First-Hand Information on Economic Policy at ZEW - Telekom Chief Executive Officer Timotheus Höttges: "Industry 4.0 Creates Growth Opportunities in Europe"

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Timotheus Höttges, Chief Executive Officer at Deutsche Telekom AG, speaks at ZEW.

Timotheus Höttges, Chief Executive Officer at Deutsche Telekom AG, expects "Industry 4.0" to become the major driver of economic growth in Germany and Europe. "Everything that can be digitalised will be digitalised," Höttges said with regard to the merging of traditional industrial production with information and communication technologies. Höttges delivered his lecture entitled "Die Vernetzung der Welt - Chancen und Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung" (Worldwide Networking - The Opportunities and Challenges of Digitalisation) in front of some 200 guests at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) within the series "First-Hand Information on Economic Policy". He focused on the failures associated with the implementation of Industry 4.0 as well as future prospects.


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Industry 4.0, a child of the digital revolution, possesses the capability to process massive amounts of data, thereby generating production benefits and outstanding opportunities for Germany and Europe, Höttges said. "Industry 4.0 can be applied anywhere," he added. Compared to the US, however, the value added of digitalisation has not yet been fully exploited in Europe. "A whole range of new digital opportunities is unfolding before us, but we are still at the very beginning of this development." Metaphorically speaking, Höttges said, Europe has lost the first half of the match to competitors from North America. "Today the question is: What can we do to win the second half?"

According to Höttges, establishing binding standards for Industry 4.0, in compliance with a European regulation on data protection, is key. Big Data – i.e. gigantic data volumes – is the major resource of the 21st century, "oil for the digital engine", Höttges emphasized. Being a resource that promotes continuously growing networks, time does not eat away at its value. Ensuring net security – for users, and concerning infrastructure – is thus a crucial step on our path towards increased competitiveness, Timotheus Höttges stressed.

Telekom invests billions of euros in its networks per year. "We need high-performance information highways; Big Data has to be transformed into Smart Data," the company's CEO said. The increasing digitalisation covers all areas of life and the economy such as energy, health and mobility: "Everything that can be connected will be connected."


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