‘Industrie 4.0’ was born in Germany, so let’s explore this term’s definition from right here in Berlin. Also called Industry 4.0, it signifies both a vision and reality which is transforming industry and manufacturing from end-to-end. It involves big data analytics, the cloud, digital twin simulations, robotics, rapid application development, virtual reality, and IoT – just to name a few sizzling hot topics.

The human-centric technologists at i-SCOOP point out, “Despite the vision aspect, ‘Industry 4.0’, is a very real phenomenon, transforming manufacturing and other sectors into connected and digital manufacturing...with additional benefits and a range of technological evolutions and possibilities to move beyond the sheer operation dimension towards the so-called fourth industrial revolution.”

Industrie 4.0 Meets Innovation

Industry 4.0 intrinsically involves innovation, as new technologies enable transformative solutions. But like all major digital transformations, this sea change requires a strategy.

Meet DTIM, a Berlin conference entitled “Innovation 4.0 in the Manufacturing Industry.”

DTIM is the largest annual meeting of the German-speaking innovation community, and the biggest German-speaking industry event on the topic of strategic innovation. It’s a 3-day forum conceptualized by and for innovation experts, where leaders and decision makers share collective experience on successful strategies and solutions.


Now in its seventh year, the 2018 DTIM conference (Disruptive Technologies Innovation & Foresight Minds) focused on how to best handle the pressure – and maximize the potential – of innovation, as well as grapple with challenges of digital technologies in the traditional manufacturing industry.

From February 18-20th 2018, Berlin’s TITANIC hotel on Chauseestraße transformed into a strategic innovation center from which to map the future of the DACH manufacturing industry. More than 200 innovation experts and R&D managers from the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) gathered for DTIM 2018.


Creative Format for Connecting

DTIM is hosted by we.CONECT Global Leaders, an organization who helps decision-makers navigate complex change to maintain mastery of their business. In keeping with we. CONECT’s commitment to digital business communities, this event included creative formats for networking, intensive idea exchange, inspirational keynotes, ‘tool cafe’ time, discussions, and workshops.



Speakers and moderators represented respective fields of expertise while artists created a graphic recording to document themes and concepts in a large-scale visual format. This illustrated for the community a big picture on relationships between diverse topics.

startup's in industrie 4.0

Progressive Visionaries

Part of DTIM’s vision is to connect decision-makers to enable smart choices and actual progress. Company representatives met with department heads from technology and innovation management and strategic corporate development. Corporations had the chance to participate as business partners, serving as thought leaders and initial movers in the community.

Partnering and Ventures

As representatives of Germany’s de:hub for IoT innovation, Next Big Thing AG, as well as one of our venture in the prop-tech sector, METR, were invited to participate in DTIM 2018. Falco Schütt, NBT’s Corporate Partnerships Manager and Dr. Franka Birke, Co-founder and CEO of METR brought unique stories to the discussion.

They spoke on a special pitch session organized by Dr. Bastian Halecker, matchmaker and entrepreneur, founder of Nestim and Startup Tour Berlin whose mission is “Let’s execute by connecting the dots.” Startup Tour Berlin gives established SMEs and large corporations the opportunity to dive into the Berlin Startup Ecosystem and Nestim makes the digital transformation work for its partners. In this collaborative spirit, they invited startups from their network to speak at DTIM, as pictured below.

Innovation in industrie 4.0


Falco presented NBT’s innovative approach to company building in the IoT and blockchain space outlining the benefits of these two megatrends converging. NBT builds new ventures together with corporates to combine corporate domain expertise and market access, technical prowess in IoT and blockchain, along with startup speed and agility–transforming ideas into independent ventures.

An example of this is NBT’s prop-tech venture, METR, who's been making headway with degewo, Berlin’s largest housing industry. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Franka Birke spoke on their newest achievement, M-Gates for secured submetering (the remote read-out of heating and water consumption), which METR developed after a recent successful pilot project.

Franka spoke about METR’s vision and the growing app store for the housing industry, a platform with affordable and easy-to-use Smart Home Apps for the tenants. According to Franka, “While the tenants themselves have been living digitally for a long time, digitalisation has not yet arrived in the housing industry.”

Overcoming Industry Challenges

So what kind of challenges does the manufacturing industry face? Volatile markets, new technologies, sudden emergence of new competition, and digital transformation form hurdles and opportunities for traditional manufacturing.

How are companies responding? DTIM was a chance to answer that. Dr. Pero Mićić, Founder of FutureManagementGroup AG, delivered the closing note address called Leader's Foresight: Challenges and Objectives to Leading the Future. He gave an insightful overview of innovation and how companies who are considered successful in their realm must extrapolate into the future - or even better: clarify the promise they hold for the future.

Making Things Smarter

Although Industrie 4.0 may have stemmed from manufacturing, resultant innovation now stands to make everything smarter – buildings, energy, health, and logistics.

Did you attend DTIM? Let us know your impressions. You can download DTIM event recaps, guides, survey reports, as well as white papers in the Smart Manufacturing Hub.

Images courtesy of DTIM and Startup Tour Berlin, 2018.

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