Digitising European Industry: First Stakeholder Forum held in Germany

The City of Essen hosted the first Stakeholder Forum (SF) for Digitising European Industry on 31st January[s1]  and 2ndFebruary 2017 at the Zeche Zollverein. Once a large industrial complex for coal mining the Zeche is a symbol for structural change and has now turned into a leading centre of design, culture and creative industries. Likewise, the era of digitization is expected to further trigger profound structural change in all areas of the economy and of our society.  The new generation of information technologies such as big data, data analytics, robots, 3D-printing, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive the way forward.

The Forum was jointly organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Platform Industrie 4.0 Initiative and the European Commission. The Forum is expected to become a vital public annual event hosted by a different Member States each year to interlink and consult stakeholders from the entire digital value chain. The 2017 Forum brought together more than 500 participants from relevant industry branches, politics, academia as well as civil society and national initiatives. It was particularly set, to build up a pan- European framework for cooperation and the overcome disparities between European regions.

High-level policy debates as well as dedicated workshops focused on the completion of the Digital Single Market (DSM) and included topics such as IT-Security, standardisation and reference architectures, digital industrial platforms, regulatory challenges faced by digital innovators  as well as necessary professional skills required in the digital age.  The concept of Digital Innovation Hubs and the different national initiatives were also presented along with “speed-networking” - sessions offered with representatives of national Industry 4.0 initiatives.

The Workshop on “Digital Platforms for the industry of tomorrow” was chaired by Max Lemke (Head of Unit Components and Systems, European Commission) and proved to be of particularly interest for Platforms4CPS activities. The workshop took stock of results achieved in the different sub-working groups of the Digitising European Industry initiative and addressed possible ways for coordinating digital platforms across European industry and how to master the transformation towards large-scale initiatives on digital platforms. Participants confirmed a striking presence of initiatives in vertical technology domains such as Agriculture, Health and Manufacturing, however extra leverage to digital transformation is also given by horizontal technologies such as data platforms and IoT applications. Yet, markets are still very fragmented and there is a need for increased orchestration. There was consent on the need to stimulate stronger bottom-up experimentation, federation, standardisation and continued joint efforts on part of EU, national and regional initiatives to support suitable platforms that can manage the digital transition.

Please follow the link for more information’s about the event and presentations of the workshops: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/content/stakeholder-forum-essen-presentations-workshops