In April, I had the opportunity to attend, together with colleagues from the UK, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Finland, the Arch Summit 2019, in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
The Arch Summit, organised by Tomorrow Street, a joint venture between Vodafone and Technoport, Luxembourg’s national incubator aims to bring together Vodafone and its major corporate partners, SMEs and start-ups in one location, to spark innovation and collaboration. The Box at Luxempo was the perfect venue for this.
5G was inevitably one of the hot topics at the Arch Summit, including throughout the Mobile Telecoms discussion panel, which I attended as a panellist. Unsurprisingly, something that kept coming up in the conversation was the belief that Enterprise solutions will occupy most of the early 5G use-cases. Technology is not the real issue; it is the investment required and how it will be recouped, that occupies a lot of present thinking around 5G.
The panel was also in agreement on the need for collaboration on innovation and for companies like Vodafone to foster this collaboration through initiatives such as Tomorrow Street and the upcoming Unbound event in the UK. It was encouraging to see that, even for a major force in Communications like Vodafone, collaboration with suppliers is key to remain competitive and to shape the future market.
As a main sponsor and partner of Vodafone at our stand, we showcased IP and customer references of CGI’s innovation across multiple industry sectors, not just Communications. This included live demonstrations such as:-
- Bobby the Robot, with the ability to react to faces and gestures through the use of AI
- The Shokomat console that uses facial recognition to select chocolate based on a person’s expression
- The Digital Twin Conveyor Belt, using IoT to support a Lego production line.
It was also great to welcome several high profile visitors, including Johan Wibergh and Scott Petty from Vodafone and Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Moreover, I personally had a long and deep conversation on 5G and the need for greater thought, in terms of planning and business models with a very interested gentleman, who was later revealed to be the Luxembourg Minister for Communications!
It was my first time in this part of Europe and I was pleased to discover that, aside from a passion for asparagus - asparagus-themed menus designed around the first crop of the year (Spargelfest) were ubiquitous – and potatoes – there is a restaurant dedicated solely to potato-based dishes, Luxembourg City is an interesting modern city, offering some of Europe’s best conference facilities.