55th Digital Dialogue | Digital is everywhere – software as a uniting factor for Styrian clusters

from left to right: Astrid Dorner (ITCS), Robert Ginthör (ITCS), Christina Henrich (Silicon Alps Cluster), Gerhard Greiner (ITCS), Gernot Eder (Human Technology Cluster Styria), Gerald Hirschmann (ITCS), Bernhard Puttinger (Green Tech Cluster Styria), Angelika Weber (ITCS), Thomas Dietinger (ITCS), Udo Traussnigg (AT Styria), Gerhard Hammer (ITCS)

55th Digital Dialogue | digital is everywhere – software as a uniting factor for Styrian clusters

Styria is widely known as “Clusterland”. This consortium of companies along value chains to exploit synergies is undoubtedly responsible for the region’s international success.

However, in the 55th Digital Dialogue, we should take a step further, higher: how can the clusters and associations act together, where are their points of intersection, which networks lead to further innovations?

As host and representative of software development, Dominic Neumann of the UBIT group welcomed the participants in the Styria Hall of the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO).

Green and digital – not a contradiction

Bernhard Puttinger from the Green Tech Cluster was the first speaker to show that environmental topics, with the help of digitalisation, are showing very good results: high-tech networking at events, competence radar and digital penetration of business areas and the Green Tech Hub – an incubator for startups in the Science Tower – are the cluster’s future-oriented projects.

With regard to the IT-intensive audience, he gave a sound, traceable overview of his main business fields and the possible potentials for software development in them.

History of machines

Udo Traussnigg from Plattform Automatisierungstechnik (AT Styria) then explained the historical overview of the structure of his business field: it started with the machines, then electrical engineering was added as the driving force. The third important element is information technology – in the form of controllers, but also increasingly sensors and therefore learning controllers – i.e. Industry 4.0. With its online platform, AT Styria is also focusing on better networking of its members through digital tools with the principle and goal of bringing people together. The principles of “open source” (technology and know-how) in connection with “open mind” (culture and attitude) must be administered in order to make maximum use of the networking opportunities.

He showed in various examples that digitalisation as the main driver of innovation has become more important and time-consuming in the development of a machine than the mechanics and electronics, and that the variety of products increases again as a result of individualisation.

Basis and community

The last presentation came from the organiser – and true to the adage that the IT Community Styria (ITCS) has no hierarchy and no official structure, six representatives of the 14 member companies were on stage here to list all of the 30 branches in which they are active, as well as to answer the questions of moderator Gerhard Greiner. The starting point was that software is needed in all industries. All ITCS companies are united by the development of software; networking with all the other clusters makes sense due to the different areas of application. As a cross-sectional industry, software development therefore helps to further develop the business location as a region of excellence in all areas by digitalising its customers.

Networking is essential

Gernot Eder from Human Technology Styria (HTS) and Christina Henrich from the Silicon Alps Cluster were also represented in a concluding panel discussion. Of particular interest is the connection between man and machine in the digitalisation of medicine and life science, as well as the development of electronics manufacturers in the region.

All clusters want to work together to support the training of the required specialists in the coming years, to continue to make companies more successful through networking and young talent, and of course to make use of common ground.

For all the talk favouring efficiency, by the end of the subsequent philosophising at the buffet, everyone was in agreement: the purpose behind software and digitalisation is ultimately always to support people in their task of making themselves and the world a little bit better every day.

Moderation: Gerhard Greiner


Bernhard Puttinger | Green Tech Cluster Styria
Udo Traussnigg | AT Styria