In multiple presentations at the Year Of The Monkey digital festival in Munich on Thursday, the figure "87%" was prominent. This is - according to a number of research papers - the number of German companies currently feeling that a change to digitalisation over the next five years is a priority. At least half of those companies have begun moving down the path towards digitalisation, mostly on the basis of the perceived disruptive threat the concept poses to the established industrial models.
So the move towards digitalisation is gathering momentum. While the larger companies in Germany are concerning themselves with aspects of the cyber-physical systems needed for production and the security surrounding the massive data sets being built up, Germany's start-up landscape is alive with companies looking at tiny niches within those data sets and production systems, creating solutions to improve the overall outlook for industry.
This digitalisation of industry, known as Industrie 4.0 in Germany, has given the Hannover Fair, to be opened by US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday April 24, some extra impetus. With the USA pursuing similar digital and industrial goals, the choice of the USA as the trade show's partner country could not be more appropriate.
Monday April 25 sees a podium discussion on the subject, hosted by federal economic development agency Germany Trade & Invest, on the subject of Industrie 4.0 within the Global Business and Markets forum. The discussion will go into depth about the challenges and potential posed by the disruption digitalisation promises to cause. There will also be a premiere screening of a new short film on the subject of Industrie 4.0, produced by Germany Trade & Invest.
The discussion will be in Hall 3, Business Forum 1 at 15.00 CET, and features keynote speakers Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.