Innovative ideas and trailblazing inventions can change entire societies. Digital technology is the best example. It goes back over forty years in Germany. There was already a plan for the digital transformation of Germany's telecommunications network in 1976. The first fibreglass cables were laid in 1979. At the same time, a field test using digital local exchange facilities began in Berlin, which ultimately resulted in the introduction of ISDN telephony.
Progress was initially slow. Digital technology had to be introduced on a wide scale. Developments in recent years, however, have been extremely fast because we have been able to build on solid foundations. Fast radio networks have made it possible to use smartphones almost everywhere – prompting a corresponding increase in their use. Today, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the technology for the 5G mobile networks of the near future and for the next generation 6G networks.
Progress needs the right framework conditions if it is to assert itself to everyone's advantage. It is important that policy-makers recognize and monitor trends from an early stage. We are therefore supporting a wide range of technologies for the digital future. We are also encouraging an open debate on topics which can change everyone’s lives. By doing so we want to ensure that technical developments meet societal demands.
Today's discussions focus on the question of how we can succeed tomorrow. CeBit offers a good opportunity for such discussions. The "Research and Innovation" cluster provides inspiration and insights into helping to shape the digital future. Let us work together to develop and consider new ideas!
Prof. Dr Johanna Wanka
Federal Minister of Education and Research