On December 10th, the de:Hub’s IoT community gathered at Factory Berlin Görlitzer Park to kick off the festive holiday season during a special “Kaminabend: Things & Drinks.”

The evening offered attendees the chance to hear from panelists across the Berlin IoT community as they reflected on 2018, shared insights, and made some predictions for 2019. The event also provided a networking opportunity for a growing number of IoT enthusiasts in Berlin.

Moderated by Berlin Partner, the IoT de:Hub Kaminabend centered around a 4-person panel, featuring speakers from Siemens Mindsphere, Next Big Thing AG, innogy Innovation Hub, and Azeti. With plenty of networking and holiday cheer in the Factory Berlin Café, it was a memorable time with interesting learnings to share with you here.



Panel (from left): Claus Cremers, Falco Schuett, Kerstin Eichmann, Florian Hoenigschmid & moderator, Marisa Neubert.

IoT Community Status Update

Marisa Neubert from Berlin Partner invited panelists to discuss their company’s IoT projects, and how startup collaborations are making the Berlin ecosystem more visible and stronger. She also inquired how panelists are building up the IoT network and community.

Here’s a synopsis of what the four panelists had to say:

Claus Cremers from Siemens Mindsphere discussed infrastructure for the mobility sector, co-creating at Factory Berlin in the innovation lab, new solutions for the future, and more potential for the German industry. Claus also referenced a use case of a stable platform for machine and predictive data in a “pay-per-use” scenario.

Falco Schuett from Next Big Thing AG (NBT) discussed the theme of AI which was a big part of the recent Digital Gipfel. He mentioned Germany’s system of digital hubs to support diverse industry areas of Germany’s economy and the need to include more SMEs in digital innovation. Falco touched upon the successful exit of IoT pioneer, relayr, from NBT Founder Harald Zapp, as a bellringer for more across-the-board interest in IoT.

Kerstin Eichmann from innogy Innovation Hub discussed IoT devices as smart agents, excitement about the microeconomy– referencing the work of IOTA. Kerstin also mentioned decentralization of assets, and the notion of ‘microutility’, where every battery can contribute energy and information. In this context, she said that the trusted execution environment will be increasingly important, and that NBT’s Weeve venture is a perfect match for that.

Florian Hoenigschmid from Azeti is excited about the growing IoT ecosystem. He discussed how Berlin is paying attention through the network, connecting business use cases, and how positioning Germany as a global and European technical leader is crucial.



Networking on Both a Large- and Small-scale

Before and after the panel, there was ample opportunity to engage with guests who came from a cross-section of business, politics, the startup community, journalists and tech enthusiasts. Ideas for new collaborations and knowledge sharing hatched during this Kaminabend at Factory Berlin.

This social interactivity echoed the importance of nurturing the professional network, which was a clear theme from this panel:

Claus Cremers stated Berlin is an important location for Siemens, allowing them to think with customers about new ideas and develop their ecosystem.

Falco Schuett claims Berlin’s successful IoT network demands a high level of competence and expertise. Success can’t be achieved without that. The contributions of Fraunhofer, Berlin Partner, Bosch, and others are part of this ongoing success.

Kerstin Eichmann reports VCs need a ‘techie network’, people who are well-versed in trusted protocols and blockchain. She confirms building a family and friends network is a good idea.



Future Thinking for Germany

Each panelist contributed ideas of what the future might look like and what’s needed to arrive there, particularly regarding the merging of IoT and Fintech (like micropayments with IoT).

Claus says he thinks Berlin can become a ‘Schaufenster’ , or window showcase, for Germany, and be strengthened even more by political forces for industry. He referenced the Adidas Future Factory where individualized products can be produced in Germany, playing with textures, materials, and preferences– where IoT would help production be more efficient.

Falco discussed the importance of learning and change management. He gave a concrete example of new ways of collaborating, mentioning NBT’s new project partnership with CODE University of Applied Sciences as a sign of enlivening new approaches to developing tech solutions that will take shape in 2019.

Kerstin added that Germany should become a ‘sandbox’ where regulations get adjusted to enable investment into IoT solutions, not just ecommerce, so as to invest more in Germany, and not just look to China. She says the future is in automotive, energy, and logistics.

Florian stressed the importance of automization and bringing into full effect the “made in Germany’ trusted mark.



Thank you to all the panelists and guests. Happy new year to the Berlin IoT community. We look forward to seeing how new alliances develop in 2019!

All images © Next Big Thing AG 2018