Information and Communications Technology
2. Aims and Tasks of Cluster Management
The aim of the Cluster ICT.NRW is the further development of North Rhine-Westphalia's existing strengths and networks in the ICT sector and the identification and exploitation of the potentials offered for our state by current trends of ICT development.
The Cluster Management provides an organisational anchor for all the key players and groups in the cluster, is the overarching coordination point and is responsible for the strategic and programming orientation of the cluster and for its further development.
In addition to its tasks of coordination, integration and support, the Cluster Management also has a special strategic responsibility. Through the further development of existing strengths and the identification and adoption of new trends and developments, strengths and core competences are to be developed to market success. The Cluster Management team runs the central communications platform of the ICT cluster and the online community www.ikt-nrw.de and is a contact point for all questions relating to the cluster.
1. The Sector in NRW
The Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) form a cornerstone and are the most important drivers for productivity and growth in North Rhine-Westphalia's economy. The ICT industry in NRW is thus an important engine for employment and is one of the main contributors to the macroeconomy. The macroeconomic importance of ICT extends well beyond the sector. ICT prompts innovations, generating growth and finally creating future-proof jobs in almost every sector. Because of this, these technologies are of extreme economic importance for North Rhine-Westphalia as a centre of industry and are of fundamental strategic significance.
An overview of NRW as an ICT centre:
- Over 140,000 employees work in 15,500 firms in the ICT sector in NRW, with a turnover of over 59 billion euros.
- NRW is the home of Germany's largest telecommunications providers (Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile, Vodafone D2 and E-Plus)
- 11 of the 50 largest IT enterprises in Germany are based in NRW
- NRW is the location for the German headquarters of numerous renowned international IT companies
- In the ICT sector in NRW, there are already several active regional and thematic networks, for example the very regionally focussed IT Security network in the Bochum / Gelsenkirchen region or the thematic Geoinformation Network with several regional centres in Bonn, Münster and the Ruhr region.
- NRW has the most concentrated university and research environment in the ICT sector in Germany. In 2007 there were 25,500 students in ICT-related faculties in NRW. Major university centres for the study of Informatics are Aachen, Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg-Essen, Paderborn and the extra-mural University of Hagen.
- Because of the cross-sectional character of the ICT technologies, the ICT sector is closely networked with a large number of user sectors.
- NRW is one of the largest regional telecommunications markets in Western Europe, with a population of over 18 million and more than 723,000 firms.
3. Main Areas of Work and Projects of the Cluster
Seven main topics have been identified for the ICT.NRW cluster, for which contact and cooperation networks between all the actors of the sector concerned are to be established in so-called Topic Networks. All Topic Networks are coordinated by proven experts in consultation with the Cluster Management:
Broadband – Eliminate white patches in NRW, develop and use innovative applications. Cluster expert: Prof. Dr. Stephan Breide, FH Südwestfalen (South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences)
Geoinformation – Bundle and coordinate geo-activities and main themes in NRW. Cluster expert: Heinz Brüggemann, GEObasis.nrw
IT Security – Take up innovative themes and secure future markets for IT security. Cluster expert: Dr. Christopher Wolf, Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security
Mobile Communications – Styrengthen cooperation and networking for innovative mobile services and solutions. Cluster expert: Prof. Dr. Ingo Wolff, IMST GmbH
RFID and Sensor Networks – Further development of existing strengths, establishment of network structures. Cluster expert: Prof. Dr. Michael ten Hompel, Fraunhofer IML
Smart Cities – Use of current ICT trends for cities and municipalities. Cluster expert: Franz-Reinhard Habbel, German Association of Towns and Municipalities
SOA / SaaS – Information and publicity for the dissemination of SOA and SaaS models. Cluster expert: Prof. Dr. Jakob Rehof, Fraunhofer ISST
4. Highlights from the Cluster
The ICT.NRW Cluster Management started work on 1st July 2008 and, after its first six months, was already able to present an extremely positive interim report.
- The ICT.NRW cluster already has 128 members.
- The work of the Cluster Management is currently actively supported by 42 firms and institutions on the basis of written commitments. These include numerous leading German and international ICT enterprises based in NRW.
- Ten events and meetings of the cluster have been attended and participated in by more than 400 persons.
- The Web 2.0 Online Community www.ikt-nrw.de permits continuous active communication and collaboration outside meetings and events.
- Within the framework of the competition "IKT.NRW", 17 innovative projects with a total of 58 entrants have been selected and recommended for support. Regardless whether they win a support award, all competition entrants and projects are integrated in the activities of the ICT.NRW cluster.
- The opening of the European research centre of the Canadian Blackberry manufacturer RIM in Bochum in September 2008 underlines the high quality of ICT know-how in NRW.
5. Regional Clusters and Networks in NRW
The setting of priorities and formation of networks in the field of Information and Communications Technologies is already well advanced in some topic areas in NRW.
RFID / Sensor Networks: Development of a thematic network in the context of the activities of the Metro Group and the Deutsche Post AG, which concentrate on NRW with different projects. A large number of medium-sized and small enterprises from NRW are engaged in these projects. Practically oriented scientific expertise is strongly represented in NRW by the Fraunhofer Institut for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, further facilities of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and the relevant institutes of the universities.
Mobile Communications: The presence of Germany's three largest mobile communications providers based in NRW (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus) and numerous medium-sized developers and providers in this field provide the starting points for a thematic network with central regional focuses in Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf, as well as other regional and local concentrations on the Lower Rhine and in Dortmund.
Geoinformation: Nationwide thematic network with a broad base in industry, administration and science, regional concentrations in Münster, in the Ruhr region and in Bonn.
IT Security: Regional thematic network around the internationally renowned Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security in the Ruhr University in Bochum. The expansion of the network takes place together with institutional activities at the Technical University of Gelsenkirchen, Institute for Internet Security, and various firms in the Bochum Centre for IT Security.