DIGITAL2018: Discussions and Dialog for a more Digital Germany


A digital summit of superlatives: a total of 7,000 SMEs, corporate representatives, politicians and scientists, 100 speeches and discussions on digitization in Germany and, finally, the Black Eyed Peas: Europe’s leading digital summit, the DIGITAL2018, inspired the participants.

“For two days, we focused on the topic of digitization. Our goal was to inspire, motivate and connect our guests across industries. That’s what we achieved. The response has been overwhelming. Next year, we will continue with the Digital Summit in Cologne on October 29 and 30, 2019, and before that we will again hold regional network events,” sums up Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director Business Customers of Telekom Deutschland and patron of DIGITAL2018.

“Digitization is a great gift for us. Germany has a strong industrial backbone. The second half of digitization is now about connecting production and products. This is where opportunities lie for Germany and Europe,” said Tim Höttges in his opening speech. Telekom wants to help digitize Germany. The development of a 5G network is an important building block for this. With its 8-point program, Telekom was the first provider to clearly position itself for expansion. “Others are still demanding, we are already in the implementation mode”, Höttges said. This also includes the close exchange with the industry, whose requirements are also taken into account. “We see ourselves as a partner to industry and SMEs in Germany and Europe. In the coming years, we will be connecting 3,000 commercial areas directly with fiber optic, from which 400,000 companies will benefit. We are investing billions in state-of-the-art broadband infrastructures, whether in the fixed network or in mobile communications. Europe is called upon to develop an industrial policy vision. “The idea of creating a strong center for artificial intelligence in Europe is absolutely right,” said Höttges.

DIGITAL2018 presented one highlight after the other. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak looked back at the beginnings of today’s most valuable company in the world. Former Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economics and Digitization for Northrhine-Westfalia, discussed digitization from a political angle.

Feeling colors instead of seeing them

Neil Harbisson was born color-blind. He knew green, blue, red and yellow for a long time only from stories. Then he decided to change this by using physics. An antenna firmly anchored in his head perceives colors and translates them into vibrations. A chip in his head passes this on to his brain. So that he feels colors instead of seeing them. Great Britain was the first country to officially recognize him as a cyborg. Setting an example for others, Harbisson founded the Cyborg Foundation.

“Our digitization series has already established itself as an incubator of ideas and as a platform for exchange,” says Rickmann. “And the DIGITAL shows: Analog exchange and personal networking are also needed in a digital world”.

Astonishing applications

In addition to speeches and discussions, DIGITAL2018 offers concrete applications on stage and with exhibits, such as how 3D printers are changing the value chain. BigRep, the series manufacturer of 3D printers, dealt with this question. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in industrial automation.

BMW presented Autonomous Driving. In the warehouses of the automobile manufacturer it is already reality to accelerate the production of new vehicles. Together with partner companies, innovative and connected products are created. A special kind of car comes from the Dusseldorf company “The iEV”. The manufactured electric vehicles are still prototypes. This also includes a car one can extend: The vehicle can be enlarged as required. From a two-seater to one for four or six passengers.

Robots for constructing houses

The Dutch start-up Vertico uses robots to build houses. The company works closely with Eindhoven University. With each house built, the application becomes more mature. So now it only takes 30 hours to build a foundation.

Artificial intelligence: loved and feared

For Chris Boos, the artificial intelligence pioneer, AI has long been existent. Like it or not. He admitted, however, that it reaches its limits in applications. In service, people prefer to surround themselves with people. And creativity cannot yet be transferred to AI.

Telecomdrive Bureau
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