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2nd German-Italian Innovation Conference | November 20 – 21 | Berlin

Digital is changing the form and the nature of public services: smart technologies are changing the nature and economics of infrastructure, by reducing the cost of gathering information about usage patterns: with an unprecedented volume of data in hand, city governments, businesses, and residents can find new ways to optimize existing systems: according to a report by McKinsey&Co., capturing the full potential of government digitization, using current technology, could free up to $1 trillion annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance. Shared services, greater integration and productivity enhancements enable system-wide efficiencies. At a time of increasing budgetary pressures, governments at national, regional, and local levels cannot afford to miss out on those savings.

Digitisation is transforming public utilities worldwide, as the digital and social revolution of utility markets will be opening the doors to new business models and market participants. To thrive amid these challenges, the utility of the future will be a fully digital system. This means that today’s utilities will have to face structural changes in their market structure and policy framework: renewables, distributed generation and smart grids will force energy companies to face an increasing decentralization of the electricity system; the advent of electric and autonomous vehicles will induce disruptive transformations in urban infrastructure, overcoming the traditional dichotomy between public and private transport; municipalities and national governments are launching smart-city initiatives, aimed at promoting technical innovation and systematic applications of the Internet of Things in urban landscapes; utilities are partnering with cities and builders to implement sensing technology and data analytics in “self-learning” buildings, as part of integrated municipal energy and environmental planning; and the digital era opens opportunities to deliver healthcare services to patients at the comfort of their homes, without the presence of healthcare provider in the loop.

Italy and Germany are actively engaged in the digital policy debate at different levels: The European Union’s eGovernment Action Plan 2016–2020 sets an ambitious target for all Member States: by 2020, public administrations in the European Union should be providing borderless, personalized, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and business. In Italy, the three-year Plan for ICT in Public Administration 2017-2019 is being shaped by the “digital by definition” principle, which specifies that the PA provide digital services as the preferred option, as well as by the “cross border by default” principle, to make relevant digital public services available across borders and prevent further fragmentation to arise, thereby facilitating mobility within the Single Market. In Germany, the Digital Strategy 2025 programme has set priorities and tools to make a digitised Germany possible, i.a. by creating a gigabit optical fibre network by 2025.

The digital transformation is changing industry boundaries and dynamics. It is also a valuable opportunity to attract more investors to Italy. The “Digital Tax Index 2017” of the University of Mannheim qualified Italy as the most fiscally attractive European country after Ireland. Moreover, Italian legislation is recognized as one of the most internationally advanced for innovative business support strategies. Italy has continued to improve the regulatory context for startups, by introducing i.a. a new form of online incorporation procedure, a dedicated start-up visa, incentives to investment in risk capital, a strong “patent box” regime and a free, simplified and fast-track access to the Guarantee Fund for SMEs to improve access to funding during the startup phase.

The conference aims at:

  • Presenting the Italian policy framework to attract foreign investors, both at national and at regional level, as well as the Italian Digital Policy;
  • Introducing the Foreign Investment Unit of the Italian Trade Agency – ITA as “one-stop shop” for the foreign investors, helping them to establish and expand their operations, supporting them throughout the whole investment life cycle and offering high-level tutoring services;
  • Discussing showcases for investment opportunities and for technology partnerships in four core areas: smart digital content; healthcare; smart mobility and connectivity; education.

The conference schedule (one-and a half-day event) is organized in three parts:

  • a high-level roundtable focused on the Italian policy framework to support innovation and digitisation, with key representatives from national and regional governments, as well as from Italian and German businesses (Tuesday, November 20th, Italian Embassy in Berlin, 15:15-17:45);
  • a presentation by the ITA Foreign Investment Unit on the Italian policy framework to attract skills-intensive Foreign Direct Investment and on selected showcases for investment opportunities (Wednesday, November 21st, CityCube – Messe Berlin, 10:45 – 11:45);
  • four pitching sessions among selected Italian and German companies across sectors most affected by digital transformation processes: smart digital content; healthcare; smart mobility and connectivity; education (Wednesday, November 21st, CityCube – Messe Berlin, 11:45 –  17:00).

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