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January 26, 2018

Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer to act as patron of the Smart Country Convention

▪ New platform focuses on digitalisation of administrations and public services
▪ Debut from 20 to 22 November at the CityCube Berlin

Berlin, 25 April 2018 – The Smart Country Convention has gained another strong partner: Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community Horst Seehofer, who will be acting as patron of the new event. The focus at the exhibition and congress will be on the digitalisation of administrations and public services. The Smart Country Convention will take place for the first time from 20 to 22 November 2018 in Berlin. This was announced by the digital association Bitkom and Messe Berlin GmbH, the joint organisers of the event. ”The digital transformation of administrations, cities and communities is extremely important for Germany’s future. The support offered by the Federal Minister of the Interior underlines the role of the Smart Country Convention as a focal point for discussing innovative digital solutions for local authorities, offices and public enterprises“, said Achim Berg, president of Bitkom.

Federal Minister Horst Seehofer explained: ”Modern and efficient local authorities and public institutions are important for ensuring social equality throughout Germany. Digitalisation opens up completely new opportunities for administrations to represent citizens and enterprises in the best possible way in the future as well. The Smart Country Convention provides a platform for discussing how the digital future can be shaped. That is why I am delighted to be acting as patron of this event.”

Leading enterprises representing the digital economy, including Deutsche Telekom and SAP, Europe’s biggest software company, had previously pledged their support for the Smart Country Convention. The partners representing the public sector are the three leading organisations representing local government – the Association of German Cities, the German County Association, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities – as well as the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) and the National eGovernment Competence Centre (NEGZ). The media partner of the event is ‘Behörden Spiegel’, the leading source of information for administrations.

During the three-day event the CityCube Berlin will be showing digital solutions for the public sector. The Smart Country Convention targets tech companies, representatives of administrations and local authorities at federal, state and communal level, municipal companies and other public enterprises, as well as bodies supporting educational establishments and healthcare institutions.

Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin: ”In Germany alone, the digitalisation of the public sector represents a market that is worth over 50 billion euros. For the first time we will be setting up an independent platform which caters to the specific needs of this market’s players.”

The new event comprises four different formats:

Congress: combining keynotes, discussions and a public sector forum, the three-day congress is made up of traditional, innovative and interactive elements, for which three large stages will be provided.

Expo: the exhibition of digital solutions will present a wide-ranging display of digital solutions from leading companies representing the digital economy and serving public administrations and their branches, private and public local utilities, as well as bodies supporting educational establishments and healthcare institutions.

Workshops: throughout the event six workshop areas will provide high-quality training on the subject of digitalisation. The workshops will target employees in the public sector and its contractors. The advanced training programme will be supplemented by interactive formats which will include the Open Data Startup Hackathon.

Networking events: at the networking areas at the CityCube, organised meet-ups, side events, at the Pioneer’s Dinner or over a beer during the evening Blue Hour, this is where one can meet new people and exchange views with like-minded participants.

After 2018 the Smart Country Convention will continue to be held at the end of the year at the CityCube Berlin. Information is available online at

The Smart Country Convention is a new event which focuses on the digitalisation of the public sector and is co-organised by the digital association Bitkom and Messe Berlin. The three-day event will take place annually in November on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and gather all the relevant players representing administrations, politics, the digital economy, associations and science. Combining a congress, workshops, expo and networking events, the Smart Country Convention will examine the digital transformation of cities, communities and the public sector. The focus will be on digital administrations as well as the digitalisation of public services in the fields of energy, transport, safety, waste disposal, water distribution, education, healthcare and housing.

Bitkom represents over 2,500 companies in the digital economy, over 1,700 of whom are direct members. With their IT and telecoms business alone, annual turnover is 190 billion euros, including exports worth 50 billion euros. Bitkom members in Germany employ a combined workforce of over 2 million. Among Bitkom’s members are 1,000 SMEs, over 400 startups and practically every global player. They market software, IT services, telecoms and internet services, manufacture appliances and components, represent the digital media or other parts of the digital economy. 80 per cent of these companies are based in Germany, 8 per cent each are in Europe and the US, and 4 per cent in other regions. Bitkom supports and is a driving force behind the digital transformation of the German economy and campaigns for a broad societal involvement in digital processes. The aim is to make Germany one of the world´s prime locations for digital business.

About Messe Berlin

Based on turnover and growth, Messe Berlin is among the world's ten leading trade fair companies. Each year it develops, markets and hosts hundreds of live events in Berlin and around the world. Its wide-ranging portfolio includes IFA, InnoTrans, ITB, FRUIT LOGISTICA and the International Green Week, all leading global trade fairs, as well as major conferences and outstanding events such as the street celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate. Messe Berlin has around 90 foreign representatives who market events in over 170 countries. Each year some 30,000 members of the media from all parts of the world obtain accreditation for events on the exhibition grounds in Berlin where the company has its headquarters. Thus, Messe Berlin acts as a driving force of the metropolis that is Berlin. Its aim is to be an outstanding host for visitors to every event at Messe Berlin, to give individuals an optimum boost for their business and to ensure fair conditions for everyone. This approach is reflected in the company slogan: ‘Messe Berlin – Hosting the World’.

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