© Alexandre Debieve on Unsplash

10 Oct 2018

Made in Germany: Dive into innovation and technology

Leading research and cutting-edge tech for every industry sector

A few weeks back, Germany launched the world’s first autonomous tram in Potsdam near Berlin. Although the Combino might still be some way from being commercially viable, it is a major milestone on the way to autonomous driving – and exemplifies how Germany leads in innovation and technology.

Germany leads European research and development

Just like the AI-driven Combino that was developed by a team of 50 computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and physicians at German engineering company Siemens, scientists and researchers across the whole country are working on innovative projects in virtually every sector, from mechanical engineering to nanotechnology. In this context, the focus on information and communications technology (ICT) as a general-purpose technology driving innovation within all industries has turned Germany into one of the top five research nations worldwide. Over the past few years, the country has considerably increased its innovative power and according to a 2018 report of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany not only spends more money than any other European country on research and development but also surpasses the USA in comparison. (Not boasting, just saying.)

Information and telecommunications technology sector drives innovation

As figures always send a clear signal, let’s take a look at a few more: The ITC sector as THE driver of the digital transformation in Germany employs more than one million people. With a turnover of over EUR 228 billion worldwide, Germany is also the fifth largest national market globally. As a highly innovative sector, innovation budgets reached record levels of EUR 17.2 billion in 2016 and are set to grow further. And: In terms of the overall value it adds to the German economy, ITC is now even ahead of classic industrial sectors such as mechanical engineering or chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Let’s come back to our Combino that has certainly not materialised out of nowhere: Mobility is, in fact, one of the five fields that the German government has identified for its “High-tech Strategy 2020”. This initiative sees research funding focused on climate/energy, health/nutrition, security, communication and mobility. As a key technology, ITC forms the basis for new products, processes and services in these areas to tackle the challenges society faces. Add to that the innovative powers of German companies with ever growing budgets for R&D to the mix and you have a pretty perfect environment for business events with an edge.

Tap into Germany's innovative powers

From big players to start-ups and including research and academic institutions or tech clusters, event planners can dip into a wide range of destinations and venues that provide that crucial element of cutting-edge expertise and networking opportunities that make a difference - and create a more immersive experience for attendees. In Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg region, for instance, the so-called OpTecBB initiative brings together companies and research institutes working on the latest optical technologies. A mere 1,5 hour by train away, Hanover's "Centre of Manufacturing Technology" provides access to a range of organisations who work and research under one roof on over 200.000 square feet. For anyone in the semiconductor industry, Saxony's capital Dresden and the surrounding region are the place to be: "Silicon Saxony", as it is known, is home to Europe's largest corporate network in the semiconductor and microsystems industry with plenty of options for inspiring site visits. Baroque beauty Dresden also happens to be one of Germany's fastest growing business event destinations and is host to the annual "Semicon Europe" as one of the world's leading trade shows for this industry.

If you like the "valleys" approach, there's more: A cluster of IT companies has turned the Rhine-Main-Neckar region into the "Silicon Valley of Europe", including global software giant SAP which is headquartered in Walldorf near Heidelberg. Or for innovation in the medical sector, the "Medical Valley" in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region in Bavaria as one of the strongest and most active medical technology research clusters in the world provides local know-how and leading experts to give your industry event the edge. And who knows, your attendees might soon be exploring your chosen German host city in a driverless tram....