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Digital Economy News | January 2023

Germany's digital economy continues to go from strength to strength, providing attractive market opportunites to innovative start-ups and international concerns alike.

Consortium to create German quantum cloud set up

According to Handelsblatt, a consortium – including the University of Stuttgart, Fraunhofer Institute Fokus and Munich start-up Qmware – has been commissioned to establish the first German quantum cloud for industry. Qmware will supply the hardware and software necessary for the project that will be led by cloud specialist Ionos, a United Internet subsidiary company. The federal government is reported to be funding the three-year project with a low to mid-double-digit million euro sum.

IT security market enjoying strong growth

More money is being spent on IT security in Germany than ever before. According to bitkom, IT security spending in 2022 is expected to rise to EUR 7.8 billion – an increase of 13 percent more than was spent in 2021. The industry association forecasts that spending in the coming years may well rise to around 10 percent, allowing the EUR 9 billion mark to be cracked in 2024, with double digit billion turnover a real possibility in the following year.

French fintech to enter German market

French fintech Silvr announced plans in December to enter the German market. The company uses AI-supported analyses to forecast the future business development of companies who can then receive financing approvals within 24 hours. Silvr’s “as-a-service” financing model allows enterprises to retain 100 percent of their capital and obtain a repayment based on turnover to meet their flexibility requirements. The company plans to partner with DFKP, a Berlin-based corporate financing intermediary.

Black Friday and Cyber Week arrive in Germany

Two thirds of Germans were expected to hunt for bargains online in last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Week retail events according to digital agency bitkom. An increasing number of German consumers are turning to the traditional USA shopping formats – despite or because of inflation concerns. The November survey of 1,100 internet users concludes that around 46 percent of domestic consumers shop for bargains exclusively online, with 13 percent comparing both online and in-store prices. Just one quarter of respondents stated no interest in the two shopping events, indicating the degree to which the promotion days have taken off in Germany. German consumers intended to spend an average of EUR 289 on Black Friday deals compared to EUR 271 in 2021. High online shopping rates (nine out of ten respondents had made online purchases within the last 12 months) are considered to be a hangover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Thuringia start-up develops “no code” AI enterprise solution

A Thuringian start-up operating out of Ilmenau has developed software that allows enterprises to optimize their business processes using a drag-and-drop interface that requires no previous AI knowledge.  AI-UI’s eponymously named software (artificial intelligence-user interface) eliminates complex programming and lengthy systems training times that normally prove an AI deterrent to small and medium-sized enterprises (according to a bitkom 2022 survey, 65 percent of companies recognize the opportunities AI can provide for their business, but only nine percent actually use AI solutions). AI-UI deploys a purely graphical user interface that allows recurring processes to be packaged into reusable units for easy drag and drop software use.

AI better than humans at making logistics decisions

A recent study conducted by researchers at Kühne Logistics University KLU has found that human intervention in AI-based planning processes tends to influence the results for the worse. Supply chain planners who intervene to alter forecasts in intelligent and self-learning software in fact worsen the accuracy of forecasts according the study based on 30 million forecasts from an AI provider and a major European grocery retailer. According to the study, only 50 percent of human interventions led to better results.

Metergrid's solar energy billing solution for private landlords

Stuttgart start-up Metergrid has developed a software-as-a-solution product that allows private landlords to distribute and bill solar power in multiple tenant properties. To date, solar power system usage has typically been limited to single-family households due to the billing complications inherent to multiple person occupied properties. In such cases, landlords become de facto electricity providers who require measuring technology to determine individual usage levels. Landlords who install a solar system benefit from Metergrid’s complete value chain service that includes local authority and installation coordination, metering and hardware, and billing software. 

Berlin piano app a global success

A Berlin start-up has become a global leader in online piano tuition with over 10 million downloads from more than 100 countries. Founded in 2014 (with the eponymously titled app available since 2015), Berlin start-up Flowkey has gone from strength to strength purely on word of mouth (based on a 2015 appearance on the popular “Lion’s Den” television show) and without any venture capital funding. The Flowkey app lets users learn how to play their favorite songs and learn music theory. The start-up, founded by three Berlin students, received initial funding from the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Technical University of Berlin and further support from four business angels. A deal with Yamaha’s music division also sees consumers receive a free three-month Flowkey subscription when buying a new instrument.

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