Germany

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In 2014 Germany adopted the Digital Agenda for 2014-2017, and in 2016 the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy presented the Digital Strategy 2025 [86]. The German government has already implemented a number of important projects and measures in the context of the Digital Agenda, and has expanded the scope of future areas of involvement [107]. The federal programme for promoting broadband deployment has been set up, over one hundred specific practical examples of Industry 4.0 were introduced at the 2015 National IT Summit, the inter-ministerial programme Smart Networks Strategy was initiated, and the funding programme Digital Technologies for Business was started. In addition, SMEs are assisted in the digitisation process by setting up "Mittelstand 4.0" Centres of Excellence.

The strategy defines ten steps towards the future [107]:

  • Creating a gigabit optical fibre network for Germany by 2025.
  • Launching the "new start-up era": Assisting start-ups and encouraging cooperation between young companies and established companies.
  • Creating a regulatory framework for more investment and innovation.
  • Encouraging "smart networks" in key commercial infrastructure areas of our economy.
  • Strengthening data security and developing informational autonomy.
  • Enabling new business models for SMEs, the skilled craft sector and services.
  • Utilising Industry 4.0 to modernise Germany as a production location.
  • Creating excellence in digital technology research, development and innovation.
  • Introducing digital education to all phases of life.
  • Creating a digital agency as a modern centre of excellence.

To turn the Digital Strategy 2025 into reality, an Action Programme on Digitalisation is developed, and defines twelve points on the digital future [108]:

  • Promoting digital hubs in Germany.
  • Accelerating digitalisation in SMEs.
  • Expansion of Gigabit networks.
  • Making private investments in digital technology easier.
  • Securing digital value creation networks.
  • Mobilising more venture capital.
  • Driving forward digital communication and eGovernment, reducing bureaucracy.
  • Digitising the energy transition.
  • Digitising the healthcare industry.
  • Strengthening FinTech in Germany
  • Moving forward on digital mobility
  • Enabling more sharing through a social sharing economy.