• Published on 30 May 2017
  • Events

A digital landscape of opportunities

A digital landscape of opportunities

Digital Innovation Forum 2017
10 & 11 May, RAI, Amsterdam

“Digitisation is transforming every industry, and digital solutions will enable industrialisation and personalisation of care.” Keynote speaker Henk van Houten, Chief Technology Officer of Royal Philips, summed up the importance of the digital innovation that lay at the heart of the Digital Innovation Forum (DIF), jointly organised by ARTEMIS Industry Association and the EUREKA Cluster ITEA. This two-day event displayed, debated and demonstrated the opportunities created by the digital transformation to add value for both industry and society. With a focus on smart healthcare, smart energy, smart manufacturing and smart mobility.

The core message of the co-organisers, in the guise of Zeynep Sarilar (ITEA Chairwoman) and Laila Gide (President of ARTEMIS Industry Association), was that “digitalisation is not an option anymore” and that this forum presented an opportunity to experience and share digital innovations, “to explore the future through what we do today.”

Need for transformation

The need to tackle the challenges of tomorrow by the initiatives taken today was underlined by Jasper Wesseling, Director for Innovation and Knowledge at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and keynote speaker. “To stay competitive in the future, we need to transform our business activities, processes and competencies. SMEs, large companies, universities and research organisations, they all have their role to play in creating European-wide ecosystems for pre-competitive cooperation in the field of R&D. The role of large companies in these eco-systems should not be underestimated: not only do they offer a platform for SMEs to act on a European level but they also contribute roughly 50% to the partnership. And investment in R&D is necessary for future economic growth, technology development and tackling societal challenges.” Henk van Houten cited the role of projects like MEDIATE* (ITEA) and CRYSTAL* (ARTEMIS) in a new generation image guided therapy platform being launched by Philips to introduce real-time multi-workspot technology. The keynote speech of Max Lemke, head of the European Commission’s focused on Digitising European Industry Strategy. Lemke commented that the DIF 2017 exhibition illustrates “how strong we are in digitising Europe” in a reference to the business impact of the projects on show and the presence of other Public Private Partnerships and associations, which is a demonstration of the complementarity of these initiatives.

Standing room only

Four thematic workshops explored the ‘smart’ areas of energy, health, manufacturing and mobility. In these sold-out affairs panels of experts provided not only insight into the latest developments and food for thought but provided a real opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions. Topics ranged from standardisation and security to collaboration and business models. For example, will the new energy value chain be transaction-centric, enabled by a multi-faceted market and characterised by localised, connected, transactive markets? A comprehensive set of summaries is available at https://dif2017.org/presentations.html.


The ARTEMIS panel session on the Digital Transformation explored the role of large ecosystem projects in accelerating the digital transformation, with CRYSTAL* cited as an impressive example of how the rich community of academia, research institutions, large companies and SMEs had collaborated to achieve solutions that otherwise would not have developed or would have taken much longer to arrive at. With societal challenges increasingly taking centre stage in current and future funded projects, Michael Ditze of TWT pointed out that “in the future we will be selling a much more different product. For example, it won’t be a car we own but a car as a service.” The general consensus among the panellists was that large-scale funded projects are key to achieving the innovation, standardisation and solutions that are so essential to driving the digital transformation forward.

During the ITEA community session the vital role played by open innovation was highlighted in project results and the wider impact stream on both subsequent projects and on industry and society. Like the ITEA AVANTI* project that is shaping the next generation of Virtual Commissioning tools and boosting industrial production efficiency by up to 30%. Indeed, companies in different domains, such as Daimler, Moventas and Arcelik, are already incorporating the results in their virtual testing and commissioning process chains. The ITEA Awards of Excellence 2017 went to four outstanding projects: AVANTI* in the smart manufacturing domain, SoRTS* and MoSCHA* in smart healthcare and SEAS* in smart energy while the recently completed BaaS* (Building as a Service) project received the ITEA Exhibition Award voted for by the DIF participants.

Innovation market and SMEs

Apart from the many impactful projects of around 60 booths in the exhibition, the innovation market of SMEs presented nuggets of innovation and originality. Innovative SMEs pitched to high-ranking juries composed of industry top executives and Venture Capitalists and revealed how they are developing ingenious solutions to specific challenges in the various smart domains, from health apps for the elderly to trusted next generation fleet management solutions. In the end, 8 iconic SMEs were chosen by the juries to present their innovations to the DIF audience in the plenary closing (see below for the jury quotes for these 8 iconic SMEs). It is clear that the digital transformation is not only permeating every layer of the market but is acting as a catalyst for new businesses and innovative thinking. SMEs are not waiting for change; they are shaping change. And they are both keen to collaborate with large companies and venture capitalists, and get their solutions out into a bigger, wider world.  

In closing, both Laila Gide and Zeynep Sarilar reiterated the vital role of open collaboration across the industry spectrum and the need to develop ecosystems in the digital transformation process. The Digital Innovation Forum in Amsterdam demonstrated that it is doing its part to bring knowledge and innovation together and enable European industry to stay at the forefront of and lay the foundation for further collaboration and innovation in a successful and accelerated digital transformation.

Iconic SMEs – what the juries said
For more information on these SMEs, please see: https://dif2017.org/iconic-smes.html 

 Smart Energy 

 Smart Manufacturing

Evolution Energie
“We love the concept of blockchain as the underlying technology to support distributed energy markets. Very nice presentation and clear idea on how this will add value to the future energy sector.” 

“Works like a market place for manufacturing services. They are to be the booking.com of manufacturing services.” 

Synelixis Solutions Ltd. – COSSIM
“Synelix provides a game-changing solution for the simulation of complex and secure distributed systems.”

Jotne EPM Technology
“A proven business model on integrated applications for engineering data that fits well into Industrie4.0” 

 Smart Health 

 Smart Mobility 

“Convincing technology to put patient modelling in practice, will create revenue streams in different applications and increase patient outcome.” 

Kalray S.A.
“Kalray developed a strong but flexible hardware technology to bring the connected car dream to reality.”

“Social collaboration and connecting the care community is key for the quality of life, but a challenging mission to realise. The proof is in the elderly eating the pudding.” 

“The Livedrive approach to have the driver at the centre of their platform usage is very unique and clear.” 

About the Digital Innovation Forum (DIF) 2017

The Digital Innovation Forum (DIF) 2017 was held at the RAI Amsterdam on 10-11 May, co-organised by ARTEMIS Industry Association and the EUREKA Cluster ITEA. The DIF focused on global Digital Innovation topics and the respective emerging challenges towards a vision of the future for and built by industry. This first edition of the Digital Innovation Forum was dedicated to the ‘Digital Transformation’.

The digital transformation is an imperative global topic that is accelerating the revolution of business activities, processes, competencies and models in a profound way, and will enable digital technologies to be fully leveraged. Often regarded as a threat to European industries, especially the more traditional ones, the digital transformation should be seen, and used, as an opportunity to create value for business and society. This is what the DIF2017 was all about.

This two-day event provided an opportunity to enjoy a plenary programme with inspiring speakers on Digital Transformation, interactive workshops on Smart Energy, Smart Health, Smart Manufacturing and Smart Mobility, a full-scale R&I exhibition, and SME / Start-up innovation sessions and innovation market judged by high-ranking juries composed of top industry executives and Venture Capitalists.