Minister of the Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius to open the event
The Smart Country Convention will take place from 22 to 24 October at the CityCube Berlin
Lithuania is a country where people conduct more than 90 per cent of business with local authorities online and can set up a new company in three days. As a pioneer of the digital transformation Lithuania is this year’s official partner country of the Smart Country Convention, and from 22 to 24 October 209 will showcase innovative digital applications for administrations, public enterprises and authorities at urban, municipal and district level. The digital association Bitkom and Messe Berlin today announced that Lithuania’s Minister of the Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius and Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer will jointly open the Smart Country Convention. “It is worth taking a look at Lithuania, where services for citizens have long been moved online, where they are taken for granted. In Lithuania, unlike in Germany, conducting business with local authorities online is the norm, whereas doing so offline is the exception. Lithuania also leads the way where cybersecurity is concerned“, said Achim Berg, president of Bitkom. ”In Germany we have grand visions of the smart city – in Lithuania many of these have already become reality.” Companies from Lithuania and Germany are now already collaborating. In June the Lithuanian startup Trafi and Berlin Verkehrsbetriebe launched an app called Jelbi, a platform that offers a range of transport choices.
According to Darius Jonas Semaška, Lithuania’s ambassador to Germany, ”Today's society must evolve and not be afraid to change along with technological evolution. Today we can talk about the level of digital transformation in Lithuania not only in terms of e-Governance, which simply means that governments are creating a digital version of analogue paper documents. Lithuanian institutions transform in terms of Digital Governance, which refers to enabling, improving, transforming services, operations and functions. Because we aim to create public services that are not only electronic but digital by design. We want to share our experience about public sector, cybersecurity and smart cities with Germany, our main economic partner. For this reason, Lithuania has become a partner of the Smart Country Convention.“
Leading companies such as Deutsche Telekom, SAP and Bechtle will be taking part in the Smart Country Convention. The partners representing the public sector are the three leading organisations representing local government – the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, the Association of German Cities and the German County Association – as well as the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) and the National eGovernment Competence Centre (NEGZ). Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin: ”We are delighted to be welcoming Lithuania as this year’s partner country. Whether the topic is connecting rural areas or solutions for smart cities – the Smart Country Convention provides an ideal platform for an international exchange of views on the digitisation of local government and public services.”
The Smart Country Convention is co-organised by the digital association Bitkom and Messe Berlin. The three-day event gathers all the relevant players representing local government, politics, the digital economy, associations and science. Combining a congress, workshops, an exhibition and networking events, the Smart Country Convention examines the digital transformation of cities, municipalities and the public sector. The focus is on eGovernment as well as the digitisation of public services where energy, transport, safety, waste disposal, the water system, education, healthcare and housing are concerned. Information can be found online at www.smartcountry.berlin.