Accelerating the digital transformation in Europe

Public event of CELTIC flagship project AI-NET

The public event of AI-NET in Berlin on
28 April 2022 presented the first-year results of the CELTIC flagship project. In addition, the half-day event hosted by Fraunhofer HHI provided the opportunity to discuss topics of strategic relevance related to the work of ­AI-NET.

The event, moderated by CELTIC-NEXT Chairman David Kennedy from Eurescom, started with high-level presentations by representatives of the four public authorities funding the project.

The attentive audience on site – A larger number of participants attended remotely

Public authorities stress digital ­sovereignty

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ina Schieferdecker, Director-General for Research for Digitalization and Innovation at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, set the tone, when she explained the relevance of AI-NET: “AI-NET is an important step for Germany and Europe towards resilient and secure network infrastructures for technological sovereignty.” She highlighted that a peaceful Europe needs to be in the driving seat of the digital transformation as progressed by AI-NET. She put this in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic and their impact on the economic and technological sovereignty of Europe.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ina Schieferdecker from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Andreas Aurelius, Head of ICT department at Swedish innovation agency Vinnova, stressed the importance of resilient societies enabled by resilient digital infrastructures in Europe. He particularly highlighted AI-NET’s contribution to enabling resilient networks infrastructures across Europe by making them more secure and autonomous – characteristics he considers critical for our future society and economy.

In the same vein, Heikki Uusi-Honko, Head of International Networks at Business Finland, underlined the high relevance of AI-NET, as industrial sovereignty is more topical now than ever. He added that in order to get innovations fast to the market, it requires a native digital mindset, which AI-NET has demonstrated. He highlighted the expected impact for Europe and its fast step change in the digital transformation.

Christian Dubarry, Head of European Affairs at Bpifrance, explained how France considers cloud computing as a future champion of sovereignty, and expects a doubling of the number of companies for trusted cloud computing already by 2025. He said that AI-NET ANTILLAS could contribute to these goals with its concept of edge and fog infrastructure.

All four public authority representatives acknowledged the intermediate results of the three AI-NET sub-projects.

Presentation of project results

After a demonstration tour of selected results achieved by AI-NET, the event continued with presentations of AI-NET and its sub-projects. Coordinator Achim Autenrieth, Director Advanced Technology at ADVA, started by providing an overview on AI-NET as a whole before handing over to the leaders of the three sub-projects. Azimeh Sefidcon, Research Area director for Cloud at Ericsson, presented AI-NET-ANIARA and its achievements to date. AI-NET-PROTECT was presented by Jörg-Peter Elbers, Senior VP Advanced Technology at ADVA. And finally Olivier Audouin, Director of external affairs at Nokia, gave an overview on AI-NET-ANTILLAS and its results.

Huge interest in the AI-NET results at the demo tour

Panel discussion on digital sovereignty

The final highlight of the event was a panel discussion on the geopolitical, economic and technological challenges Europe is facing on its way digital sovereignty. The six panel participants provided a diversity of industry views on the subject. Panel participants included Johan Sandell, CTO of Waystream, Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA, Timo Lehnigk-Emden, CTO of Creonic, Olivier Winzenried, CEO of WIBU systems, Jim Dowling, CEO of Logical Clocks, and Jonathan Rivalan, R&D Director of SMILE.

The lively discussion, moderated by CELTIC-NEXT Chairman David Kennedy, identified numerous challenges that need to be addressed, from supply-chain risks to critical dependencies in the areas of key technologies and raw materials required for Europe’s digital infrastructure. The panel participants and the audience joining the discussion could not converge on the best path to achieving digital sovereignty, but achieved a higher level of insight on the challenges to be tackled.

Lively panel discussion on digital sovereignty (sitting, from left): Timo Lehnigk-Emden, CTO of Creonic, Jim Dowling, CEO of Logical Clocks, Olivier Winzenried, CEO of WIBU systems, Jonathan Rivalan, R&D Director of SMILE, Johan Sandell, CTO of Waystream, Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA, and moderator David Kennedy (standing)

About AI-NET

CELTIC flagship project AI-NET was officially launched on 1st June 2021. AI-NET aims at ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation in Europe with Intelligent Network Automation’. The project is addressing the challenge that the current centralised cloud infrastructure is not adequate for serving the requirements of the digital transformation in Europe. AI-NET is built on the premise that three technologies need to be combined to shape a new secure service and application platform: 5G/6G, edge-centric computing, and artificial intelligence.

The main goal of the AI-NET project is to provide enablers and solutions for high-performance services deployed and operated at the network edge. AI-NET is using artificial intelligence for complementing traditional optimisation algorithms, in order to manage vastly increased network complexity.

Further information

AI-NET project website –