Medical technology company Ottobock turns 100

Merkel: "The world does not sleep"

From a start-up to a global market leader - speaking at celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the medical technology company Ottobock, Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the efficiency and reliability of the family-owned company’s innovative products. She used the opportunity to make a general appeal to companies in Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the medical technology company Ottobock.

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the medical technology company Ottobock: technology that serves people

Photo: Bundesregierng/Knoth

"We are all part of society," stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel at the start of her speech in Duderstadt (Lower Saxony) to mark the 100th birthday of Ottobock, a world market leader in the field of prostheses. Disabilities, she said, must not be allowed to prevent people from playing an active part in society.

Greater mobility in everyday life

Angela Merkel praised the responsibility that the company Ottobock has demonstrated throughout its 100-year history. In 1919 the company focused on fitting out the tens of thousands of war-disabled individuals with simple prostheses. Today, Ottobock uses artificial intelligence to give people back mobility in everyday life. The company, said the Chancellor, has always subscribed to the maxim that "technology is there to serve people".

Since February 1919, Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA has stood out from its competitors by virtue of its high quality products and services in the field of medical technology, and its technological excellence. Ottobock is a global market leader in the production of high-tech prostheses. The family-owned company has a workforce of 7,000 at locations in over 55 countries.

We cannot afford to miss the digital boat

Ottobock is an excellent example of a family-owned medium-sized company in Germany, that is embracing the digital revolution. But no company can afford to rest on its laurels, said the Chancellor, "The world really does not sleep." "What counts is speed plus quality."

99 per cent coverage by 2020

Politicians must, however, also do their bit, to ensure that Germany does not get left behind in the digital era. By 2020, in agreement with the operators, a rate of 4G coverage of 99 per cent is to be achieved. Talks on 100 per cent 4G coverage are already ongoing with the commission on "comparable living conditions" reported the Chancellor. 5G coverage is to be rolled out parallel to this.

We must not lose sight of the customer

Politics and business should work together to retain the entire value chain in Germany, said Angela Merkel. This includes shifting the focus of digitalisation more strongly to customer contacts. In manufacturing, Germany is a world leader, but the major challenge is to use digital technology throughout, from recording the customer’s wishes, she concluded.

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