“Data is truly the new oil.” Could LUX become the world’s data pioneer?

“Big Data. Big Intelligence. Big Opportunities” This was the message […]

May 24, 2013

“Big Data. Big Intelligence. Big Opportunities” This was the message of futurist Gerd Leonard at the 22 May Luxembourg Business Compass conference organised by KPMG and Luxemburger Wort.

Gerd, a former musician and internet entrepreneur turned futurist, gave his view on how Luxembourg could find its niche in a highly networked future: a future fuelled by exponential growth in technology.

“If Luxembourg doesn’t become indispensable, it will be dispensed with. Big data means big opportunity and huge responsibility. An effective ecosystem will need to be created around this data and Luxembourg could become a super-node in this network.”

He warns, however, that Luxembourg will not be able to do this alone.

‘We’re in an era of hyper-collaboration. Openness fuels growth. You’ve got companies like GSK who recently opened up its drug research to help find new treatments for health challenges. There’s Google who allows any developer to use their Android platform to create and sell their apps. An acceptance to being open is needed. The process is there in Luxembourg, just look at banking secrecy. But long-held advantages are being lost and accepting that as a reality is overdue.’

The warnings came after a strong trend towards stagnation was revealed in KPMG’s analysis of the Luxembourg Business Compass results. The survey, now in its ninth wave, aims to establish an economic indicator that can be used to ascertain Luxembourg business leaders’ expectations regarding the future economic trend in Luxembourg. The survey focuses on how business leaders expect the Luxembourg economy to develop in the next 6 or 12 months, along with their expectations and plans for their own companies. In terms of business volume/turnover, profitability and number of employees, entrepreneurs reported that they expect to see very little development in the coming six months.

In a first for Luxembourg, Minister of Finance Luc Frieden was interviewed via Skype, the online peer communication platform headquartered in Luxembourg. Speaking about the decision to abandon the withholding tax system and move towards the automatic exchange of information, his message was one of pragmatism. ‘Sometimes we have to do painful things in the short term, to open new horizons.’ Pre-empting Gerd Leonard’s sentiments, he also stressed the importance of collaboration and interdependence in Europe and of ensuring that any new regulatory framework would apply across the board, encompassing Austria and Switzerland as well as Luxembourg and other EU countries.

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