eco at the Digital Summit 2019

The Digital Summit of the German Federal Government will take place this year on 28 and 29 October in Dortmund under the motto “Digital Platforms”. eco will be present several times on both days and will actively participate in the high-level discussions between politics and business. We talked to eco’s Managing Director Alexander Rabe about the event: He talked to us about the activities of the association at the summit and what significance such a meeting can have for the industry beyond the day.

Mr. Rabe, what is the Digital Summit in Dortmund about?

Since 2006, the Digital Summit of the German Federal Government has been hosted once a year by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The Digital Summit, a German-language event, has always been the highest-ranking exchange format between the Federal Government and the digital industry. In addition to the German Chancellor, numerous Cabinet ministers always take part and discuss the results and projects achieved in the course of the year by the respective working groups made up of representatives from both business and politics.

eco has always been present for its members at the Digital Summit; this year, eco is involved at board level as well as at management and executive level in the work of the platforms of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and, for the first time, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). A proud participation record, but, of course, also very labor-intensive for us as a team.

What exactly is eco going to be doing on site at this year’s Digital Summit?

As a central highlight, together with the BMWi, we will be holding another digital event on 28 October, similar what we did for last year’s Digital Summit in Nuremberg: a press tour of “Places of the Internet”. The NRW Minister of Digital Affairs Prof.Dr. REDACTED, the Federal Government Commissioner for the Digital Economy, Mr. REDACTED, as well as the CIO of the City of Dortmund, Dr. REDACTED, among others, and press representatives from all over Germany will go on a short discovery tour through the city of Dortmund and make this abstract digital summit motto “Digital Platforms” tangible for the participants.

For example, we will stop by at WILO and see what a smart factory and its production processes look like in reality, and we will be presented with an autonomous multi-drone scenario by the Fraunhofer Society. All in all, very impressive stations and exhibits, which hopefully will enable the media and political representatives on the tour to experience our daily work on the digital transformation vividly and thus make it easier to understand.

In addition, we have had a very intensive exchange with the BMWi throughout the year within the framework of the activities concerning the question of efficient and digitally sovereign data infrastructures and are pleased that eco Honorary President Prof. Michael Rotert and Harald A. Summa in his role as DE-CIX CEO, together with representatives from the user industry and federal politics, can present our take on things at the summit.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, a major project is obviously on the horizon in Dortmund, if you can believe the latest media reports on GAIA-X …

Together with our Chair of the Board, Oliver SĂĽme, eco has already had the opportunity for a bilateral exchange of ideas with the German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, at the end of 2018. He was particularly interested in the activities and demands of our Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany. Since then, we have been engaged in a constructive exchange with the Ministry and other partners on this topic.

We, as an association, welcome the recently revealed considerations of the German Federal Government to offer orientation and to conceive a model which makes it possible for existing small and large Cloud and Edge infrastructure providers to contribute equally and to contribute their respective assets as an offer for the European user industry but also for the administration itself.
But after the summit on 29 October, we will certainly be able to conduct a separate interview on this subject again and talk about the concrete possibilities of shaping the new approaches that then have officially been announced.

The detailed program and directions can be found here (in German).

eco at the Digital Summit 2019