Industry 4.0: Berlin – the Capital of the digital revolution
The funding for the <link http://www.transferbonus.de/home/>Transfer BONUS</link> programme has been increased significantly. The programme puts a special focus on the digitalisation of private companies by cooperating with scientific institutions. Companies can apply for support funds of up to 45,000 euros for such project-based initiatives. The funds are aimed at small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in particular, helping them to make the move towards digitalisation. The <link http://www.berlin.de/sen/wirtschaft/gruenden-und-foerdern/investitionsfoerderung/wachsen/zuschuesse/>Gemeinschaftsaufgabe Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur (GRW)</link> scheme (Joint Federal Scheme for Improving Regional Economic Structures), a central support measure targeting individual regions and locations, will be expanded as well. In total, the GRW will be providing some 30 million euros for Berlin-based IT companies. A new addition to the range of funding schemes is a loan programme that has been developed to enable investment in growth and innovative SME technologies. All in all, the Senate Department, in cooperation with Investitionsbank Berlin, will be providing some 10 million euros through other financing offers in the digital sector by 2017.
Recently, the contracts governing the foundation of the <link http://www.digitale-vernetzung.org/>“Leistungszentrums Digitale Vernetzung”</link> (Digital Networking Centre of Excellence) were signed. Four Fraunhofer Institutes, FOKUS, HHI, IPK and IZM, have partnered up in order to share resources and know-how regarding the increasing digitalisation of all areas of life. The Centre of Excellence will be working in close cooperation with the Technical University Berlin as well as other companies as part of research projects. "We would like to thank the Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research for their commitment and support in establishing the Centre of Excellence. We are optimistic that we will soon be ready to start operating," said Manfred Hauswirth, Head of Open Communication Systems at Fraunhofer Institute. Another institute that will be pooling specific competences in order to explore ways of improving analysis and processing of large data volumes is <link http://www.bbdc.berlin/>Berlin Big Data Center</link>. The consortium, consisting of five research institutions, will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Platforms and infrastructure
Companies can register proprietary innovative products, processes and services in a central database called <link https://www.berlin-innovation.de/>Berlin Innovativ</link>. The platform serves as a "showroom" for Berlin-based high-tech companies. As digitalisation doesn't only affect companies but also administration additional staff was added to the team of the central platform for administrative affairs. Upgrading Berlin's digital infrastructure is another top priority as high-performance data networks are a prerequisite for Berlin to hold its ground as a leading digitalisation centre. Against this backdrop, the Senate Department is promoting Berlin as a test market for 5G.
Incidentally, <link https://www.bitkom.org/Presse/Presseinformation/Unternehmen-erwarten-Umsatzschub-durch-Industrie-40.html>according to information by industry association BITKOM</link> around 50 percent of industrial enterprises expect sales to increase due to digitalisation. According to a study, industry 4.0 will boost productivity in six economically important sectors amounting to some 78 billion euros in total by 2025.