Angela Merkel calls for swifter digitalisation

CeBIT 2016 Angela Merkel calls for swifter digitalisation

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a swifter digitalisation of the economy. "Time is of the essence," she said during her traditional tour of CeBIT in Hannover. She was, nevertheless, impressed by the way Industry 4.0, the digitalisation of traditional industry, is being embraced in all sectors of the economy and in the lives of individuals.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann at the ETH Zürich stand during their tour of CeBIT

The Chancellor picked up a pen and tested a new colouring app

Photo: Bundesregierung/Güngör

The Chancellor had one main message when she visited CeBIT, the world’s largest showcase for the ICT sector, in Hannover. "I can only hope that German businesses, of whatever size, rapidly make use of the opportunities offered by the internet, also in customer relations, to ensure that they remain state of the art and do not fall behind." In this way Germany can underpin value creation for the coming years and decades, she explained.

Her tour of the exhibition clearly demonstrated how Industry 4.0, the digitalisation of traditional industry, is progressing in all sectors of the economy and in the lives of individuals, said Angela Merkel. She also noted that, "There is an enormous potential for efficiency gains."

Switzerland is CeBIT’s partner country

The Chancellor was particularly impressed by her visit to the stands of this year’s partner country, Switzerland. The Alpine state is represented at this year’s CeBIT by more than 70 established companies and start-ups, universities and colleges.

She found it particularly interesting that such an important part is played by the country’s universities, especially the ETH Zürich, a leading university for technology and natural sciences. This is also true with respect to spin-off companies and the chance of moving straight from research into start-ups. "I think this is an area in which we could do more in Germany too," said Angela Merkel.

"D!conomy: join - create - succeed"

The motto of this year’s CeBIT "D!conomy: join - create - succeed" is intended to reflect the radical digitalisation of the entire economy. In the wake of the wave of digitalisation in major corporations, small and medium sized companies are now also to break new ground in order to remain competitive.

"Obviously the individual must still be the absolute focus," declared Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann, the highest representative of the partner country. Technology is only a means to an end. "It is all about 'human beings', whose safety we aim to enhance."

CeBIT is the world’s largest showcase for information and communication technology. It has been held in spring every year since 1986 at Hannover’s fair and exhibition grounds. Last year some 221,000 visitors came to obtain first hand information at a total of 3,300 stands.