Programme

Networking

Invitation Only

 
2024 Cocktail Reception sponsored by Schneider Electric

 
Schneider Electric

Platform Global Congress 2024
11 September

Amphithéâtre
Palais des congrès Antipolis

Networking

07:45
Registration Desk Opens | Continental Breakfast
08:55
Introduction & Welcome

Speaker

Nicola Hayes

Nicola Hayes

Non-Executive Director, Platform Markets Group

09:00
Winners and Losers

Speaker

Waldemar Szlezak

Waldemar Szlezak

Partner, Global Head of Digital Infrastructure, KKR

Investing is often not necessarily about picking the winners but avoiding the losers. In this Annual Guest presentation our invited guest thought leader assesses the global data center market.

09:20
Global Funds Panel: Towards Trillion Dollar Investments in digital infrastructure

Chair

Ben Forster

Global Portfolio Manager, Schroders

Speakers

Waldemar Szlezak

Waldemar Szlezak

Partner, Global Head of Digital Infrastructure, KKR

 

Joshua Pang

Managing Director and Head of Digital Infrastructure, Carlyle Global Infrastructure

Over the past three years billions of dollars have been closed in funds and investments made in global data center and digital infrastructure. A range of institutions have entered these markets from private equity to pension funds, alternative investments and sovereign wealth funds. Acquisitions of existing data center platforms are continuing to achieve substantial multiples. Investors recognize that data centers as an asset class have changed in terms of its importance and maturity. Investment structures have also expanded alongside sustained market entry by logistics and property firms taking the development risk of data centers and new fibre construction.

What is the scale and size of potential dollar investment in digital infrastructure by class over the next twelve months? And which geographies will figure prominently in investment decisions?
Trillions of dollars of investment and deal values are being forecast supercharged by AI - is the dry powder beginning to be deployed?
How have risk/reward profiles of investments in this sector changed over the past three years?
How much are some of these investments speculative?
How are margins performing?
What are the risks associated with exit from these markets?
As the wider investment landscape has become more demanding with voracious equity demand but less attractive debt financing will co-investment strategies become more commonplace?
What are the best levers for value creation in global portfolio data center companies?

09:50
Global CEO Roundtable: Towards GW Digital Campuses

Chair

Mark Chester

Mark Chester

Partner, Eversheds Sutherlands

Speakers

Chris Crosby

Chris Crosby

CEO, Compass Data Centers

 

Olivier Micheli

Olivier Micheli

Chairman and CEO, Data4

 

Neil Cresswell

Neil Cresswell

CEO, Virtus Data Centres

 

Randy Brouckman

Randy Brouckman

CEO, EdgeConneX

The head of Dominion Energy, one of America’s largest utilities, is reported to have said that data center developers now frequently ask him for “several gigawatts”. As global demand for GW digital campuses begins to emerge:
- What is the current status of AI uptake in leasing and what changes in approach will be required?
- How will the challenge of renewable power be resolved in the AI era?
What is the investment risk in land banking?
Will asset backed securitisation assume more importance in fund raising for expansion?
How different from now will the data center landscape change in the next 3 years?

10:20
Keynote

Speaker

Gwénaelle Avice-Huet

Gwénaelle Avice-Huet

Executive Vice President of Europe Operations - Member of the Executive Committee at Schneider Electric; Board member of AirFrance KLM; Conseiller au Commerce Exterieur de la France

10:45
Morning Networking Break
Kindly hosted by engie, RED
11:15
Global Infrastructure Investment - Private Equity M&A

Chair

TBC

Speakers

Ralph Choufani

Ralph Choufani

Partner, ABRY Partners

 

Dmitriy Antropov

Dmitriy Antropov

Co-Head Private Infrastructure Partnership Investments, Partners Group

 

Matthew Dooley

Matthew Dooley

Director Value Add infrastructure, Swiss Life Asset Managers

The investment pivot towards digital infrastructure remains substantial. Data centers represent a defensive sector that provides stable and predictable returns, low cyclicality, and strategic asset allocations, highly valued characteristics in an otherwise volatile global economy. Yet 2023 witnessed a decline in dealmaking and fundraising.
Was 2023 just a bump in the road?
European secondary markets appear to be in the ascendant with market reports suggesting 270 MW take up for 2024. What is the outlook?
Which major factors will influence the much anticipated M&A activity?
Given the global decarbonization agenda and its significant tailwinds, how prevalent are sustainability linked loans?
Will offshoring private equity fund structures become more commonplace?

11:45
Guest Presentation

Speaker

Val Walsh

Val Walsh

VP, Microsoft CO+I

12:05
Land, Real Estate and Site Selection

Chair

Stephen Beard

Stephen Beard

Global Head of Data Centres, Knight Frank

Speakers

Roger Mroczek

Roger Mroczek

Director of Real Estate, QTS Data Centers

 

Stuart Jarvis

Stuart Jarvis

Investment Director, CapitaLand

The data center real estate is extremely active as vacancy rates plummet to historic lows across many markets and as demand increases rents have jumped too. What is the outlook on rents and pricing?
Will pre-leasing continue to accelerate over the next twelve months? What timescales are now typical?
To what extent have secondary markets been growing in share of leasing activity over the last two to three years and what is the outlook?
To what extent is onsite power a necessary corollary of new build?
Is enquiry evident for locations near nuclear power facilities?
Is water availability still an important factor?
What level of complexity in real estate transactions will AI data centre expansion generate?

12:35
Funding the Expansion of Digital Infrastructure

Chair

Richard Ludwig

Richard Ludwig

Director Digital Infrastructure, Alantra

Speakers

Richard Bienfait

Richard Bienfait

CFO, STACK Infrastructure EMEA

 

Matthew Baynes

Matthew Baynes

VP, Design & Construction Partners, Cloud & Service Provider Segment, Schneider Electric

 

Romain Py

Romain Py

Partner, Arjun Infrastructure Partners

Expansion roadmaps for data centers are accelerating driven by high demand, emerging secondary markets and other new markets.
What are the principal funding mechanisms being used?
What changes are taking place in debt and equity financing?
What is the level of incremental funding from new investors?
Will securitisation (ABS) rather than bank lending or infra debt become the dominant financing source for data centers in Europe?

13:05
Seated Networking Lunch
14:15
AI: The GPU Outlook

Chair

Susanna Kass

Susanna Kass

Carbon Neutral Data Center Advisor, UNSDG Program

Guest Presenter

Jaap Zuiderveld

Jaap Zuiderveld

Vice President EMEA, Nvidia

14:40
AI: Investment & Growth

Chair

Vincent Barro

Vincent Barro

Vice-President Datacenter & Secure Power, Schneider Electric

Speakers

Mark Thiele

Mark Thiele

Co-Founder & CCO, Edgevana

 

Jean-François Berche

Jean-François Berche

Senior Advisor, DTCP

Artificial intelligence (AI) has propelled equity markets to multiple all-time highs. It is regarded as one of the most revolutionary technological advancements in recent history and a global phenomenon. Development now is focused on a scalable and powerful infrastructure that underpins AI. The technology is built on the foundation of data centers, and as most AI workloads live on the cloud, AI is fuelling further cloud growth. Demand from AI is rapidly consuming existing data center capacity and driving build not only in tier 1 markets where this remains possible, but also in to secondary and eventually tertiary markets. Added to this sovereignty legislation compels expansion within each country.

What is the scale of dry powder being invested in AI?
Is it now possible given the lower latency requirements of AI training, availability of carbon free energy, to site AI anywhere?
Which sectors are poised for significant transformation through AI and will the enabling software and applications become a bigger dimension of value?
Are nations now likely to invest more in creating AI data center hubs and how will they compete? Who will be the winners?

15:10
AI Sovereignty

Every nation has its own cultural blueprint and Sovereign AI represents a significant shift in how nations approach this new technology. Sovereign AI embodies a nation's ability to independently develop, deploy, and govern AI technologies.
In what is recognized as a second wave of AI innovation, countries are beginning to adapt AI to their own image. Every region offers a different approach to data privacy, data localization and data residency to address the specific language and cultural needs of individual countries as well as their particular business strengths and more-specialized sovereign cloud capabilities.

What are the key benefits of Sovereign AI to businesses?
The G7 has adopted a voluntary code for AI and more than 100 countries globally have introduced data protection and sovereignty legislation to prevent both government and corporate data residing on systems outside of their legal and regulatory controls. Is there a danger this will impede international businesses? Will regulation alone cut it?
How can businesses effectively manage their data centers and limit the use of data outside the data sovereignty boundaries defined by the regulations of the country?
Are governments likely to be willing to adopt a holistic approach to AI that also embraces the needs of businesses?
Intelligent systems possess the ability to operate independently, adapting to dynamic environments without constant human intervention. Is this safe and secure at national level?

15:40
Afternoon Networking Break
Kindly hosted by engie, RED
16:10
Guest Analyst Presentation: Connecting Digital Campuses

Speaker

Tim Stronge

Tim Stronge

VP of Research, TeleGeography

16:30
Investing in Fiber

Chair

Tim Stronge

Tim Stronge

VP of Research, TeleGeography

Speakers

Paul Gabla

Paul Gabla

Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Alcatel Submarine Networks & President, SubOptic Association

Following the pandemic, valuations of fibre businesses soared with market reports of valuations x19.7 in 2021. Since then fibre owners have been confronted in many cases with rising costs, supply chain issues and even overbuild. Terrestrial fibre networks have been expanding, driven by a combination of private investment and competition, and in Europe a gigabit network by 2030. New investors including pension funds, infrastructure funds, private equity firms and utility companies have been attracted to fibre by a combination of factors: stable returns, long-term upside from ongoing growth in demand, and the potential to monetise existing network assets outside of telecoms.
In subsea fibre cables, the last decade has recorded a surge in both revenue and volume of data consumption by hyperscale construction of subsea networks to meet this demand, that has far exceeded conventional telecom businesses and this trend is likely to continue. The economic importance of subsea is formidable. Meta for example has partnered with others to develop and build numerous new cable systems in APAC and Europe, which have the potential to contribute nearly $600 billion in additional GDP by 2025.

Is advancing digital infrastructure connectivity dependent on specialist funds that are equipped to mitigate the risk around this type of investment?
Which locations globally are attracting investment for terrestrial cables and data centre connectivity?
Increasing geopolitical and security issues confront subsea investments – how is this risk being managed?
With dominant players across subsea cable networks, is there a future opportunity for M&A?

17:00
Market Focus: Data Center Investment and Opportunities in Middle East Markets

Chair

Martin Hayward

Martin Hayward

Partner, Pinsent Masons

Panel

Tim Bawtree

Tim Bawtree

Founder & CEO, Quantum Switch

 

Johan Nielrud

Johan Nielrud

Senior Director Strategy & Planning, Khazna Data Centers

Drivers of digital across the six GCC states and other middle eastern countries comprise of a mix of population demographics - more than 80% live in urban area - the use of cloud by businesses and increasing cloud availability zones in the region; AI - according to PwC, the region is expected to capture 2% of the total global benefits of AI by 2030 equivalent to USD320bn - digital sovereignty laws, connectivity, the rise of smart cities and strategic positioning. Hyperscalers are looking to build closer to their markets, and to position their data centers across the region which is expected to double in the region by 2030. Both the UAE and KSA have emerged as pivotal hubs with substantial investment and both are vying to facilitate a conduit for data traffic between Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Land acquisition, build and operating permits and securing power are among the key challenges to market entry by international players. Is this likely to remain the case over the coming years?
What role will Edge play in the development of digital across the region?
Why is carbon footprint posing such a considerable challenge in meeting stringent sustainability targets in the region? Will renewable energy achieve substantial adoption a time when these countries are still oil dependent?
Where are the next hotspots for growth across the middle eastern region?

17:30
Closing Keynote - Frontier Markets

Speaker

Martin McCarthy

Martin McCarthy

CEO, Uptime Institute

17:50
Closing Remarks
18:00
Reception
20:00
Conference Dinner on the Beach and Celebration of Peers Awards

Kindly hosted by Legrand

Platform Global Congress 2024
11 September

Theatre 2
Palais des congrès Antipolis

Networking

14:15
Analyst Insight: Workshop

Uptime Institute

Platform Global Congress 2024
11 September

Le Ruban Bleu
Promenade du Soleil, 06160 Antibes

Networking

20:00
Conference Dinner on the Beach and Celebration of Peers Awards

Kindly hosted by

Legrand

At Le Ruban Bleu for Premium ticket holders. (Business ticket holders, limited time to upgrade!)

Join the Conference Networking Dinner featuring the Celebration of Peers Awards.

Enjoy a 3-course dinner with wine and tables of 10 for an informal end to the conference day.

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Platform Global Congress 2024
12 September

Amphithéâtre
Palais des congrès Antipolis

Networking

08:00
Registration Desk Opens | Continental Breakfast
09:10
Introduction & Welcome
09:15
Guest Keynote: Energy and Global Digital Infrastructure

Speaker

Amanda Peterson Corio

Amanda Peterson Corio

Global Head of Data Center Energy, Google LLC

09:40
Power Roundtable

Speakers

Christian Sjölander

Christian Sjölander

Co-Founder & CEO, Kärnfull Next

 

Eric Lamendour

Eric Lamendour

Head of Green Data Centre Platform, Engie

Data centers are actively pursuing viable renewable energy sources to eliminate carbon from their systems as well as compliance with new regulatory taxonomies and also to reduce costs. As digital infrastructure continues to scale particularly with the advent of AI, nuclear is among the potential power resources being considered. Nuclear power works alongside other sources of renewable energy as part of a diversified energy mix. The clean energy revolution is expanding into other options including the use of hydrogen and geothermal power. It has and will continue to transform how the world produces energy and how data centers impact the environment.

What energy technologies are fit to meet the unprecedented source of demand expected through AI?
Is nuclear power – through the deployment of small modular reactors (SMR) – a viable and cost effective option for the data center industry? What dates might be expected for availability?
Will nuclear power purchase agreements – especially for densely populated data center areas – increase as an option
How can renewables play a role in delivering controllable, interruptible load and can they be integrated in a way that enables them to provide added value to the data center?
The North American market has led the way in localizing supply chains. How far behind is Europe? Are microgrids being pursued?

10:10
Energy Transition and Infrastructure Investment

Investors are focusing on ESG and Decarbonization integration more so than ever before as part of due diligence. The integration of financially material ESG considerations in investment decision-making is paramount. The aim is to improve risk adjusted returns and assure investments are in compliance with regulatory requirements.
Will transition finance play a critical role in facilitating the shift to a net-zero economy by providing the capital required to support the transformation of emissions-intensive industries?
How will Jurisdictional Adoption of the ISSB Standards impact data centres?

10:40
Innovation in the Circular Economy

Speaker

Andrew Gomarsall MBE

Andrew Gomarsall MBE

Executive Director, n2s, Founding Partner, Bioscope Technologies

10:55
Morning Networking Break
Kindly hosted by engie, RED
11:25
Edge Market Analysis

Speaker

Chris Barraclough

Chris Barraclough

CEO, STL Partners

11:40
Edge Investment

Chair

Chris Barraclough

Chris Barraclough

CEO, STL Partners

Panel

Josh Joshi

Josh Joshi

Executive Chairman, AtlasEdge & Operating Partner, DigitalBridge

 

Sicco Boomsma

Sicco Boomsma

Managing Director, TMT, ING

 

Harro Beusker

Harro Beusker

CEO and Co-Founder, nLighten

12:10
AI at the Edge
12:45
BBQ Networking Lunch on the Terrace

Platform Global Congress 2024
12 September

Amphithéâtre
Palais des congrès Antipolis

Networking

14:00
Decarbonization Forum

Forum Chair

Mark Acton

Mark Acton

Head of Technical Due Diligence, Future-Tech

Programme to be announced