Here Are the All the Fastest Growing Private Companies in Europe

It’s an uncertain time in Europe, not least because nobody really has an idea what’s going to happen with Brexit. But these companies are thriving nevertheless, from Austria and Belgium to Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

I’ve spent a bit of time perusing, and it’s an interesting mix. The absolute top, examined by Inc.’s Malak Saleh, includes:

1. UICE Group

Based in Kiev, the UICE Group trades stocks and derivatives, as well as commodities including oil, gas, and coal.

2. Sanderson Contract Management Limited

This is a U.K.-based recruitment company, specializing in IT, business change, and professional services.

3. Hiperion Hotel Group SL

Hiperion, based in Madrid, Spain, is hotel group with 36 facilities across the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. 

4. Servisny Tsentr Metalloprokata

Based in in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Service Center Metal manufactures rolled metals and produces more than 3,000 products including roofing materials, facade surfaces and metal piping.

5. GA Smart Building

Rounding out the top five, GA Smart Building, based in Toulouse, France, is a real estate development company that designs and constructs sustainable buildings and structures. 

You can find the entire list — all 5,000 companies — here, along with a deeper look at the top 10.

Here’s what else I’m reading today:

Microsoft, BMW launch industrial cloud technology partnership

FILE PHOTO: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during a device-launching event ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp and BMW Group on Tuesday launched an initiative to create an Open Manufacturing Platform that seeks to stimulate innovation and accelerate the development of ‘smart’ factories.

It’s the second alliance of its kind in a week after Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services teamed up to connect the German car maker’s 122 group plants to improve production systems and processes.

Both deals reflect a push by ‘hyperscale’ cloud computing providers to capture and manage the terabytes of data thrown off by the network of connected devices such as robots and sensors that make up the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).

“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group, said of the alliance that was announced during the Hanover Messe industrial trade fair.

“Our commitment to building an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the entire manufacturing value chain.”

The platform will be built on the Microsoft Azure IIoT cloud platform, which BMW already uses. Its reference architecture will be based on open-source standards, an approach designed to encourage other partners to join in.

Microsoft, in a statement, said the goal was to have an initial set of four to six partners in place by the end of 2019 and a minimum of 15 initial use cases deployed in a production setting.

BMW already has 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems connected with its own IIoT platform that is built on Microsoft Azure. It said it would contribute some of its initial use cases to the project.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Public cloud fuelled bulk of datacentre infrastructure spend in 2018, research shows

The worldwide datacentre hardware and software market continued to go from strength to strength in 2018, fuelled by user demand for public cloud environments and higher-specification servers.

Global spending in this market segment grew by 17% in 2018 to $150bn, according to Synergy Research Group’s annual datacentre hardware and software market tracker.

The bulk of this growth can be attributed to the sales of public cloud-enabling datacentre hardware and software, with Synergy’s data showing a 30% year-on-year surge in spending in this area.

Meanwhile, spending on datacentre hardware and software intended for use within private enterprise facilities grew more modestly at 13% in 2018, thanks to demand for private cloud deployments, which Synergy said helped offset a marginal decline in traditional, non-cloud infrastructures in this sector.  

“The former [category] was driven primarily by strong volume growth in public cloud and other service provider offerings; the latter was driven primarily by higher average selling prices [ASPs] thanks to more fully featured products,” said Synergy in a statement.

Original design manufacturers (ODMs) had another standout year, achieving some of the highest growth figures seen in the datacentre hardware and software market in 2018.

Where public cloud datacentres are concerned, the ODMs lead the market – from a supplier point of view – as many of the firms that operate in this segment choose custom-made products to suit the specific needs of their environment over commodity hardware and software, for example.

But within private cloud datacentre environments, the picture is a little different, with Dell-EMC ruling the roost, along with Microsoft, HPE and Cisco.

Where more traditional, non-cloud datacentre environments are concerned, Microsoft leads the market – thanks to the enduring popularity of its server operating system and virtualisation software, with Dell-EMC, HPE and Cisco completing the top four.

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, said the surge in spending on public cloud infrastructure makes sense in the context of how the rest of the cloud market is performing.

“Cloud service revenues continue to grow by almost 50% per year, enterprise SaaS [software as a service] revenues are growing by 30%, search/social networking revenues are growing by almost 25%, and e-commerce revenues are growing by over 30%, all of which are helping to drive big increases in spending on public cloud infrastructure,” he said.

“We are also now seeing some reasonably strong growth in enterprise datacentre infrastructure spending, with the main catalysts being more complex workloads, hybrid cloud requirements, increased server functionality and higher component costs. We are not seeing much unit volume growth in enterprise, but vendors are benefiting from substantially higher ASPs.”

Flying on American, Southwest, United, JetBlue or Alaska Today? Check Your Flight. They All Had Problems This Morning

American, Southwest, United, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines, along with smaller regional carriers, were forced to ground flights across the United States this morning after a computer system error that affected many U.S. airlines.

The apparent problem, several airlines said, stemmed from a shared system that many airlines use — rather than any kind of simultaneous problem encountered by multiple airlines on their individually operated computer systems. 

Airline spokespeople at JetBlue and American Airlines both told me this morning that they put the blame on a system run by a company called Aerodata.  

A Federal Aviation Administration official also told The Washington Post that the Aeroplan system tracks “weight and balance of a plane,” and is also “used in flight planning.”

While it appears that most if not all of the flights are now cleared, and the problem resolved, airlines said they expected delays would likely reverberate across their schedules today.

So if you’re flying anywhere in the United States today on a U.S. carrier, it would be a good idea to check your flight’s status before heading to the airport.

Earlier, Southwest had said it grounded all fights across the United States for about 40 minutes Monday morning. 

“We’re working with customers on any impacts to their travel plans and we appreciate their understanding as we place nothing higher than the safe operation of every flight,” a spokesman said.

At Delta, it appeared the problem might have been confined largely to regional airlines operating as Delta Connection, although a spokesperson advised via USA Today, ” If you’re on a flight departing soon, please check the status of your flight via the Fly Delta Mobile App or Delta.com.”

Some reports said that JetBlue was most heavily affected, and as of about 8:30 this morning, the company told me in an email that it was still experiencing delays. At one point, it appeared the airline had grounded all flights due to the issue.

It appears the computer problem has been resolved as of about 9:30 a.m., but airlines expected some residual delays throughout the day as they work to get back on schedule. 

United Airlines said about 150 of its flights were affected Monday morning. 

“Some of our regional carriers experienced an issue with a flight planning program this morning that impacted operations, resulting in delays for select United Express flights. Our team worked quickly with our partners to resolve the issue,” a spokeswoman for United told me.

Alaska Airlines also reportedly had delays, but the company did not respond to my request for comment this morning.

Earlier reports — for example when the FAA reported via Twitter at about 7:42 a.m. simply that “several U.S. airlines” were “experiencing computer issues this morning” — led to some concerns that the problems might have been happening simultaneously on each airline’s separate systems.

While there’s no word on what caused the Aerodata issue, the good news here seems to be that there’s nothing like a concerted attack on multiple airlines’ systems–along with the fact that the airlines apparently responded quickly, and were able to resolve it all.