A digital future for and built by industry - DIF 2017

“Digitisation is transforming every industry, and digital solutions will enable industrialisation and personalisation of care.” Keynote speaker Henk van Houten, Chief Technology Officer of Royal Philips, summed up the importance of the digital innovation that lay at the heart of the Digital Innovation Forum (DIF), jointly organised by ARTEMIS Industry Association and the EUREKA Cluster ITEA. This two-day event displayed, debated and demonstrated the opportunities created by the digital transformation to add value for both industry and society. With a focus on smart healthcare, smart energy, smart manufacturing and smart mobility.

The core message of the co-organisers, in the guise of Zeynep Sarilar (ITEA Chairwoman) and Laila Gide (President of ARTEMIS Industry Association), was that “digitalisation is not an option anymore” and that this forum presented an opportunity to experience and share digital innovations, “to explore the future through what we do today.”

Need for transformation

The need to tackle the challenges of tomorrow by the initiatives taken today was underlined by Jasper Wesseling, Director for Innovation and Knowledge at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and keynote speaker. “To stay competitive in the future, we need to transform our business activities, processes and competencies. SMEs, large companies, universities and research organisations, they all have their role to play in creating European-wide ecosystems for pre-competitive cooperation in the field of R&D. The role of large companies in these eco-systems should not be underestimated: not only do they offer a platform for SMEs to act on a European level but they also contribute roughly 50% to the partnership. And investment in R&D is necessary for future economic growth, technology development and tackling societal challenges.” Henk van Houten cited the role of projects like MEDIATE* (ITEA) and CRYSTAL* (ARTEMIS) in a new generation image guided therapy platform being launched by Philips to introduce real-time multi-workspot technology. The keynote speech of Max Lemke, Head of Unit "Technologies and Systems for Digitising Industry" in DG CONNECT of the European Commission, focused on Digitising European Industry Strategy. Lemke commented that the DIF 2017 exhibition illustrates “how strong we are in digitising Europe” in a reference to the business impact of the projects on show and the presence of other Public Private Partnerships and associations, which is a demonstration of the complementarity of these initiatives.

Standing room only

Four thematic workshops explored the ‘smart’ areas of energy, health, manufacturing and mobility. In these sold-out affairs panels of experts provided not only insight into the latest developments and food for thought but provided a real opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions. Topics ranged from standardisation and security to collaboration and business models. For example, will the new energy value chain be transaction-centric, enabled by a multi-faceted market and characterised by localised, connected, transactive markets?

A comprehensive set of summaries is available at:

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.