal lists open calls for project proposals from the main national and European RDI programmes. Available in French and English, the portal has, since its creation in 2003, been managed by Luxinnovation on behalf of the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade. In addition, the Guichet Entreprises website, which provides comprehensive information for businesses in Luxembourg, is now also available in both French and English. www.guichet.lu www.innovation.public.lu
Eureka: new modular self-propelled trailer invented
Public Research Centre ( Centre de Recherche Public ; CRP ) Gabriel Lippmann has joined forces with France’s Jean Lamour Institute to form the Plasma Laboratory for Extreme Surface Interactions ( Laboratoire d’Interaction Plasma – Extrême Surface; LIPES ). The laboratory will explore surface treatments on the nano level with particular reference to applications for the automotive, electronics and construction sectors. In addition, there is a demand for surfaces with anti-bacterial properties in medicine.
Belgium and Luxembourg-based Faymonville, a family-owned company that produces special trailers for heavy loads, has benefited from EUREKA funding for the development of “ Powermax ”, a unique self-propelled trailer. Depending on requirements, “ Powermax ” can be used either as a trailer or a self-propelled unit. For this purpose, some of the axle lines © Faymonville
Fedil – Business Federation Luxembourg has presented its Innovation Award to DuPont Teijin Films for their project “ New dielectric film for capacitors in power converters at high temperatures and elevated energy density ”. The new film significantly expands the scope of film capacitors and permits smaller and lighter components. Its thermal stability increases reliability and security and eliminates the need for system protection and cooling, reducing the cost of the system. These benefits have been demonstrated for use in electric cars, but apply equally to solar panels, windmills, and numerous applications in consumer and industrial electronics.
The Luxembourg Portal for Innovation and Research has been redesigned. It is a single access point for information about research, development and innovation in the Grand Duchy, and has been made even more user friendly to ensure that visitors will find the content they require in a simple and straightforward manner.
“ Powermax ” offers hauliers a significant cost advantage as it obviates the need for an additional tractor, frequently associated with situations where heavy loads are pulled up hills, and is fully interoperable with existing modular axle lines. Using Powermax is also more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The project was carried out in collaboration with a German partner.
Domain Name System Security Extensions ( DNSSEC ), designed for implementation on DNS servers, were introduced to address this problem. If a user’s computer is redirected to a bogus version of a website registered on a DNSSEC-enabled server, software that manages web traffic will encounter security keys that fail to match and alert the user to the problem.
DuPont Teijin Films is Fedil’s Innovation Award Winner
Innovation portal upgraded
of the modular trailer are to be fitted with an auxiliary hydrostatic drive. This auxiliary drive is completely integrated into the axle system and can be switched on or off.
The project is the result of 10 years of collaboration between the 2 research institutions and builds on their joint expertise. LIPES, which is envisioned to support medium and long-term projects over an eight-year period, is expected to attract top international researchers, while a plasma research module will become part of the PhD training cycle offered by CRP Gabriel Lippmann together with the University of Luxembourg.
Welcome to the European Studies Library
Historians and other scholars researching the economic and political development of the European Union can now access the European Studies Library at the University of Luxembourg’s Walferdange campus. A joint © University of Luxembourg / Michel Brumat
Enhanced security for .lu domain names
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© Broadband Power Solutions
NEWS FROM INNOVATIVE LUXEMBOURG
project of the University and the European Investment Bank ( EIB ), the Library holds documents from the EIB covering the period from the bank’s creation in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome through to 1980. This unique collection provides a picture of the EIB’s operational priorities, and many of the documents exist only in these archives.
CE+T Power expands its R&D laboratory in Luxembourg
CE+T Power, a company with operations in seven countries including China, India and the United States, has decided to extend the research capacity of its Broadband Power Solutions ( BPS ) unit in Troisvierges. Specialising in power backup supply, CE+T Power has invested e 800,000 in the construction of a state-of-theart laboratory in northern Luxembourg.
The Library strengthens the ties between the European institution and the local community, while extending the University’s research infrastructure. It also supports the University’s targeted research focus on European governance. www.uni.lu
BPS, a provider of power solutions for broadband access technologies, is seen as a centre of expertise for CE+T Power. The Luxembourg unit will work closely with CE+T Power’s units in Belgium and India. With a goal of becoming a global market leader in protecting businesses from power disruptions, CE+T Power dedicates 10 % of its revenues to R&D.
CRP Gabriel Lippmann and AIXTRON to collaborate on innovative nanomaterials
CRP Gabriel Lippmann and Germany’s AIXTRON, a leading provider of deposition equipment for the semi-conductor industry, have signed a three-year collaboration agreement. AIXTRON has installed an equipment prototype in CRP Gabriel Lippmann’s Science and Analysis of Materials Department. Lippmann researchers will work to improve the conductivity of components used in the manufacture of organic light-emitting diodes, resulting in greater light output and longer life. Applications include flatpanel displays.
© CRP Gabriel Lippmann
Spot that vessel: Luxembourg invests in satellite-based AIS
Beyond the partnership with AIXTRON, the new device could have applications in medical treatments that use nanotechnology to target a specific diseased area with biomolecules, as in the case of cancer, or to accelerate the healing of wounds. www.aixtron.com www.lippmann.lu
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Funding and expertise from Luxembourg are helping to shape a new satellite system dedicated to vessel tracking. The system, which is being developed by the European Space Agency ( ESA ), will involve deploying satellites to boost the Automated Identification System ( AIS ), an application that enables ships to locate each other by exchanging automatic messages. Recent experiments have confirmed that satellites equipped with very high frequency ( VHF ) receivers are able to capture these signals from a low earth orbit. Satellite-enabled AIS would overcome the system’s current range limitations, generating a complete, global picture of vessels using the technology. Active in the project is LuxSpace, a pioneer in the field. LuxSpace works with European and global institutional and industrial partners in aerospace and defence system engineering and application development. The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has decided to support the design phase of the project with a contribution of e 3.9 million to ESA’s satellite-based AIS programme.
Leading the way in ICT security Visionary ideas, exponential innovation, global impact : the explosive growth of information and communication technologies is one of the most fascinating developments of our time. Luxembourg has worked consistently and strategically to position itself as a competitive player in this field. Substantial public investment in state-of-the-art technical infra-structure has ensured that the country can offer real advantages to ICT-based businesses, and political determination has helped to create a conducive setting for such ventures. As a result, some of the superstars of the digital economy were founded in Luxembourg or have established a presence here. In addition to household names such as Amazon, eBay, iTunes, SES Astra, Skype, Telindus and Vodafone, the country’s ICT sector encompasses an extensive network of businesses both large and small. An ICT Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, has been set up to bring these various actors together and encourage them to set up collaborative projects. Security in ICT will rank highly on their agenda : it is an area where the country has developed particular expertise in support of its thriving financial services industry.
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POWERFUL ICT : A Matter of trust
“ The global trend is towards interdisciplinary research as things happen at the intersections ”, says Dr Björn Ottersten, director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust ( SnT ) at the University of Luxembourg. The SnT seeks to ensure that ICT systems and services are robust from a wide range of perspectives. An ambitious remit, which the Centre strives to meet by assembling research and business expertise from a number of disparate but complementary disciplines. FOCUS spoke to Dr Ottersten about his desire to “ seek out the challenging projects ”.
is the human element which is the weak link regarding security ”, Dr Ottersten explains. For example, requiring new passwords every six months might look sensible, but it may also lead people to write them down if they cannot remember.
Quick, agile, focused
So there is more to “ security ” than avoiding intentional attacks. For “ reliability ”, the emphasis lies on avoiding individual points of failure in a system – pre-empting vulnerability not just to malicious attacks, but also to bugs and faults. “ Trust ” is related most strongly to the human element, notably with regard to the perception of trustworthiness. “ A system could be technically very secure, but if people don’t feel this, then there is a problem ”.
Björn Ottersten, Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust ( SnT )
“ My personal view of interdisciplinary research is that one should not try too hard : focus on the research project and the rest will follow. Be open to hiring people with diverse backgrounds and you will create this environment ”, is how Dr Ottersten describes his formula for drawing in the necessary resources. Founded in early 2009, the SnT explores the concepts of security, reliability and trust for information and communication technology services and systems. “ We want to address real-world problems and these often involve several disciplines ”, he points out. The focus is mainly on technical ability, but, where needed, the SnT will call on expertise from social and human sciences. After all, a technology may look good to an engineer, but will it be trusted by the users, and will its solutions match legal requirements? “ Often it
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The SnT is organised separately from standard university-style faculties. “ We complement the faculties with a more focused vision ”, Dr Ottersten says. “ We have a special mission to work with external partners who want to co-invest in the Centre ”. So rather than resistance to cooperation from specialists fixated on their own domain, he says, the Centre attracts staff and partners excited by a holistic approach.
A competitiveness resource
He describes the Centre as a “ resource to help businesses become more competitive ”. Organisations approach the SnT, and it also reaches out to prospective partners. At the moment the Centre has eight agreements with companies and administrations of differing types and sizes. The SnT builds on a pilot project started in the early 2000s, and it operates in a well-resourced environment. It is ideally positioned to pursue research opportunities as they arise, offering partners involved from the early stages ample scope to help mould the Centre’s work in support of their longer-term research objectives.
Negotiations are ongoing with other potential partners ; there is, for example, a strong interest in cooperation with the financial and e-commerce sectors. Many of these interactions involve entities with a prior connection to Luxembourg, but this is by no means a general rule. Talks are notably in progress with a major American IT hardware firm. Collaborations such as these have enabled the Centre to grow quickly and have boosted its capacity to ensure that projects are built and run effectively. Although it seeks private cooperation and funding, the SnT wants to remain an academic institution in order to safeguard its ability to take risks and to look beyond the short term. Dr Ottersten would like half the Centre’s projects to focus on mediumterm, goal-oriented research, with the other half dedicated to longer-term projects. He does not particularly believe in making a distinction between so-called “ applied ” and “ fundamental ” research.
A catalyst for collaborative research ventures
The Centre also helps partners to set up national and international research projects. Many researchers, Dr Ottersten remarks, are discouraged by the red tape involved in applying for funding, given that there is generally only a 10 % chance of success. The SnT assists scientists pursuing these opportunities, notably by helping them to assemble a consortium, providing guidance on applications, and monitoring the process. Luxembourg’s neutrality and compact size are useful in this respect. In a recent European project, an under-construction traffic tunnel was used to simulate accident conditions in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of a range of life-saving technologies. Dr Ottersten points out that it was easier to obtain permission and achieve the cooperation of agencies here than it would have been in a large country.
The Grand Duchy has several examples of companies that have built their success on a combination of technical and scientific expertise and an astute assessment of the niches and opportunities that present themselves in a small sovereign state. This was certainly the case for both the broadcaster RTL Group and the satellite firm SES, which have addressed the European market from Luxembourg. Online payments business PayPal has also thrived, and grown into a fully fledged bank. Coming up with ideas such as these requires the type of fresh thinking encouraged at the SnT.
SnT projects and partners : a selection
• 2D / 3D sensor fusion – IEE • Web service security – P&T • Satellite payload reconfiguration – SES • Trusted location-based services – Telindus • Design for location-based services – itrust Consulting • Logical approaches to analyses of market irrationality – Luxembourg School of Finance • Energy optimisation and monitoring for wireless networks – Luxembourg City
Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust ( SnT ) University of Luxembourg firstname.lastname@example.org www.securityandtrust.lu
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technical complexity of the systems poses an even greater threat to information security than malicious hackers. The systems are invariably developed within a tight framework of time, budget and resources, which in turn results in weaknesses that can be exploited – hence the importance of thorough testing, preferably during development or alternatively as part of a system security policy. Another co-funded project, DIAMONDS, will allow itrust to create expertise in model-based testing and hacking and to develop a tool for management and monitoring of security testing with the objective of early identification and prompt management of vulnerabilities.
the everyday problems that they encounter with respect to information security ”. The need for constant innovation becomes evident as Mr Dayan elaborates upon the speed with which the threat landscape shifts and changes : “ Our challenge is that nothing remains static in this game ; new products and new software are constantly providing new opportunities for risk ”.
Carlos Harpes, Managing Director, itrust consulting
Dartalis and itrust consulting, two small, dynamic companies based in Luxembourg, are driven by a passion for information security – a field where remaining prepared to respond to a wide variety of threats naturally requires constant innovation. This is a challenge they embrace with great enthusiasm. They are determined to deploy their expertise through consulting, problem solving and implementation of solutions in order to help a population that is not always fully aware of the risks.
Luxembourg, with its high GDP, beautiful environment and excellent leisure facilities, has an enviable reputation in Europe as a great place to achieve a sustainable work-life balance. Physical safety and well-being are also often listed among the key attractions of the Grand Duchy, which is viewed as a good place to raise a family. It therefore requires a subtle technique to communicate a message of caution and warning of serious threats with enough force to prompt action without giving rise to paranoia or panic.
Vigilance, at all times
The fact that the country’s residents are relatively safe from physical attack could, potentially, generate a false sense of security with regard to other types of threats. Given the disproportionately large number of transactions carried out daily in this major European financial hub, such complacency would be unwise. “ There are many types of threats to information security ”, explains Dr Carlo Harpes, managing director and founder of itrust consulting, a company created in 2007 that now employs 7 security experts. “ Individuals and companies need to protect their information from the risks of divulgation, manipulation and unavailability.
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Our services aim to assist and train clients in the conception of their security policy and security management ”.
Understanding the threats
Divulgation is the act of breaching the confidentiality of information that should normally be kept secret or private, such as personal human resources information within an organisation, or the customer passwords or PIN codes required for secure transactions. Manipulation is the term used to describe the illicit modification of data, notably for reasons of fraud or to pervert the course of justice. Unavailability of information can also be very damaging, for example to an organisation that is very dependent upon reliable, up-to-date data. Unavailability of information can result in a “ freeze ” of operations, and even in total collapse. Isaak Dayan is the managing director of Dartalis, a company existing since 2001 in Luxembourg and building on many years of experience in what he terms “ the art of information security ”. His team now incorporates 15 likeminded experts. “ We are practitioners ”, he explains, “ we do not sell servers or PCs – our focus is 100 % on helping our clients to get over
The typical client of Dartalis requires bespoke solutions from a local team, which must be highly skilled and extremely responsive. The company’s bespoke process follows a standard structure involving three phases : planning, design and assessment. The first phase ensures that security foundations are strong and the problem therefore contained, the second phase focuses on designing secure architectures that incorporate the planned safeguards, and the final phase assesses the sustainability of the solution and proposes any necessary mitigations.
GUARDIAN ANGELS OF THE CYBERWORLD
A tailor-made arsenal
Like Dartalis, itrust solves problems for both small local and large global organisations. Both companies see the field of information security as sufficiently complex to justify their strategy of remaining focused and specialised, with the option to collaborate with companies offering other IT services.
While Dartalis is primarily focused on providing solutions for the enterprise, itrust is actively involved in several European R&D projects partfinanced by the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade, the European Space Agency, and the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development. The R&D and innovation part makes half of itrust’s turnover and is an important element in the company’s strategy, as it strengthens a reputation of expertise and also provides the organisation with an insight into the future of security systems at international level. A project of particular interest is the MICIE project, which is in line with the EU initiative to support sharing of risk related information among operators of critical infrastructures, like electricity, gas, water, transport or telecommunication providers. There is a constant battle between those who seek to penetrate systems and those who must maintain control. However, the increasing
Isaak Dayan, Managing Director, Dartalis
The innovation work performed by itrust and Dartalis thus involves activities at many levels, from participation in international consortia and government research down to the daily hand-to-hand combat to match and surpass the ingeniousness of would-be intruders. It is a key asset for these guardian angels of the cyberworld. itrust consulting s.à r.l. +352 26 17 62 12 email@example.com www.itrust.lu Dartalis +352 26 74 69 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dartalis.lu
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SECURE E-Mail : towards a paperless world Kurt Kammerer, CEO, regify®
As e-mail usage surges and the use of postal mail declines, the security and reliability of e-mail is gaining in importance for many users. An e-mail with a business contract or a legal document attached cannot be sent as casually as a birthday greeting. Has an important e-mail been received? Can you prove it? Have attachments arrived unaltered, and has their confidentiality been preserved? regify, newly located in Luxembourg, offers services that address these issues and more.
When they developed their approach to e-mail security, regify’s founders, CEO Kurt Kammerer and CTO Volker Schmid, were convinced that mere encryption was not enough. As with registered mail, the sender needed to know that the message and its contents would be received, that there would be a lasting record of its receipt, and that the confidentiality of the contents would be maintained. regify’s service is designed to meet these needs. It is structured similarly to a securities clearing house, a model with which Luxembourg is well acquainted. Users can send and receive e-mail through their existing e-mail service provider, working with familiar applications such as Microsoft Outlook. The clearing centre is located in Switzerland.
Trusted and binding
Characterised by simplicity and ease of use, regify requires only that e-mail senders click on a “ send regify ” button positioned next to the “ send ” button in their usual e-mail client. Opening a regify e-mail, for recipients, is as easy as opening a PDF file. Alternatively, regify e-mails can be sent and read online using regify’s web portal. Conveniently for businesses, regify allows users to designate one or more deputy representatives, who are also able to open any
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regify e-mails the user receives. This back-up arrangement is handy when users are absent and cannot access their e-mails in person. In addition, regify supports digitally signed documents, with signatures being defined as “ obligatory attachments ” to regify e-mails.
A unique business model
“ regify is a company with an unique service offer, covering all aspects of electronic mail and letters ”, says Mr Kammerer. Other companies have offered secure e-mail to individual users ; in contrast to his competitors, he sees e-mail security as a network business. Therefore regify’s sales focus is on network providers, like Luxembourg’s main postal and telecommunications service provider P&T. The system is also attractive for businesses like bank branch networks, where the ability to communicate via secure e-mail would be welcomed by both customers and staff. Mr Kammerer points out that regify can install its e-mail service remotely. “ Typically only one or two days are needed to get the service up and running. The simplest, plain vanilla version takes only half a day ”.
regify’s head office has recently relocated to the Grand Duchy – for a number of compelling reasons, as Mr Kammerer explains. “ First, we
found Luxembourg to be a very business-minded environment. The government is accessible and accommodating. With the financial services industry being such an important part of the economy, the government is keen to diversify and ICT is an interesting sector for them. Luxembourg has all the advantages of being an EU capital, but it is also perceived as being independent, neutral and trustworthy. For our business, this is a significant benefit ”. Mr Kammerer was also impressed by Luxembourg’s multilingual capabilities and the favourable tax treatment of revenue from intellectual property. In addition, regify has received financial support from the Grand Duchy. Further funds were provided by P&T Capital, the Société luxembourgeoise de capital-développement pour les PME ( CDPME – Luxembourg’s development capital fund for small and medium-sized enterprises ( SMEs )) and the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement ( SNCI – the National Credit and Investment Company ), which have invested in the company as minority shareholders. Convinced that regify’s services offers genuine added value, P&T Luxembourg plans to offer regify to clients for secure e-mails.
regify’s newest service : secure invoicing
A new EU directive, 2010 / 45 / EU, supports electronic invoicing and simplifies the legal requirements. In response, regify launched regibill® to coincide with Germany’s adoption of the directive in July 2011. “ In the EU, 28.5 billion invoices are issued each year, of which 90 % are still on paper ”, says Mr Kammerer. The potential savings linked to electronic invoicing are substantial. regify expects that 10 billion invoices will be sent electronically by 2015. The company’s regibill® application ensures that the identity of the sender of an invoice and the integrity of the invoice itself can be validated for a 10-year period, as legally required.
Looking to the future
regify is a young company. Having made it through the start-up period and demonstrated its “ proof of concept ”, it is now in its expansion phase and positioning itself to be a global provider. With a sales presence in Benelux, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, regify recently won its first contract in Singapore. “ Singapore was our first choice for our expansion into South-East
Asia ”, says Mr Kammerer, “ because it acts as a doorway to the rest of region ”. What else is in regify’s future? Mr Kammerer and his colleagues have clearly developed a taste for innovation. The regify approach, he says, would be particularly well suited to e-commerce or smart phone applications. The next inspired idea may be just around the corner.
E-mail facts and figures
• Worldwide, 107 trillion e-mails were sent in 2010 – i.e. an average of 204 billion e-mails per day. • There are 1.88 billion e-mail accounts, 25 % of which are corporate. • The number of e-mails sent in 2010 represents a 20 % increase from 2009. • In contrast, the volume of mail sent via the US postal service alone has declined from 212 billion items in 2007 to 167 billion items in 2010.
regify® SA +352 2689 32 1 email@example.com www.regify.com
Focus 5 I 2011
HOW TO BUILD A HUB
The strategic policies aiming to boost Luxembourg’s economy focus on different areas of activity, but all are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. In the field of IT, things are no different. The country already builds on a strong tradition in this area, as reflected in outstanding capabilities and powerful infrastructure. FOCUS spoke to Jean-Paul Zens, director of the Media and Communications Department at the Ministry of State, and to François Thill and Pascal Steichen from the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade, to find out how far the country has come, where it is seeking to go in the future, and why top-flight expertise in ICT security is central to this process.
That Luxembourg would position itself at the forefront of ICT development should come as no great surprise. Indeed, the government department of which Jean-Paul Zens is a director was set up in the mid-1980s when the decision was taken to invest in a company providing satellite services. Luxembourg has always cultivated a taste for new technology. “ If we look back in history ”, says Mr Zens, “ one of the first commercial radio stations in Europe was launched here. At the beginning of the 1930s, Luxembourg was thus already a player in the media world thanks to RTL. Foreign investors chose Luxembourg because commercial radio was not allowed in their own countries ”. RTL developed from radio to television, but with that came the problem of frequencies : TV has a much shorter range than medium- or long-wave radio, and the government had to take this into account or face the prospect of losing its media sector. That was when the satellite proposal came into play. And then the internet came along ... “ We had to assess how to transform this country from a media hub into an internet hub ”, continues Mr Zens. “ Ten years ago we started travelling around to see what we would have to do, what kinds of concepts we would need to maintain our USP ( Unique Selling Proposition ). As a small country, we cannot have a global presence in the digital economy. We had to choose what we would do to specialise ”. A first step in this direction was the attempt to attract some blue-chip companies to the Grand Duchy. It was successful : “ We got AOL, then Amazon.com, iTunes, PayPal, eBay ... Skype was created here. In the past five or six years we have succeeded in positioning Luxembourg on the map as a country that is known internationally for playing a role in e-commerce ”.
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Mr Zens believes that the next step for Luxembourg is to “ deliver more concretely ” as economies across Europe develop. “ The European economy is more and more servicebased, and within the EU, Luxembourg’s own economy is the most service-driven of them all, especially because of the financial sector ”. The more an economy is service-based, the more dependent it becomes on IT. This is a simple but salient fact. “ This creates opportunities, but it also creates risks. The opportunities arise because we are highly advanced in using IT ”, he says, adding that “ the financial sector has been using it for years, and other industries are catching up, or have done so already. IT is the lifeblood of their productivity and keeps Luxembourg’s financial sector competitive. Per capita, this country has the highest number of IT specialists in the EU. That is an indication of the importance of IT, but also of our levels of innovation and development ”. This sheer dependence on IT is where Mr Zens sees the risks involved. Expertise in securing IT is available, but the more data is exchanged, the more vulnerable you can become. “ This risk, this vulnerability means we have to invest in research into ICT security, reliability and trust ”. Indeed, the University of Luxembourg is already taking this into account, studying the construction of secure networks and datacentres and developing software that tackles spam. It is also advancing the knowhow needed to fight cyber-attacks. Mr Zens remarks that perception of the risk is becoming more prevalent. If Luxembourg wants to play a major role in the development of the digital economy in Europe, we have to choose particular areas of expertise that define our pole of excellence. One such area is in security, resilience and trust regarding the internet ”. To that end, the government has declared that one of its seven priorities for investment in the University focuses on IT in general, and on the institution’s Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust in particular. “ We believe that security and trust is an underdeveloped segment of the European research field ”, Mr Zens points out. “ This country can position itself as a strong player in IT risk management. The University already enjoys strong Europe-wide recognition
Jean-Paul Zens, Director, Media and Communications Department, Ministry of State
when it comes to security, and we expect that we will be able to attract researchers from the top level to come and work in Luxembourg. We are constantly building up elements supporting our vision to create a major internet hub in this country ”.
Over the past six or seven years, work has been carried out to reinforce the connectivity between Luxembourg and the other major internet hubs in Europe and around the world. “ Teralink and LuxConnect are examples of these developments. They connect us to the best possible networks in terms of speed and latency, enabling us to exchange data amongst ourselves and with the world. Once that data is here, it must be stored in a secure way. This is why we’ve built state-of-the-art data networks
Focus 5 I 2011
The development of Luxembourg as a hub in the digital economy will thus be founded on technological advancement, security and trust, but there is also a programme in place at the regulatory level, whereby “ flexibility will be a priority in terms of regulation for players in the digital economy. Our achievements in the past should serve well in the future when it comes to our credibility, especially when compared with larger countries ”.
SMILE and the whole world smiles with you
“ Security made in Lëtzebuerg ” ( SMILE ) is an Economic Interest Group created by five public sector partners pursuing a shared goal : that of establishing a coordinated and diversified group for ICT security and thereby creating a centre of excellence. It was founded in May 2010 by the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, the Ministry for Family Affairs and Integration and the associations SIGI and SYVICOL. SIGI is Luxembourg’s Intermunicipal Association for IT Management ( Syndicat Intercommunal de Gestion Informatique ), and SYVICOL is the country’s Association of Cities and Communes ( Syndicat des Villes et Communes Luxembourgeoises ).
and centres over the past years. Most of these are Tier 4 – the top level. We have the infrastructure to keep data in a spirit of trust and reliability, as we have been doing in the financial world for many years. We want to carry that trust over from finance to data ”. In addition, the government’s broadband plan will enable all residents and businesses to have very high speed broadband. From 2013, internet access with 100 Mb speed will be available to 80 % of the population. This is far beyond
Focus 5 I 2011
FOCUS asked François Thill and Pascal Steichen at the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade for details. The mission of SMILE, says Mr Thill, the president of this initiative, is to act as a platform for coordination, advocacy, communication, media and technology, while integrating services, infrastructure, platforms and skills among existing partners. Activities are organised in four main areas : awareness-raising and education activities, in the context of the “ Cyber Awareness and Security Enhancement Structure ” ( CASES ) initiative ; incident response and threat analysis services, provided by the Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg ( CIRCL ) ; research and development; and standardisation and normalisation.
Spreading the word
internationally. Research and development remains an objective of high importance for the SMILE group, which promotes and participates in a variety of research programmes on ICT security, in partnership with international and national actors such as the University of Luxembourg and the country’s public research centres.
CASES is an information platform set up in 2003 by the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade as part of the implementation of the first pillar of the master plan for security of systems and information networks. The activities of CASES tie in with several European initiatives dedicated to awareness and prevention in the field of ICT security for individuals and businesses. They include BEE-SECURE, a Luxembourg project of campaigns, fairs, workshops and training events that are designed to help youngsters and citizens to benefit from the advantages of the internet without facing unnecessary risks. Initially focused on individuals and on the younger population in particular, the CASES platform now extends to raising awareness in both corporate and public organisations.
Dealing with threats
As our reliance on information technology increases, so does the importance of services like CIRCL. Luxembourg with its thriving financial services sector, an early adopter of new technologies such as cloud computing and high-speed internet, has a particular interest in assuring quick response to any potential threats, according to Mr Steichen, the president of CIRCL. In this small nation, the risk of a cyber-attack on one financial institution would be a threat to the reputation of the country as a whole.
One of the highlights of this work is the organisation of the 2011 edition of the annual international conference “ Hack.lu ”, scheduled in September. The event is intended as an open conference that will provide the various actors in the computer security world with an opportunity to discuss security issues, privacy, information technology and their cultural and technical implications for society.
the benchmark in Europe. In 2015, a quarter of the population will benefit from service upgrades to 1 Gb. As Mr Zens points out, data consumption will only continue to increase, and access must be available across the board and across the territory, irrespective of where the internet users are located. “ Upload speeds have to be much better. This is vital across Europe, not just in Luxembourg. We, however, are being very proactive and looking at this very closely ”.
Parallel to and in close cooperation with CIRCL, whose constituency is local government and the private sector, the government, together with the National Centre for Information Technologies ( CTIE – Centre des technologies de l’information de l’Etat ) and the Ministry of State, provides substantial investment and resources to the new governmental CERT covering the governmental services as well as large scale incidents within operators of critical infrastructure. The recently created “ Cyber-security Board ” was set up by the Luxembourg government to focus on strategic activities. Representatives of six national administration offices meet in order to improve coordination. The activities of SMILE in the fields of standardisation and normalisation include encouraging organisations to align to the international standards of best practices, such as the ISO27000 family of standards, as well as contributing to the development of standards and legislation, both nationally and
Ministry of State Media and Communications Department +352 24 78 21 67 firstname.lastname@example.org www.investinluxembourg.lu/ict Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade Electronic Commerce and IT Security Department +352 24 78 84 15 email@example.com www.bee-secure.lu www.cases.lu www.circl.lu www.smile.public.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
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PROTECTING IT SYSTEMS IN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY
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“ Banking, in my opinion, is managing information and knowhow about money and about products ”, says Marc Hemmerling, head of organisation, technology and payment systems at the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association ( Association des Banques et Banquiers, Luxembourg ; ABBL ). “ Without efficient and secure information handling, you are not able to offer these services ”. He adds that financial institutions could not manage the flow of customer information without IT. Nor could they comply with current legal obligations, in particular when it comes to checking, on an ongoing basis, the huge volumes of customer and transaction related data.
Modern banks rely heavily on information technology and they cannot afford security lapses, such as data breaches or service interruptions. Constant vigilance is required to analyse and address developments and potential threats that could affect their systems. The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association, a professional organisation representing most of the banks and other professionals of the financial sector established in the Grand Duchy, outlines the importance of IT as an enabler for the sector and stresses the steps taken to keep it secure.
The Financial Sector Surveillance Commission ( Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier ; CSSF ) requires banks to deploy a business continuity plan to limit the risk of service interruptions, Mr Hemmerling explains. To ensure this continuity, banks are obliged to work with two secure datacentres or to outsource operations to a service provider who can provide this infrastructure.
A complex task
Security is vital to keeping the system running. “ You have to make sure that it’s secure at different levels ”, says Mr Hemmerling. There are many aspects involved, which range from controlling the physical access to facilities to restricting who has access to what online and keeping abreast of IT developments. Another significant role of security is to ensure the availability of the system to authorised users. Banking systems must not only be secure, they must also be regarded as being so. When a bank asks customers to use a new system, their acceptance turns on trust. “ If people do not trust it, it will not be used – that’s the biggest danger to the banking system ”, the ABBL executive explains.
Marc Hemmerling, Head of Organisation, Technology and Payment Systems, Luxembourg Bankers’ Association
Focus 5 I 2011
The ABBL approaches ICT security from several angles. It strives to raise the level of awareness about security issues among its members, and it also plays a role in preparing for new kinds of ICT security problems, like data breaches and attacks against payment systems, and recommending how to handle them if they occur. If something does happen to a member company, the ABBL is involved in working groups examining the impact and effects of the attack, then helping to decide what course of action to take. The association also takes part in the Operational Crisis Prevention Group led by the Luxembourg Central Bank. Its aim is to prepare the financial sector for appropriate action when major incidents occur such as technical failures, the aftermaths of natural disasters or criminal or terrorist attacks.
Luxembourg’s initiative to expand its ICT infrastructure by building first-rate, secure datacentres and high-speed data connections has helped the financial sector to develop its outsourcing capabilities. Mr Hemmerling adds that the technical innovations go hand in hand with the legal framework establishing the Support Financial Sector Professionals ( Support PSF ) certification process. The certificate confirms that holders are able to handle data securely and “ allows banks to outsource their activities and take advantage of the existence of these top-quality datacentres ”. The availability of top-notch technical infrastructure can be viewed, together with what Mr Hemmerling describes as this country’s “ culture of secrecy ”, as creating increasingly attractive conditions for banks and other businesses working with sensitive data that are interested in moving operations to Luxembourg. The infrastructure can also be used to provide services based on cloud computing, which underpins low-cost, flexible, network-reliant applications such as e-commerce, e-invoicing, e-payment and e-archiving. Luxembourg Bankers’ Association +352 46 36 601 email@example.com www.abbl.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
The development of cloud computing is under way in Luxembourg, enabling companies to realise substantial benefits and cut costs. One firm that leveraged this technology early on is B2 Group, a thriving business that offers a range of services to the financial industry – such as B2 Hub, a cloud-enabled messaging application. Every month, this communications hub handles about E8 billion worth of transactions on behalf of customers around the world.
Services like those offered by B2 Hub have transformed the financial industry, allowing companies to lower their processing costs to the point where they can substantially increase their volumes. Operating since 2009, the small firm delivers its services from a pair of datacentres in Luxembourg City. A high-bandwidth connection links the centres to each other and to the world. B2 provides what it describes as “ super-dedicated middleware ”, a messaging solution that permits users to interact and to access marketplatforms. The service, which has already been adopted by banks and market platforms around the world, focuses on financial messaging, “ for example foreign exchange straight-through processing ( STP ) of confirmations ”, explains Phil Boland, B2’s chief executive officer. “ It is a Corporate Payments Transaction hub, as well as a funds and foreign exchange message processing service ”.
Flexible, adaptable, interoperable
Marc Binck, who founded the business with Mr Boland and is now its chief technology officer, points out that B2 Hub runs a single instance of its software across an array of virtual machines that is, in theory, infinitely scalable. This approach lowers the firm’s maintenance costs, allowing it to pass along savings to the customers. “ We can respond to changes in market volume very quickly, so we can offer a more flexible service ”, he adds. A unique selling point for the service is its interoperability. “ We’ve built our software platform to be as adaptable as possible ”, says Mr Boland. “ First of all we can accept any type of message type, whether it’s an automated
fax, a SWIFT message, a FIX message, or some sort of proprietary network, anything at all. B2 Hub was built to be adaptable ”. For example, over the past 6 or 7 months, he adds, “ B2 Hub has proved the system’s flexibility by bringing no less than 11 different foreign exchange trading venues on stream ”.
Secure by design and by law
Security is essential to the success of B2 Hub, as it is for any component of the financial industry’s ICT infrastructure. “ We must be super secure at every stage of the game, and our datacentres are secure in terms of physical security and virtual security encryption ”. When clients link to B2 Hub, they may use their own connectivity and security capability, but often they prefer to let B2 take care of this. They then install a small B2 communications security application, known as an “ agent ”, on their site, which handles all the appropriate encryption and certificate exchange.
From Luxembourg to the world
Mr Boland and Mr Binck are delighted with the success of their firm’s software. They report that B2 Hub has elicited an enthusiastic response in many of the world’s leading financial centres, as reflected in numerous client and market comments praising its merits compared to competing products from the United Kingdom and the United States. “ We’ve exported our design flair and market knowledge to expand outside of Luxembourg ”, Mr Boland concludes.
COMMUNICATION IN THE CLOUD
B2 and its infrastructure provider Netcore are licensed by the Financial Sector Surveillance Commission ( CSSF ). The CSSF requires that all data must reside in known datacentres, supplied or maintained by qualified suppliers, and situated in specific locations within the Grand Duchy. Alongside the Software as a Service ( SaaS ) messaging system, B2 Hub also offers software for financial applications, for example to facilitate the management of operational risk linked to foreign exchange, and straight-through processing software for connectivity between banks which need to communicate directly, without using the B2 Hub messaging system.
B2 Group +352 476 847 730 firstname.lastname@example.org www.b2-hub.com
Focus 5 I 2011
championing innovation in services
The emerging discipline of service science and innovation examines how innovative services can be developed and offered, often in a technology context. In Luxembourg, CRP Henri Tudor has joined the international movement towards this new field by creating a new multidisciplinary department. The Service Science and Innovation ( SSI ) department is undertaking a wide range of projects with immediate impact in this country’s service-dominated local economy. Several of these projects reflect the department’s keen interest in ICT security.
management. It is a methodology that helps businesses to define criteria enabling them to determine if their services have the required level of quality. TIPA is being deployed commercially by ITpreneurs, an international company that provides content and instructors for IT training and workshops. The methodology has also been the topic of several scientific publications.
Services for improved ICT security Boshua
SSI also conducts research into ICT security. SSI’s approach, says Dr Dubois, is specific in that it does not focus on the technological dimension of security. Instead it looks at “ services related to the management of security within an organisation ”. The department’s work in the area of security falls into three main strands.
ledge and information ; management and human aspects ; processes ; and technology and service-oriented architecture.
Keeping an eye on the latest in ICT
CRP Henri Tudor’s new SSI department is based on a view of information technology as a “ vector of innovation ” enabling new applications or, in other words, new services – a matter of particular relevance for a country like Luxembourg, where services account for 90 % of the GNP. “ This is why we have decided to go with this focus – how to innovate with these technologies and how to innovate in terms of new services ”, SSI Director Eric Dubois explains. Lessons learned in the United States show that a multidisciplinary setting enhances the study of SSI. In October 2010, CRP Henri Tudor created a suitable context by bringing together 150 researchers with a wide variety of specialisations. They are divided into five units dealing with different aspects of service : economics ; know-
Focus 5 I 2011
The SSI department involves a strong technology watch component focusing on developments in ICT. Building on the outcomes of this ongoing analysis, the department works, either in isolation or directly with companies, to crystallise the “ idea of a service ”. “ What is important when you invent a new service is to understand the business model behind this service very quickly ”, says Prof. Dr Dubois. “ You can use a set of systematic tools to go from the idea to the complete deployment ”. This improvement of this set of tools and the identification of new ones supporting a sustainable service innovation management is the central domain of research within SSI. The emergence of service innovation as a discipline has led to new job profiles, and SSI has helped to devise a professional executive master’s programme in innovative service systems, called EMISS. It is the first such programme in Europe to foster professional skills in companies related to innovation in services. One of the most visible innovative services designed by the centre is the Tudor IT Process Assessment ( TIPA ). TIPA, Dr Dubois explains, emerges from SSI’s effort to translate knowledge about best practices and good requirements into a set of processes that companies can use to guarantee effective service level
One involves raising awareness among SMEs about the importance of ICT security and security management. SSI has a partnership with the information security initiative CASES of the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade to develop, for SME consultants, what Dr Dubois calls “ very light services that can be used to measure your company’s level of security and the adequacy of its security management ”. The department is also developing a set of services aimed at companies trying to implement the ISO 27000 security certification standard. The third area of service development involves the monitoring of security infrastructure, or “ security assurance ”. Through PhD research and its participation in numerous European R&D projects, SSI has produced a model enabling large organisations, with significant IT infrastructure, to supervise and monitor the many aspects of its systems. Regarding future services in development, SSI is considering security issues in the new cloud infrastructures. An issue that runs through the various projects taken forward at SSI is how to build trust and confidence in the resulting services and processes. When people like a service, it is usually because they enjoy the experience, Dr Dubois says, underlining the complexity of this aspect. “ It is very hard to define what makes a good user experience, or a bad one ”. Service Science & Innovation ( SSI ) Department CRP Henri Tudor +352 42 59 91 1 email@example.com www.tudor.lu
Eric Dubois, Director, Service Science and Innovation ( SSI ) Department
PEARL brings enterprise architecture expert to SSI
SSI is also the new research home for Dr Eric Proper, who was recruited as part of the National Research Fund’s PEARL programme. The Dutch researcher is head of a Servicesoriented Enterprise Engineering research team and oversees the “Architecturebased service innovation in networked enterprises” ( ASINE ) project. Dr Proper’s expertise lies in the area of enterprise architecture ( EA ), a representation of the various aspects of a company’s assets including its business value models, its human skills, its processes and its IT assets. This model makes it possible to measure the impact of a new innovation on the company in terms of transformation of these assets. Dr Proper is extending this EA concept to include the concepts of services and of enterprise networks. One outcome of his work would enable easier and less costly company evolution ( collaboration with other companies, outsourcing, mergers, etc ) by ensuring that companies have suitable enterprise architecture. PEARL is funding the researcher’s lab and the salaries of seven staff.
Focus 5 I 2011
INNOVATIVE SPACES Boshua
better safe than sorry
M2M, or machine to machine, comprises technologies that enable appliances and other devices to exchange data directly with each other without human involvement. Such communication is accomplished by means of telemetry, which uses radio waves, telecom networks and even satellites to transmit information – for example concerning the characteristics of an emergency situation. HITEC Luxembourg is taking advantage of new developments in M2M to enhance public safety with its innovative applications.
of which are limited to sound. To respond optimally, teams should also have access to maps, sensor readings, video coverage, updates on the location of other teams and the status of reinforcements, and to historical, archived data. HITEC Luxembourg’s Dynamic Information Sharing Platform ( DISP® ), a fully integrated, secured system for public safety, security and defence workers such as police and firemen, was specifically designed to address this need. Using M2M capabilities, DISP® is able to collect the corresponding data and share it on a “ crisis centre ” computer, located in a server room where it centralises information, as well as on “ mobile units ”, which are robust laptops with touch screens installed in vehicles. An intuitive user interface has been designed for easy use in high-stress situations.
Communicating in the face of catastrophe
Innovation out of tragedy
“ This tragedy served as one of the inspirations for HITEC Luxembourg in the development of its Public Safety Suite ”, recounts HITEC Luxembourg’s head of Software and ICT Department, Harold Linke. The suite contains several solutions targeted for specific purposes that range from local firefighters responding to a call-out to non-governmental organisations rushing to a humanitarian disaster on the other side of the planet. In an emergency situation, for example in an industrial explosion, all communication typically occurs via phone or radio – both
Focus 5 I 2011
The system’s development is part of an effort to avoid situations such as the one following 2010’s earthquake in Haiti, which disrupted much of the island’s communications network. While many people had mobile phones, there was limited electricity available for charging them. In many instances, the only way for aid workers to gain an overview of the situation was to head out to the devastated neighbourhoods on bicycles. The emergency.lu system is backed by the Luxembourg government and the UN World Food Program Organisation. “ Using emergency.lu ensures that when disaster strikes, lives are not lost due to coordination problems or inconsistencies of the information flow ”, says Mr Linke.
HITEC Luxembourg +352 49 84 78 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.hitec.lu
MUDAM : THE ART OF MODERNITY
Designed by world-renowned architect I. M. Pei, Luxembourg’s museum of contemporary art, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean – Mudam, was built at the site of Fort Thüngen, one of Luxembourg’s oldest landmarks. The asymmetrical V shape of the museum, which skilfully combines stone with glass in a style typical of Pei, mirrors the introverted outline of the fortress. The shape is both modern and classical ; the design is formalist, sober and monumental.
Mudam Luxembourg - I. M. Pei architect design
In 1999, a truck carrying flour and margarine caught fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel. The engines of the other vehicles trapped in the tunnel stalled as the fire consumed the oxygen they needed to run and the temperatures inside reached 1,000 °C. Before the fire was extinguished 56 hours later, 39 people had died. Much of the loss of life could have been avoided if rescue workers had had better information about conditions inside the tunnel.
A complementary HITEC Luxembourg solution, emergency.lu, has been put in place together with SES and Ducair – Luxembourg Air Ambulance, as an emergency logistics provider. It offers a platform for rapid response and humanitarian aid in a disaster such as a tsunami or a flood. It uses satellite capacity to provide VoIP ( voice over IP ), instant messaging, tracking and tracing of people and equipment, map assessment, picture sharing, situation reports and a web portal for remote access to data sources.
On its south-western front, Mudam looks out over old Luxembourg, while its north side opens onto the “ Place de l’Europe ”, a contemporary square where the main entrance is situated. “ The most important aspect that seduced me ”, says Mr Pei, “ was the changing play between past and present, past and future … What interests me is how to harmonise the past and the present so that they mutually reinforce each other ”.
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Mudam Luxembourg - I. M. Pei architect design
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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION NEWS Boshua
P&T initiative supports ICT development
NEWS Luxembourg’s leading postal and telecommunications services operator, Entreprise des Postes et Télécommunications, has set up a venture capital company, P&T Capital S.A. The aim is to provide seed money or venture capital to Luxembourg start-up companies in areas relating to its development strategy or other areas of interest to P&T. With initial funding of e5 million, P&T envisions equity participation as a minority or majority shareholder in innovative new SMEs in the areas of ICT, telecommunications or information processing in general. P&T Capital will also consider participating with other suitable institutional investors. www.pt.lu
the world’s largest IT and communications trade fair, by the Forum of e-Excellence ( EMF ) and its partner organisations. www.wordbee.com
iNUI Studio co-founder receives Creative Young Entrepreneur Luxembourg award
Olivier Raulot, co-founder of iNUI Studio, has won the Creative Young Entrepreneur Luxembourg ( CYEL ) 2011 award. iNUI Studio develops pioneering natural user interfaces notably based on multitouch surfaces, gesture recognition and facial recognition.
Wordbee honoured at CeBIT
Focus 5 I 2011
Mudam Luxembourg - I. M. Pei architect design
Luxembourg-based Wordbee won a Gold European Seal of e-Excellence at CeBIT 2011 for its Wordbee Translator platform. This was the first award ever granted in the Language Technologies category. The Gold Seal was received just 18 months after the launch of this platform for computer-assisted translation ( CAT ) and translation management. Wordbee Translator uses cloud computing techniques to power a browser-based collaborative working environment. The European Seal of e-Excellence rewards ICT and digital media companies that have distinguished themselves in innovation marketing. The Seal has been awarded annually since 2003 at CeBIT,
Winning second place was Marco Houwen, cofounder and director of LuxCloud, which offers a Software as a Service ( SaaS ) delivery platform for automatic billing and other services. The third place went to Nicolas Henckes, company director of Legitech, a legal publishing specialist. The CYEL competition is held annually by the Junior Chamber International Luxembourg. The three winners are now eligible to represent the Grand Duchy in the worldwide competition for the Junior Chamber International’s Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, which will be presented at an event in Brussels in November 2011. www.inui-studio.com www.legitech.lu www.luxcloud.com
Focus 5 I 2011
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
Amal Choury is the founder and managing director of e-Kenz, a Software as a Service ( SaaS ) company that enables SMEs to reduce the cost of their enterprise resource planning ( ERP ) activities and allows them to focus on their core business. Since it was founded in 2008, the company and its managing director have gone through a period of astonishing development thanks to their sheer dynamism. This momentum has already translated into several awards for Ms Choury personally – including the prestigious Woman Business Manager of the Year prize in 2010.
It was certainly no accident that saw Amal Choury set up a successful IT company, with the help of several strategic partners. The field of ICT in the Grand Duchy is one she has been involved in for over a decade. She is the president of the Luxembourg branch of EuroCloud, the founder of SAP User Group Luxembourg, and also plays a prominent role in the ICT section of Fedil, the country’s business federation.
“ Luxembourgish at heart ”
Ms Choury says that she is “ Moroccan by origin, French by passport and Luxembourgish at heart ”. She studied computer management in Metz and subsequently began her career in Luxembourg. In 2006 she made a move that would alter the course of her career by becoming Chief Information Officer at Eurobéton Group. e-Kenz, a spin-off of Eurobéton’s IT department, was launched in April 2008. How did the new company come about? “ I had already noted that SMEs, in the industrial sector for example, were not well served in their general ICT needs, and in ERP in particular ”, explains Ms Choury. “ There were a number of reasons for this, whether it was a lack of available solutions or a lack of budget for investment in ERP. These companies also needed a high-quality ERP, and that is where e-Kenz came in ”. The goal behind the new venture was to create something truly innovative for the market, and the solution that arose was to provide these smaller businesses with an SAP platform in an SaaS mode. “ This is a stable and reliable system, and it is accessible to our target market ”. Amal Choury, Managing Director, e-Kenz
Focus 5 I 2011
Pay as you use
“ The way I see it, our model brings added value in three distinct aspects. Strategically, company bosses can concentrate on their own business as e-Kenz operates their ERP. This enables them to develop and frees them up to focus on growing their business ”, says Ms Choury.
There is also the matter of technology. “ The constraints that SMEs can be subject to on the technological side, such as systems maintenance or security, are looked after by e-Kenz. It is part of our remit to manage that for our clients. Our systems are ready to use, and that is part of the work we do for them ”.
Fast solutions, fast progress
To meet client needs more effectively, e-Kenz has converted a suite of industry solutions, developed by Delaware Consulting, into the SaaS mode. “ These are vertical solutions, designed for different sectors ”, Ms Choury expands. “ There is FAST-Engineering, for companies operating in the manufacturing industry. Another solution we have in place is FAST-Start, which allows start-ups to speed up the time and reduce the budget in their quest to get to market ”. There are other options in the e-Kenz SaaS portfolio : FAST-Food, for SMEs that specialise in the food industry, FAST-Chemical, for the pharmaceutical industry, and FASTFiduciaire, offering trust management solutions for fiduciaries. All solutions in the FAST range are tailored to the industries they serve and, as Ms Choury points out, secure internet access is all e-Kenz clients need to avail of any of the company’s solutions. This convenience, as well as the gap in the market, has seen e-Kenz grow in a very healthy fashion over the past three years. These, however, are not the only reasons, according to Ms Choury. “ We have the support of two main shareholders : LBO Investments and Delaware Consulting. It is through the latter that we can offer such a comprehensive range of SaaS options. And amongst our partners we can also count SAP ”. A year-by-year breakdown shows an extraordinary development for e-Kenz, Ms Choury adds. “ In 3 years, we have gone from 3
employees to 11. We are now looking to recruit 15 people, which is not an easy task in Luxembourg. We need specialised people for each module ”. How have the revenue figures developed? “ They have tripled since the start ”, she smiles, “ while we have increased the numbers of large clients we are taking on. It’s really just the beginning! ”
And the award goes to …
The swift development of e-Kenz has not gone unnoticed by the ICT industry in Luxembourg, and the company has its eyes fixed on the Greater Region as it grows. The team’s can-do spirit won it the Start-Up of the Year award in 2009. At the same time, Ms Choury became Luxembourg’s ICT Woman of the Year. Another big award came in 2010, when she was named “ Woman Business Manager of the Year ”. “ I’m very proud of that ”, she says. “ It’s not just winning the award, but also the recognition of the fact that I am a business woman, not just an ICT player. It’s a prize that shows how far I’ve come, and it motivates me to go further. It happened in Luxembourg, so it’s not an American dream. It’s my Luxembourgish dream! ” A dream that provides ample space for growth – in Luxembourg and the Greater Region, in Belgium and in France, where many busy SMEs may wish to take a closer look at e-Kenz.
“ Then there is the economic and financial part ”, she adds. “ Our offer enables fixed costs to become variable. At the end of 2008, with the financial crisis, this became more important than ever. Our clients have more control over their costs as they pay as they use our services. There is not just one single financial model that they have to take or leave. It is tailored on a case-by-case basis. The fact that we are a Luxembourg-based company gives them a proximity to us – adding to the accessibility of our pool of resources. In addition, clients do not have to put up an investment. e-Kenz takes over the start, and they then pay as they use the services ”.
e-Kenz S.A. +352 27 35 37 1 email@example.com www.e-kenz.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
The Luxembourg R&D unit acts as the group’s centre of excellence for the development of knowledge management products. “ Today we are creating intellectual property in Luxembourg ”, he continues. “ This has been a major step in our evolution, not just in terms of the market but also from a company point of view ”.
Flexible, scalable, ready to use
intelligent content management I.R.I.S. Corporate draws on top-flight expertise in the area of optical character recognition ( OCR ) and content management to develop innovative software, solutions and services. This fast-growing company from Belgium, which started out as a spin-off from the Catholic University of Leuven, now has offices on three continents – and an R&D centre in Luxembourg. European Business Development Manager Giuseppe Contino explains what I.R.I.S. does, and how it continues to be different. “ We have developed in collaboration with our customers, and I believe that this aspect is a key driver of our success ”, Mr Contino remarks. The company, he says, has managed to maintain a high degree of continuity over the years, which has allowed it to work very closely with customers to meet their needs. This continuity owes much to stable governance : Pierre De Muelenaere, who co-founded I.R.I.S. in April 1987, remains on board to this day.
significantly. “ There was the financial crisis ”, Mr Contino says, “ but this was not the only consideration. The maturity of the content management market also changed. We came to the conclusion that building everything from scratch was no longer really an option and that existing big platforms lacked flexibility. What I.R.I.S. decided to do was to leverage its expertise, and to provide its own solutions for content management ”.
…for busy customers
“ You could say we started quite slowly ”, Mr Contino continues. “ Then, 17 or 18 years ago, we won a big contract with the Luxembourg Parliament for knowledge management and a portal. These were new steps in content management for us with a special emphasis on intelligent content management. This ambitious project raised the profile of the company, and we started to build content management solutions based on the major platforms on the market – such as those provided by IBM and Microsoft, for instance ”. Three years ago, the market began to change
Focus 5 I 2011
“ Effectively ”, he adds, “ the I.R.I.S. concept for content management solutions differs from mainstream products. Speed is of utmost importance : we focus on providing a customisable platform that can be deployed in a few days – the business solution is professional, tailored and ready to use ”. This innovative approach enables customers to concentrate on their core business rather than on IT issues. As recently as 2003, I.R.I.S. had 12 employees in the Grand Duchy. That number has now swelled to over 100. “ We set up a separate entity in
I.R.I.S. does not intend to rest on its laurels. “ I would say that we have three key strategic objectives for I.R.I.S. Group as a whole ”, explains Mr Contino. “ In the near future, our capture and recognition solutions remain a vital pillar of our development. For this aspect of our business, we have an R&D centre in Brussels. Then, a second strategic initiative involves our Software as a Service ( SaaS ) solutions. We want our software to be available to customers as a product or as a service – they can choose the option they prefer and pay per use ”. “ The third initiative ”, Mr Contino continues, “ is a content management solution named IRISNext. This platform will be unique in terms of modularity and scalability. It will considerably improve the user experience for our customers, as they will have immense possibilities to adapt the platform to their needs within a short implementation timeframe ”.
This ability represents a unique selling point in Luxembourg, according to Mr Contino, and he thinks that this may hold true for the wider European market as well : I.R.I.S., as a European company offering this particular kind of services and solutions, may well be in a field of its own. “ There are other companies, in the US for example, that offer solutions, but we know our market here, and we have analysed the opportunities that exist for us. Over the past year, our gross revenue figure reached e 128 million, which is very significant for an IT player here in Europe ”. I.R.I.S. now strives to consolidate its position. Establishing strategic partnerships to complement its internal core competencies is central to the group’s corporate strategy in order to make its solutions fully compatible with other cutting-edge products. Partnerships are for instance being discussed with two technology providers in Luxembourg. “ We really want to be recognised as an addedvalue provider and a key player in our field ”. Mr Contino concludes. “ And we are determined to fulfil this ambition. We have the required knowledge. The solutions we are developing in Luxembourg are a strategic asset for the I.R.I.S. Group and for our customers ”.
Luxembourg ”, Mr Contino recalls, “ and we also created a lot of jobs when we opened our R&D centre for content management here ; it now employs 16 people ”.
Room for growth
“ This is entirely strategic ”, he notes. “ We see a big market developing to address a major challenge: the solutions that are used at the top level of the market, by the largest companies, simply aren’t affordable for the mid-sized and smaller market players. We have identified about 15,000 companies that are not using content management solutions for this reason. This is a huge opportunity for us. We are convinced we can bring new value to the market with scaled solutions ”. I.R.I.S. is a key player in its field throughout Europe, where many businesses face similar content management problems. “ There are so many fantastic small and medium-sized enterprises across Europe ”, he says. “ With IRISNext, we can certainly help them. And we can do this at the right price for them ”.
Giuseppe Contino, European Business Development Manager, I.R.I.S.
I.R.I.S. Luxembourg S.A. +352 39 03 26 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ecm.irislink.com
Focus 5 I 2011
many biobanks lose focus by storing as much material as they can find. In contrast, Luxembourg’s biobank aims to be an efficient and cost-effective provider of tissue and data for its specific research priorities.
Empowered by vision
“ One of the challenges I faced in the past is that it is hard to make changes to the healthcare system in a big country ”, remarks Dr Phillips. “ I have found it very refreshing that Luxembourg has a bold vision and I was particularly impressed with the dedication of the Ministry of Health to new advances in innovation. In my past life I often found that Ministers viewed research as a problem because it drove up cost without improving care in the short term. This is not the case here ”.
Robert A. Phillips, CEO, Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg
( bio ) banking on quality
The Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg ( IBBL ) is a key component of Luxembourg’s push to develop personalised medicine, the discipline which tailors treatments to individual patient needs. Since it opened on 25 February 2010, the IBBL has applied itself to becoming an international centre of excellence and to supporting scientific advances that will produce health and economic benefits. FOCUS spoke to IBBL CEO, Dr Robert A. Phillips, about the role of this institution and asked how Luxembourg can make a difference.
“ I run a dating service ”, Dr Phillips jokes. “ I bring people together to plan programmes and to work together, while most other biobanks around the world are just freezers that collect data and store the samples ”. His ambition is for Luxembourg to “ become a leader in adopting new advances in personalised medicine into the healthcare system ”. Luxembourg may be small, but he believes that it can excel in the quality of its research and become a world leader in testing and implementing new innovations in personalised medicine.
In his work at the IBBL, Dr Phillips draws on extensive experience gained throughout his long scientific career, notably in his previous position as Founder of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada. He was motivated to come to Luxembourg by the country’s ambitious vision and desire to break new ground. Work on the IBBL, which was founded by the Luxembourg
Focus 5 I 2011
Public Research Centres Gabriel Lippmann, Henri Tudor and Santé with the support of the Translational Genomics Research Institute ( TGen ) in Arizona, began in 2008 as part of the “ Health Sciences and Technologies Action Plan ”. Reflecting the priorities of Luxembourg’s health-tech community, the IBBL’s work focuses on three types of cancer ( lung, colon and breast ), diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Working as a resource, the IBBL will not conduct research in these areas but will collect biological samples and act as a data repository and a technology hub. Dr Phillips points out that research labs can perhaps process a few dozen samples, but struggle when numbers get into the hundreds and thousands. “ They don’t have the technology or the processes to make thousands of measurements reproducibly ”, he says. The IBBL will concentrate on developing ways to collect and store specimens, specifically for the types of samples relevant to its particular areas of interest. He believes that
The IBBL is currently establishing a population cohort of about 10,000 normal individuals that can be followed over 20 years or more. For each participant, the IBBL will collect and analyse biological samples ( e.g., blood and urine ) and through an extensive questionnaire collect information on health and lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise and diet. Although Dr Phillips admits that “ this amount of information isn’t really enough to answer a lot of questions ”, the primary goal is to establish a basis of high quality information that can be extended by others to answer important questions. Since no one can predict what questions scientists will be asking 10 years from now, the IBBL is creating a scaffold on which scientist can build projects over many years. “ It is important to have quality control and we have the resources to do this ”, he says.
IBBL questionnaires will be aligned with larger projects around Europe, which together will create a sample approaching 1.5 million. This in turn would feed into global programmes, bringing the number up to five million ; all the better for spotting anomalies. To add extra depth to the data, he thinks it will be feasible to locate the extended families of disease sufferers in Luxembourg to gain a clearer view of genetic influences on disease. He adds that the country has the ambition to maintain electronic health records, which would represent a goldmine of useful data. “ You need to know if a parent had a disease, how they were treated, how they responded to treatment, how this affected their kids … ” Guaranteeing anonymity and privacy of health data is central
to this work, and for this particular aspect, the IBBL can rely on the expertise of the firms that support the financial sector, where client data privacy is a key business process.
Economic success is vital
However, he points out that “ none of the innovations in personalised medicine will ever see the light of day until they make money ”. The agreement reached in December 2010 with Californian analysis systems firm WaferGen demonstrates some of the possibilities. While the IBBL has purchased one of WaferGen’s analytic systems for studying genes, it will also become a business partner offering services throughout Europe. WaferGen is strengthening these ties by establishing its European headquarters and service bureau in the IBBL facility. Dr Phillips says other such partnerships are being pursued and he is confident that this will result in new deals. Unlocking genetic code now costs as little as € 2,500, and when prices fall further, Dr Phillips believes this sequencing process will become routine. “ I believe the time of personalised medicine is here ”, he says, and Luxembourg is playing its part, exploring niches.
Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg ( IBBL ) +352 27 44 64 1 email@example.com www.ibbl.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
INNovation, bricks-and-mortar style
Multilingual. Personalised. Connected.
Sandy, student at the University of Luxembourg 2010
Luxembourg’s construction sector employs 48,000 workers in 2,825 companies, which represent 14 % of the workforce and 10 % of all businesses established in the Grand Duchy. Given the sector’s importance to the economy, Luxembourg is committed to ensuring that the construction industry remains competitive and benefits from innovation, especially in view of greater sustainability. The CRTI-B resource centre has been an important means of meeting these goals.
Study and Research at the University of Luxembourg Experience excellence at our international research university ! Multilingual and English taught Master programmes, doctoral studies, individual mentoring and a wellbalanced academic approach ensured by both professors and practitioners. As for the practical side of life : the European institutions and Luxembourg’s financial centre are in direct proximity. Our faculties : •
Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication
Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance
Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education
Our interdisciplinary research centres : •
Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust
Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine
For further information : www.uni.lu Université du Luxembourg - 162a, avenue de la Faïencerie - L-1511 Luxembourg firstname.lastname@example.org - T. +352 46 66 44 - 6060
CRTI-B, the Resource Centre for Technologies and Innovation in Construction ( Centre de Ressources des Technologies et de l’Innovation pour le Bâtiment ), was established in 1990 with the mission of improving the competitiveness and productivity of Luxembourg’s construction sector in anticipation of the single market. Partnering in CRTI-B are the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, the Administration of Bridges and Roads ( Administration des Ponts et Chaussées ), the Administration of Public Works ( Administration des Bâtiments Publics ), the Chamber of Skilled Crafts ( Chambre des Métiers ), CRP Henri Tudor, Fedil – Business Federation Luxembourg, the Fédération des Artisans and the Order of Architects and Engineers.
Paving the way for greater competitiveness
CRTI-B’s resources are targeted at all actors in the construction sector. These include builders, project managers, architects, consulting engineers and the construction companies themselves. Michel Brachmond, the Secretary General of CRTI-B and a Deputy Director of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts, explains. “ CRTI-B has benefited from the efforts of more than 800 volunteers, who represent all construction sector stakeholders. Their participation in CRTI-B’s working groups enables them to be better informed and gives them a competitive advantage ”. The work of CRTI-B has resulted in the standardisation of contracts and refined the sector’s understanding of Luxembourg’s public procurement processes. Its main objective has been to define, document, introduce and maintain standards in tender documents governing con-
Michel Brachmond, Secretary General, CRTI-B
tracts for construction projects. Making this information broadly available on the CRTI-B website has “ helped to level the playing field for companies submitting tenders for public procurement ”, according to Mr Brachmond. Another CRTI-B initiative is in the area of sustainable construction. CRTI-B has published a guide of sustainable construction documenting best practices and best materials. Offering training is another important activity. “ With more than 300 companies specialised and labelled in energy-efficient construction in the Grand Duchy, CRTI-B has offered training to more than 3,000 workers since 2000 ”, says Mr Brachmond.
Focus 5 I 2011
A blueprint for effective communication
Communication among the actors involved in an actual construction project is one of several areas where CRTI-B has detected a need for improvement. Hundreds and thousands of documents can be involved, and project changes and updates need to be communicated efficiently to the appropriate participant. Based on input from stakeholders, CRTI-B initiated the research project Build-IT. Using the expertise of CRP Henri Tudor, Build-IT resulted in the creation of CRTI-weB®, a collaborative tool designed to optimise cooperation and communication between the actors in a construction project. CRTI-weB® improves collaborative practices, centralises document exchanges and reduces information processing time. It was built using open source software and is provided as a Software as a Service ( SaaS ) solution accessed via a browser.
The Informatics, Systems and Collaboration ( ISC ) Department, founded in 1988, currently focuses on two areas – visual informatics and business informatics. “ Visual informatics ”, says ISC Scientific Director Fernand Feltz, “ is about how we can better visualise key performance indicators that let management make more informed decisions ”.
CRTI-weB® consists of two modules. The first is a worksite meeting report module that facilitates worksite coordination through the production and dissemination of meeting reports. The second module supports project document management and enables the sharing of documents, tracking of changes, workflow validation and version management, with automatic e-mail notification of the parties affected.
He adds that “ most management information systems, even ones that include charts and graphs, do not allow for the true complexities of the data to be properly represented or explored ”. Using algorithms developed by ISC, vivid graphics let the user see the information in all of its complexity and navigate through it. Various “ if, then ” scenarios can be modelled and the consequences of decisions can be simulated.
“ CRTI-weB® was developed using input from all stakeholders in a construction project, including architects, engineers and the builders themselves. It provides greater transparency and optimal communication between all contributors ”, Mr Brachmond concludes.
Empowering the community
Resource Centre for Technologies and Innovation in Construction ( CRTI-B ) +352 42 59 91 1 email@example.com www.crtib.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
Every business day, around 150,000 workers from neighbouring countries cross their national borders to come to work in Luxembourg. These cross-border employees enjoy the social benefits of the Grand Duchy, but to verify their eligibility for specific allowances, public administrators may need to know when a child is born in Germany, when a marriage is celebrated in Belgium or when a family moves from one town to another in France. Enter the ISC department of CRP Gabriel Lippmann to manage this information exchange by integrating systems across borders.
Mr Feltz describes a few earlier projects that are particularly representative of the Department’s work. The first involved making the video archives of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies searchable; the difficulties of indexing a collection of videos rather than documents or other word-based material can be easily imagined. Today, thanks to the expertise of the ISC, users can find content relating to a specific deputy or pertaining to a certain issue or piece of legislation. This tool is especially useful for journalists and researchers.
Reacting to the problem of the isolation frequently experienced by elderly citizens, ISC also developed a “ social web ” for the residents of a retirement home. Working with psychologists and gerontologists, ISC designed a user-friendly, intuitive interface that provides residents with information about activities and encourages participation. The application was very well received, says Mr Feltz, and may in due course be licensed to other organisations. A third project involved developing a training management system for the Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training and the Administration of Employment ( ADEM ). Creating an efficient system that enables users to access and exchange information about available training opportunities, the related requirements and student evaluations entailed standardising formats and integrating data feeds.
Integrating IT systems across borders
While working to integrate the systems of three Luxembourg organisations may have been challenging, accomplishing similar data exchanges across borders presented an even greater test. ISC has worked on solutions for the management of social security payments, which notably facilitate the administration of the National Family Benefits Fund. Many families today are multinational, reconstituted and geographically mobile, and following up on a family’s eligibility for specific benefits can be a challenge. Establishing information exchanges with neighbouring Belgium, France and Germany was a major component of the project. The ISC Department has a staff of 50 researchers, including 2 PhD candidates. Mr Feltz describes their working method as being characterised by “ agility ”, which also reflects the conditions under which today’s businesses must operate to be successful. The research team, he says, “ observes a system, improves its productivity and then monitors the improvement in practice ”.
Fernand Feltz, Scientific Director, Information, Systems and Collaboration ( ISC ) Department
Informatics, Systems and Collaboration ( ISC ) Department CRP Gabriel Lippmann +352 47 02 61 600 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lippmann.lu
Focus 5 I 2011
The Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe ( CVCE ) is a research and documentation centre specialising in European integration studies ( EIS ). It is dedicated to the creation and valorisation of knowledge, in an innovative digital environment. The technologies that shape this environment have changed since the idea was born in the mid-1990s, but this forward-looking attitude has not. Director Marianne Backes explains how the Centre’s activities have evolved and outlines its action plan for the coming two years.
the development of suitable digital methods and tools to support studies in this area. “ The infrastructure around all of this ”, Ms Backes says, “ is not just a software tool, but also includes resources, services, networks and expertise. Effectively, we are a subject-related digital infrastructure, developed in-house, but in cooperation with other partners when it comes to technology. The Centre is thus involved in digital humanities, the link between the subject itself and the way it is treated, processed and analysed, as well as the publication of results ”. These interactions reflect the specificities of EIS. As Ms Backes points out, this field “ is inherently interdisciplinary, so we must have a multifaceted, multi-layered approach. A historical, long-term perspective has to be maintained, but we also need to look at the legal and institutional aspects. And, of course, there are also political aspects to be considered : what are the attitudes of the different countries in regard to the process of European integration? ” This rhetorical question highlights some of the many aspects of EIS and hints at the difficulty of processing the amounts of information needed to address them without the help of digital methods.
Shifting the paradigm Marianne Backes, Director, Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe
“ What is very particular and innovative in our approach to our subject is that we are not a classical research centre on the European integration process. We use digital methods and tools to support studies ”, Ms Backes remarks. “ This gives us a unique position in Europe, and possibly further afield, because of our integrated approach ”. This aspect of the CVCE’s remit certainly does seem to set it apart : its research into European integration as a subject goes hand in hand with
Focus 5 I 2011
If the CVCE finds itself at the crossroads between digital infrastructures and humanistic scholarship, can one also say that the humanities are themselves at a crossroad? Ms Backes agrees, and cites the field of contemporary history as an example. “ ICT, web possibilities and the development of digital methods will, among other things, allow the publication of digital research corpora. It is no longer a question of publishing a scholarly article as a sole result of research. The conclusions are the tip of the iceberg, but now the research material that is connected to those conclusions may be published too, in an organised and methodical way. The conclusion is enriched by these resources, but they also enrich and support the research of others.”
New technologies, new opportunities
This remarkable skill combines expertise in three areas : EIS, digital humanities and ICT. The Centre has evolved as ICT has evolved, cultivating the extensive know-how required to underpin its network infrastructure, but with the caveat, says Ms Backes, that the application of ICT in the humanities field is only at its inception. “ We started out in a very pragmatic way ”, she recalls. “ I created a project called European Navigator. At the time, the buzzword was ‘ multimedia ’, not ‘ internet ’. CD-ROMs were the big thing, and those were what I was trying to get into ”. CD-ROMs may have fallen by the wayside with the rise of other media, “ but it is important that the initial idea remains the same ”, Ms Backes emphasises, and to translate that idea into operational outcomes. “ Our aim is to have the infrastructure to support our subject in the best way possible, as opposed to breaking ground in domains that do not pertain to it ”.
is being aligned more closely with the needs of the users, be they in academic or lifelong learning environments, and will support a wider range of targeted functionalities. The CVCE’s efforts to make EIS information accessible to all who need it have not gone unnoticed. User numbers have increased steadily over the years, and the CVCE expects to be adding to its 40 or so staff members in a few years. Given that the Centre’s offices are located in a castle, there should be room to grow ...
MASTERING META-INTEGRATION MATTERS
It is a cyclical approach to the humanities that is both new and innovative, Ms Backes remarks, where the role of ICT comes into a sharp focus similar to the one that has already emerged in exact sciences. However, she notes, the subject matter is inherently different, and the integration of ICT in the humanities required serious thought – a process that established the CVCE’s credentials as a truly innovative facility.
EIS insights for all
As a next step, the Centre looked into ways of disseminating the knowledge that was stored. The internet was obviously going to be the best way to reach a large audience, and it has enabled the Centre to attract an average of two million users per year so far, with nine million documents consulted. So where next? The CVCE signed its first performance contract with the Luxembourg government for the period from 2008-2010, and the second one covers 2011 to 2013. The key strategic objectives do not stray far from the activities outlined above, but include an explicit commitment to the valorisation of the EIS knowledge produced by the Centre, in general and more specifically in academic and lifelong learning settings. In support of this particular objective, a new, redesigned website is about to be rolled out, making research more accessible. The front-end
Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe +352 59 59 20 1 email@example.com www.cvce.eu
Focus 5 I 2011
DID YOU KNOW IT’S FROM LUXEMBOURG? Boshua
DID YOU KNOW IT’S FROM LUXEMBOURG?
PUttING THE BALL IN BALLPOINT PENS If you write with a ballpoint pen, there is a very good chance that the ball at its tip was made in Luxembourg, where hard materials manufacturer Ceratizit turns out 12 billion such balls every year. This represents 40 to 45 % of the global production. CEO Jacques Lanners explains that the firm got into this business in 1962, after one of its engineers found a ball-pressing machine hidden behind a curtain while visiting a factory. The machine produced balls for French pen-maker BIC, which eventually asked Mr Lanner’s father to make them from tungsten carbide. Cheaper steel balls wear out, leaking ink. The ball-making also led Ceratizit to set up its first US plant in 1979 after a trade dispute over the balls. The company is among the world’s leading independent producers of wear parts for working wood, stone and metal as well as steel mill rolls. Ceratizit Luxembourg S.àr.l. +352 31 20 85 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ceratizit.com
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Focus 5 I 2011
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR ... Blitz Agency
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR ...
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR... MICHÈLE DETAILLE, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NO-NAIL BOXES Michèle Detaille is the managing director of No-Nail Boxes, one of Luxembourg’s better-known SMEs. The company produces folding boxes in plywood and steel that are designed and handmade to the clients’ specifications. Ms Detaille moved on to No-Nail Boxes after eight years as marketing director for Accor Services Benelux. Earlier, she was a member of the Belgian parliament, and prior to that had served as the mayor of a small Walloon town for 17 years. She is the only female board member at Fedil – Business Federation Luxembourg and a voluntary mentor with the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Mentoring programme.
What does innovation mean to you personally?
In small companies, innovation is essentially the development of new products. We are always looking for a way to produce something that can be supplied to the customers. We have to listen to our suppliers, because they show us new developments. We also listen to our customers, because they have new applications every day. And we listen to our staff. Our salespeople generate a lot of ideas, and so do the colleagues who actually make our products.
What role does innovation play in your company?
We are in the packaging market. The products we package are very different from what they were at the beginning of the company, which is 50 years old this year. In the past, we packed industrial products, and all boxes were the same. Now we make runs of boxes for specific products, so we have to remain aware of the customer’s needs and of the evolution of raw materials at all times. We have a small committee at the company, which includes a salesman, a technical expert and myself.
Coming from a large enterprise, what differences do you see as the manager of a small company?
Life in a small company is very different from life in a big company – I think it’s really a personal choice. If you’re in a small company, you don’t have all the capabilities that you have in a big one, for example in research. However, in a small company – if it’s your own company, of course – you can decide more quickly and it’s more flexible. But the advantage of experience
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in a large company is that you will have learned methods of working that are very, very efficient.
What do you consider as the most important factor to be able to run an SME successfully?
I think it’s really the people. If you want to do better, you cannot do that with machinery. It’s a way of thinking, and if you can have this in each department, then you are surely on the road to success. Your people must be competent, but in a small business they must also be able to work autonomously. I think it’s really important to recruit successfully – if you choose the wrong people in a small company, the disaster is bigger than in a large one.
What do you consider as the most important factor for your company to remain competitive over the coming 5 to 10 years?
We have to take steps towards automation for some parts of the production. Not too much automation, because we would lose flexibility, but we have reached a level of turnover where we now need to lower our production costs – which is done through automation. It’s a bit of a gamble. If it works out it will be a very good idea to invest in new equipment, but if we don’t increase our turnover enough it could be bad for the results.
No-Nail Boxes +352 81 92 81 1 email@example.com www.no-nailboxes.com
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THE RDI DIRECTORY
The RDI directory Governmental portal for innovation and research www.innovation.public.lu
Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade Directorate of Research and Innovation 19-21, boulevard Royal L-2914 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 41 28 I Fax : + 352 26 20 27 68 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eco.public.lu
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University of Luxembourg 162A, avenue de la Faïencerie L-1511 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 46 66 44 60 00 firstname.lastname@example.org I email@example.com www.uni.lu
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CEPS / INSTEAD 44, rue Emile Mark L-4620 Differdange Phone : + 352 58 58 55 1 I Fax : + 352 58 55 60 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ceps.lu
Ecostart Enterprise and Innovation Centre c/o Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade 19-21, boulevard Royal L-2449 Luxembourg Phone : + 352 24 78 41 85 I Fax : + 352 26 20 27 68 email@example.com www.ecostart.lu
Technoport Public Research Centre Henri Tudor P.O. Box 144 L-4002 Esch-sur-Alzette Phone : + 352 42 59 91 1 I Fax : + 352 42 59 91 40 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.technoport.lu
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