Since 2016, each Digital Summit has focused on a different key topic. After digital education in 2016, digitisation in the healthcare sector in 2017 and artificial intelligence in 2018, this year’s focus is on digital platforms.
Digital platforms are an important element of our economy, media, government and society. They provide a channel to goods, services, content, information and data. As intermediaries, they bring supply and demand together more effectively than traditional business models, and can thus transform existing markets or create entirely new ones.
Platforms can be search engines, comparison and review portals, market places/trading platforms, media and content services, online gaming, social networks and communication services. They are online forums for digital interaction and transactions, bringing people and/or companies together. The platforms’ marginal costs are generally low, and they also benefit from network effects. This means that some of the markets are becoming characterised by “winner-takes-all” mechanisms.
It seems likely that platforms will become even more significant in future. In the past, platforms have tended to dominate the debate and commercial activity in the business-to-consumer sector. It is to be expected that, as Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things grow in significance, B2B platforms will increasingly come to the fore. This raises further questions: What technologies are strategic “assets” for a digital industry? How will different sectoral standards have to work together in order to ensure an interoperable ecosystem with different digital platforms? What efforts are being made to ensure interoperability within individual domains, and also between domains?
The Digital Summit wants to help raise awareness in the business community and society of the opportunities and challenges of the digital platforms, to host events, exhibitions and showcases which promote the establishment and use of digital platforms and – if necessary – to provide a stimulus for additions to the policy environment. If Germany’s and Europe’s economies are to enjoy lasting success, it is vital to participate appropriately in the value added by the platform economy and to become a provider and shaper of the data economy. We therefore aim to put the conditions in place for Germany and Europe to generate and grow innovative and competitive digital platforms which enjoy global success.
The Summit’s platforms have taken on this task and will present the results of their work at the summit at the end of October.