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October 28, 2022updated 09 Nov 2022 12:14pm

How Germany’s new digital strategy can boost manufacturers

The strategy was approved by the German parliament last month, and is divided into three sections, covering infrastructure, the digital transformation of business, and e-government.

Germany has launched a new digital strategy which aims to put it back among the top-performing European countries when it comes to technology. The strategy introduces a host of digital measures across the economy, and could help manufacturers make their sites more energy efficient.

The strategy was approved by the German parliament last month, and is divided into three sections, covering infrastructure, the digital transformation of business, and e-government.

It sets out tech priorities for the government over the next three years, and digital minister Volker Wissing said the strategy will be crucial to growing Germany’s digital economy. “We need a comprehensive digital awakening for Germany,” Wissing said. “With the digital strategy, we want to make it into the top ten in Europe by 2025.”

Wissing was referring to the European Union’s DESI Index, which ranks Europe’s member states on digital performance and sees Germany sitting 13th. The situation is worse when it comes to e-government, the digital services provided to citizens by the state. In the most recent e-government benchmark from the EU, Germany ranks 18th, well behind digital pioneers like Malta and Estonia.

The new strategy was approved by the German parliament last month, and is divided into three sections, covering infrastructure, the digital transformation of business, and e-government. (Photo by Juan Carlos Munoz)

The strategy aims to change this, and when it comes to energy efficiency, the government has pledged to accelerate the roll-out of smart energy meters to businesses and consumers, with a target of 80% of premises covered by 2025, in line with EU goals. Germany started a smart meter roll-out in 2020, but so far progress has been slow, and the project was paused last year in part due to the high costs of installations.

These devices can help manufacturers monitor energy usage at their sites, and identify times when demand is at its highest. Indeed, the German government is keen for manufacturing businesses to become smarter when it comes to the way they use power. “Digital control of

energy demand plays a particularly important role in industry,” the strategy says. “Technology can help companies to produce as energy-intensively as possible when there is a lot of cheap energy available.”

This could involve running energy-intensive processes at times of day where demand on the grid is minimal, and prices are at their lowest. The German government says it is amending its grant funding programmes to cover some of the costs involved in making these changes, though details have yet to be announced.

Cisco Meraki can help businesses monitor energy use and other environmental factors at their sites. The MT Environmental Sensor range can deliver insights on temperature and humidity, as well as flagging up potential problems on networks and automating key tasks. Meraki’s MT Switches, meanwhile, are able to measure PoE energy consumption, providing further insights for customers.

MT Sensors is already making a tangible impact for businesses, helping them improve energy efficiency and cut costs. Research from Forrester, The Total Economic Impact Of Meraki MT Sensors, shows that so far the system is delivering customers energy savings of up to 27%. Over the last three years, users of the sensors have accrued $2.5m in benefits against $0.91m in costs, with an ROI of 175% and a net payback period of less than six months.

Find out more about how Cisco Meraki can help your business at https://meraki.cisco.com/experiences/smart-spaces/.

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