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Spread across the two exciting days of November 14 and 15, LID (Luxembourg Internet Days) drew crowds from the country and beyond offering a breathless variety of activities. The main topical focus of the annual event was the challenges raised by ever-evolving cybersecurity threats and also on SMEs’ digital transformation including an SME session offering open workshops, Games of Threats and a 1-day “SMEs Forum”, which were organised in part by Luxinnovation.

To instantly and “physically” demonstrate their products and services to visitors, some companies conducted 10-minute demos. 1-minute speed pitches were given in front of the conference audience as teasers to draw them to the longer demos in the exhibition area.

For the first time a guest country was invited, in this case Canada, which was placed front and centre during the entire event. This was a great idea as it refreshed the demographics of the attendees by introducing a new element, encouraged (in this case) transcontinental collaboration, and positive synergies and hopefully some tangible business.

Day 1– focus on digitalisation of SMEs

The speeches and panel sessions were held in the main conference room. Immediately following Marco Houwen, Chairman of LU-CIX, the main organiser of the event, who welcomed the audience, came David Foy, Head of Sector Development – Digital Economy, Luxinnovation who spoke on the importance of culture more than technology as the catalyst for the fearless adoption of innovation.

“Consumers want more and they want it faster. The culture to embrace a digital world is reaching its maturity,” David Foy says.  “Wallets and keys are becoming a thing of the past as most daily needs (or wants) – from ordering a pizza to paying taxes – can now be met through a mobile device meaning that service providers must become creative and agile in their approach to customers. With the abundance of data provided through these new processes, the customers’ voices can really be heard. The presentations over the two days of LID2017 showed that it’s not just the big boys who have a role to play but that, with the right strategy and maybe a little courage, the smaller players can be just as powerful.”

Thierry Geerts, Director of Google Belgium, delivered the keynote speech focussing on the job creation potential inherent in the digitalisation of SMEs. Throughout the day, different aspects of digitalisation were discussed and debated and in fact, if there was one overall difference between this year’s LID (Luxembourg Internet Days) and last years, it was that in 2016, there was more talk about new and disruptive technologies but in 2017, the focus had already moved to the practical implementation of such.

Day 2 – Focus on Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

On day 2 the Prime Minister of Luxembourg  and Minister for Communications and Media, Xavier Bettel, gave a passionate speech on the openness and diversity of Luxembourg, a sentiment echoed about his country by the next speaker, Canada’s Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Mr Olivier Nicoloff.  “Canada and Luxembourg continue to build bridges and remain open and this is something we share in our DNA,” the Prime Minster said.

Prime Minister Bettel made a significant statement when he said that Luxembourg encourages the kind of creative thinking from the industry that will come up with new and innovative ideas to make Luxembourg even more digital. However, the country does not want to just give company money but to support them and follow them, which is better for the companies and the country in the end.

The rest of the day was dedicated to the ins and outs of Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. What stood out, especially during one panel discussion entitled, “Duck and cover or fight back and regain control following a DDoS attack”, was that the only unanimous opinion of the panel of security experts, legal and academic experts, was that everything and every company online is at risk. This is the reality of the digital world.

“Digital transformation is essential for survival,” agrees David Foy. “However, the further we travel along this route the more exposed we become to outside threats. A denial of service attack (DDoS) can be just as damaging to a company’s image, client base and eventually their bottom line as a data breach. The discussions, some of them quite animated over the two days showed that there are many different ways to approach Cybersecurity and the subject is at last top of most people’s agenda.”

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