BMWi: We’ll use Industrie 4.0 to modernise Germany

As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany is carrying a lot of weight on its shoulders

Each year, Germany invests over 15 billion Euros into the European Union, a figure that could swell when the UK has left the party. Last week, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble outlined his fiscal plans through 2021, which included a gradual spending increase from the state and a pledge not to add any new national debt. Seen as an easing of austerity measures, the announcement has been followed by calls from Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for the country to invest more into EU coffers.

The country’s economy is robust enough to cope, in part thanks to its thriving start-up scene and the sheer volume of homegrown tech and industrial brands like SAP, Siemens and Bosch. Let’s not even talk about their global dominance in car-making. There is little doubt that when it comes to manufacturing and innovation, Germany is one of the world’s leading lights.

Last month at CeBIT, Europe’s largest technology tradeshow, the best of the country’s cutting-edge kit is on display. The event attracts tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe and even Chancellor Merkel made a star cameo, walking the show floor with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe – surely a welcome engagement after the week she’s had.

While the name Industry 4.0 has become a slightly classier way of saying industrial-use IoT, the term was originally coined to describe a German strategic initiative aiming to establish the country as one of the world’s leading providers of advanced manufacturing solutions, although arguably it is already that. Platform Industrie 4.0 has a clear objective to support and educate industry stakeholders with a framework for manufacturing digitisation.

“We have to use Industrie 4.0 to modernise Germany as a base for production,” says Dirk Wiese, SPD politician and Parliamentary State Secretary with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the BMWi. “This process is being accelerated through the Platform Industrie 4.0. It is of great importance to help especially German SMEs in mastering the challenge of digitisation. This will mean providing support and information services that are tailored to their needs. An important facilitator in that regard, are a series of eleven new “Mittelstand 4.0″-competence centres that are being rolled out across Germany.”