In 2016, The Spark awarded the best German startups in the field of Industry 4.0. First place went to Berlin-based company relayr GmbH for their device- and protocol-independent IoT platform. Their development also incorporates an add-on kit to collect sensor data and supports predictive maintenance. The platform also enables user companies to develop their own service models.
For the 2017 competition, the focus is on artificial intelligence. "Intelligent robots and self-learning algorithms are going to revolutionize the economy over the coming years – we want to honor those companies driving this revolution," says Cornelius Baur, Head of McKinsey in Germany. All submissions will be judged against three criteria: economic relevance, novelty, and marketability. Only companies with a maximum of 1,000 employees can take part. The three winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in Berlin in October. The organizers of the event will then partner up the winners with appropriate investors. The closing date for applications is July 15, 2017. The award is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).