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Fifteen global telecommunication companies recently converged at a market consultation conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, expressing strong interest in the commercial development and exploitation of a new subsea data cable connecting London and Rotterdam, known as the ‘Erasmus’ cable. At the conference, companies found business partners to further explore the commercial development, exploitation and construction of this new subsea cable. A new route between the Netherlands and the UK would greatly increase the resilience of the data networks between both countries and beyond.

Anticipating the expected growth in data traffic between the UK and the Netherlands, along with the impending retirement of several existing cables, this new subsea cable could potentially secure an estimated bandwidth capacity of 90 to 170 Terabits per second (Tbps) by 2030, and capture a substantial 15% market share in data traffic volume. This cable strategically leverages Rotterdam’s key data exchange points, including AMS-ix and NL-ix, and taps into the thriving Dutch data center market. Additionally, it offers essential onward connectivity options to major European hubs in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris.

While the Netherlands is home to a number of hyperscale data centers, the Rotterdam region is characterized by a growing number of colocation data centers. In addition, Rotterdam is a strategic location for a new cable because it is a diversity path for the major European internet exchanges.

Stefan Ideler, CTO at the Rotterdam-based i3D.net: “Globally, we are one of the largest compute and connectivity service providers for gaming and real-time applications, serving customers like Discord, EA and Ubisoft. To deliver the most reliable user experience, we want to maximize the number of independent data routes to increase resilience, reduce latency and provide redundancy from the Amsterdam region. We intend to use the Erasmus cable to add another important connection to the UK, which is independent of connections terminating in Amsterdam or crossing through the Channel Tunnel.”

The ‘Erasmus subsea cable’ market consultation event drew over 20 industry leaders to Rotterdam.

The Dutch government recognizes the importance of international data transport infrastructure and is committed to strengthening the nation’s position as the digital gateway to Europe. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and regional economic development agency InnovationQuarter work together to offer potential investors support with permitting processes, stakeholder management, or finding experienced contractors with specific local expertise. The city of Rotterdam is involved in this initiative, because the city wants to continuously improve the city’s digital connectivity.

Parties interested in the economic opportunities of a London – Rotterdam subsea cable are invited to contact martin.prins@innovationquarter.nl.

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A group of people wearing helmets

Virtual Reality allows users to interact with a computer-generated environment that feels like a real world. This technology is also being increasingly used in the manufacturing industry, where VR technology helps visualize complex machinery and work processes. With this technology, problems are solved faster and companies make better strategic decisions. Yet VR, or its sister Augmented Reality is not yet penetrating the industry very quickly. The emergence of 5G technology is playing an important role in accelerating VR adoption by making it easier and cheaper to apply VR in the workplace. And that is exactly what this innovative startup from Delft is doing on a daily basis, meet Senseglove.   

Gloves for realistic interaction in Virtual Reality trainings 

When you say Virtual Reality, the first image that comes to mind is a person wearing 3D glasses. With these, you can look around in a nonexistent world. But until recently, touching and picking up things in that same world was not possible. SenseGlove changed that. They are developing gloves that allow you to touch, grasp, feel and hold things in Virtual Reality as if all objects and tools really exist. These gloves are unique because unlike game controllers, they offer a natural way to interact with the environment in VR. That’s important if you want to train people, for example, in handling hazardous materials, performing complex tasks with multiple tools and objects or learning to design and test prototypes. Renowned companies like Volkswagen, Honda and ESA are using the gloves for exactly those purposes, because in VR their employees can train faster, more often and cheaper than is possible without VR.   

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Extended Reality (XR).  

Most people are familiar with Virtual Reality, where you can use glasses to look around in a completely virtual world. Augmented Reality is also widely used in industry. With AR you see the world like it is through the glasses and the virtual objects are projected onto them, so you can, for example, look at a machine and a digital construction drawing of that machine at the same time. Together, these technologies are summarized under the name Extended Reality. 

5G: the key to more efficient training in Virtual Reality  

The development of 5G technology is key for Senseglove to realistically train in Virtual Reality. Because the player’s hands must have complete freedom, cables are impractical. But wireless connections are slower and delay ruins the training experience in the virtual world because the hand closes just a little later in VR, for example. The SenseGlove gloves are therefore until now mainly used in combination with heavy computers with special software at the training location itself, while software from the cloud with wireless connection to the gloves would be much more practical. With 5G, the delay between all the VR equipment and the VR software in the cloud is so small that it results in lifelike training with real-time feedback without delay. The high-speed connection over 5G makes it possible to offer training worldwide while the virtual world runs centrally on a server in the cloud. This requires much less start-up costs and makes training more flexible, making it more accessible and scalable to many companies.   

Pushing boundaries and accelerating innovations  

With this video, we want to inspire and invite entrepreneurs, scientists and governments to work together to develop technologies of the future. Application of 5G is not an end in itself, but can accelerate the development of innovations as this example of SenseGlove also shows: with 5G, the boundaries between the local device and the cloud blur and new solutions become possible. Thus, we can continue to amaze the world and push the boundaries.  

Grant and support for 5G experiments  

Want to know more about this interesting case and the grant scheme around the 5G facility at Do IoT Fieldlab? Read all about it on the Do IoT website. Are you curious about how to experiment with the latest 5G technology? We have several test sites for 5G technology in South Holland: DoIoT, Unmanned Valley, The Green Village and (soon) Tomatoworld. Download the 5G guide here to be completely up-to-date.  

For companies that want to develop and test 5G innovations in South Holland, help is available in the form of grants, matchmaking and expertise. 

Wat kunnen wij voor u betekenen?

Neem gerust contact met ons op.

Jos Maccabiani

Senior Business Developer Digital Technology
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Jos en Iwan tijdens filmopnames EX Robotics

Sneak Preview!  

This week, we are at Do IoT Fieldlab with EX Robotics for the filming of our inspiration video. EX Robotics develops autonomous inspection robots for environments with the risk of explosion, such as oil refineries. The robots are used worldwide to carry out inspections without putting personnel in danger. 

5G test facilities at Do IoT Fieldlab  

The inspection robots work independently. The robot maps the refinery using lasers, cameras, and sensors to detect gases. With 4G, the robot is not able to transmit its data in real-time. EX Robotics has now succeeded in integrating 5G equipment and meeting the strictest safety requirements using the 5G test facilities at Do IoT Fieldlab. 

The latest generation of mobile communication (5G) offers great opportunities for the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). The fast connections, high reliability, and short response times of 5G make it possible to bring new applications to market in various fields, including mobility, logistics, agriculture, health, and safety. Do IoT Fieldlab supports the development of such applications. 

With this video, we want to inspire entrepreneurs, scientists, and governments to work with us on the development of future technologies. 

Jos en Iwan tijdens filmopnames EX Robotics

Subsidy and support  

Want to know more about this interesting case and about the subsidy scheme for the 5G facilities at Do IoT Fieldlab? Read all about it on the Do IoT website. Are you curious about how you can experiment with the latest 5G technology? We have several 5G test locations in South Holland: DoIoT, Unmanned Valley, and The Green Village. Download the 5G guide here to stay up-to-date. 

For companies that want to develop and test 5G innovations in South Holland, assistance is available in the form of subsidies, matchmaking, and expertise.” 

What can we do for you?

Feel free to contact us.

Jos Maccabiani

Senior Business Developer Digital Technology
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onaftapbaar quantuminternet mede door QuTech InnovationQuarter

The Port of Rotterdam stakeholders will be able to participate and benefit from an untappable, multi-user quantum network for their critical communication systems. Several countries already experiment with quantum communication, but QuTech’s spin-off Q*Bird is the first to deploy a new type secure quantum network that can connect multiple users via a center hub in a cost-effective and scalable manner. This will ensure an untappable internet connection between many users, spread out throughout the harbour area.

The Port of Rotterdam represents a significant portion of the Dutch economy, handles almost 15 million shipping containers yearly and is therefore one of the largest ports in the world. Securing its communication systems will improve the safety of tens of thousands of sea ships yearly and for a significant part the economical traffic that comes after.

The safeguard of information transfer over the global internet is paramount for any large organization. Tampering with information channels has major financial implications and can be potentially life-threatening.

kritische infrastructuur in de haven van Rotterdam

Economic impact

The port of Rotterdam is a crucial industrial and logistic hub that handles almost 15 million shipping containers yearly, and together with dry bulk cargo, wet bulk cargo (like oil), and breakbulk amounts to a total of almost 500 million tons of throughput. The total economic added value of the port represents 8.2% of the Dutch GDP (€ 63 billion), employing more than 500.000 people directly and indirectly.

Malignant tapping the communication systems between parties can lead to significant financial losses, disruption of critical business operation, or physical harm. A quantum communication infrastructure will insure an untappable connection and will improve the logistics chains of which Rotterdam is a part of, even more so a vital infrastructure on the European continent.

Special quantum key distribution technique developed by Q*Bird

Previously a team of scientists and engineers at QuTech—a collaboration between the Delft University of Technology and TNO—has demonstrated an alternative, untappable method for sending encrypted information. The technology has such commercial potential that they have decided to spin-off out of QuTech under the name of Q*Bird. “Our technology is based on a special implementation of quantum key distribution (QKD) that uses a central hub to connect users that want to exchange secure communications,” explains Q*Bird’s co-founder and director Remon Berrevoets. “That means that it is possible to implement a quantum network in a cost-effective way, scalable to many end-users, and using mostly off-the-shelf equipment.”

Co-founder and director Ingrid Romijn: “Our quantum secure communication system has already shown to be fruitful during a proof-of-concept at major Dutch telecom provider KPN with Cisco hardware and the deployed testbed at digital infrastructure provider Eurofiber with Juniper hardware. The port of Rotterdam as a launching partner displays the enormous potential of our technology.”

de wetten van de quantummechanica

Schematic image of the quantum key distribution system. A central node (Charlie) connects users Alice (left) and Bob (right). If an eavesdropping hacker tries to steal the secret keys, the laws of quantum mechanics ensures the users are informed if the keys are compromised. Another set of keys will then be created to securely encrypt further messages. Image credit: Simplot for QuTech.

Practical implementation

As a first step in the test, the central hub for the distribution of quantum keys will be hosted at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Using this new technology, data will be exchanged between a number of parties in the port in a closed environment. Participating in this test will be the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Portbase and a number of nautical service providers. The aim of the test is to further validate the technical capabilities of the system.

In the future, such a setup enables connecting all end-users with a secure, untappable connection. The first four end-users can be expanded later to many more. The users will share keys that are generated using quantum technology (and therefor inherently un-tappable) that they will use to encrypt messages using traditional technology. The strength of this type of setup is the ease by which it can be expanded to many more users, and the relative low cost of expansion. Upon completion, the parties concerned can be sure its communication line hasn’t been tampered with while connecting with.

Close collaborations

Delft-based Single Quantum is the first European company to commercialize superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs). With their 10 years of  experience developing their product, they will provide a major component for the central hub of the quantum communication system. On the technical side, this project enables a close collaboration between Single Quantum and Q*bird: two dutch high-tech companies with complementary expertise and global ambitions. By joining forces in this project, they will have a powerful societal impact in the region.

InnovationQuarter helped think about and implement this project, for example, by co-producing the Birch report (Dutch). During its research phase several leads have emerged that helped shape this consortium. Jacqueline Schardijn, Senior Business Developer Digital Technology, InnovationQuarter adds: “Birch has indicated that we need to capitalise on opportunities in the region, by also working as governments and industry, towards a working communication infrastructure. As such, I have spoken to various parties who have a strong interest in a working communication infrastructure.”

onaftapbaar quantuminternet mede door QuTech InnovationQuarter en Port of Rotterdam

Representatives of the many parties involved in this project: QuTech/Q*Bird, Port of Rotterdam, Single Quantum, InnovationQuarter, Portbase, pilotage, Cisco, Intel, Port Harbour Master, and Quantum Delta NL. Photo credit: Guus Schoonewille for QuTech.

Commercial and European implications

“It is one of QuTech’s goals to license technology or birth spin-offs whenever we have technology that is market-ready” says Kees Eijkel, QuTech director of business development. “Q*Bird perfectly shows how we as a research institute create impact: by solving academic challenges, recognizing the societal implications, and making the technology available to the world.”

Director of the Quantum Internet Alliance and QuTech group leader Stephanie Wehner adds: “Delft has a unique position in the development of the quantum internet. We want to build prototype networks and a framework for a European quantum internet. The work of Q*Bird is a great case of the commercial opportunity such networks have.”


Funding for this project has been provided for 2/3rds through the Quantum Delta NL SME programme and 1/3rd by the Port of Rotterdam.