450 kilometres away, the remote tower control centre in Leipzig handles the take-offs and landings at Saarbrücken Airport since the beginning of December 2018.
Smart Infrastructure Hub Leipzig
Leipzig is home to many well-known corporates, startups and research institutes in the fields of energy, smart city and ehealth. Therefore, the German government acknowledged that this region will shape the digital transformation of these sectors as Smart Infrastructure Hub Leipzig. There are many good reasons for innovators like startups, researchers, SMEs or corporates in these sectors to come and stay in Leipzig.
Cluster organisations linking SMEs and research
Both clusters link several dozens of SMEs and research institutes in the region and organize various events as well as projects. Due to the fact that many companies in the region are rather small, joint research projects are crucial to use synergies and create cooperation. Cluster associations are very important to create these links.
Energiemetropole Leipzig (NEU e.V.) – the city cluster for energy and environment
Already in 2011 regional companies decided to bundle their expertise through the “Netzwerk Energie & Umwelt e.V.” (NEU e.V.). Today, 75 companies, research institutes, universities, political players and other organizations are members of NEU e.V. with its brand “Energiemetropole Leipzig” and build a strong network. The initiative wants to foster communication, do city marketing, coordinates technology transfer, supports job development and national as well as international cooperation. NEU e.V. takes the responsibility for several tasks and events within the Smart Infrastructure Hub and is a crucial actor within it.
VFG e.V. – Association for Promotion of the Healthcare Industry in the Leipzig region
VFG was founded in 2004 by the relevant players of the health care sector in Leipzig, including the City of Leipzig itself, to promote Leipzig as a leading center for medicine in science as well as in clinical practice across Germany and internationally. VFG also fosters cooperation between the various medical institutions and companies in the region. The association’s work particularly focuses on further development of the Region of Leipzig as an international best practice example for the health economy. Through participation in European and national projects (e.g. digitalLIFE4CE) VFG promotes interaction and communication between the foreign and regional entities. The coordination of knowledge transfer and collaboration between research institutions and partners in the economy is an important task of the association. In addition to this, the association organizes the annual Leipzig “Health Economy Forum”, allowing all partners to come together. In this important meeting the health economy of Central German gathers and gets insight to the latest trends and new developments in health-related research and services. VFG hosts several working groups on health related topics, e.g. eHealth, corporate health management, senior-focused activities and services.
SpinLab - The HHL Accelerator focusing on smart infrastructure
SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator supports innovative founding projects in the fields of energy, smart city, ehealth and cross-sectional technologies with the implementation and growth of their ventures. In addition to intensive coaching, the founding teams will also benefit from a high-caliber mentoring program as well as numerous contacts to investors, established companies and other founders. They can use a co-working office with state-of-the art equipment on the premises of Spinnerei, an old cotton mill now serving as a center for creativity, and will gain access to various technologies offered by partners. Moreover, they get a grant of 6.000 Euro with no strings attached. Even after completing the program, the startup teams are supported in their recruiting efforts, they can plan their expansion through an international exchange program and they get the opportunity to rent office space next to SpinLab. The founders will be able to use all offers free of charge when they are accepted for the six-month program.
The accelerators is partnering with many SMEs and big corporates that are heavily effected by digital transformation, but they yet lack internal resources to compete against digital leaders in their fields. Therefore, they use the synergies within the hub to effectively support their digital transformation. Through the acceleration program they:
- identify interesting startups in their fields
- run pilot applications and tests with them
- access startup databases
- receive reports and macroeconomic startup trends
- are communicated as innovative companies to shift their mindsets internally and create attention of innovators externally
- participate workshops that discuss innovation management processes and technology trends in their peer Groups
SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator also serves as regional hub management.
Venture Capital fund (planned)
Another important instrument that will be established in the next months is a mainly privately funded venture capital fund focussing on seed and early stage deals in Central Germany (Saxony,Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia). Such a fund can help to attract additional venture capital from other private investors and at the same time it can co-invest with existing state-owned regional funds such as TGFS, bmp, bm-t or the local MBGs.
Startup and technology center (planned)
Leipzig is a growing city. And so does its economy! Today the City of Leipzig already owns 10 different commercial centers such as BIO CITY Leipzig or the BIC Business & Innovation Centre Leipzig – mostly running at full capacity. However, the Smart Infrastructure Hub Leipzig needs a own facility as incubator for innovators in the fields on energy, smart city and ehealth but also related areas such as 3D printing, IoT and others. Within the next years, a building with several thousand square meters shall be realized.
Offers for established corporations and institutions
Open Innovation Labs
Open innovation labs are structured three-month programs that mix students and employees to innovate together. A series of workshops on creativity techniques, design thinking and business modeling organized by one of the leading European business schools, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Previous open innovation labs were organized with orgnisations such as Deutsche Postbank, Porsche, E.ON Connecting Energies or the BioEconomy Cluster.
In the near future, the Smart Infrastructure Hub will offer short-term trips for interested delegations from SMEs, big corporates and other institutions. During these paid trips guests can visit different companies (SMEs, established corporates and startups) and research institutes to learn about special topics. Potential topics include energy management & trading, environmental & climate change, biomass and startup incubation.
Research and Transfer Projects
With the University of Leipzig, HTWK Leipzig, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and many more, Leipzig hosts several reputable higher education institutions with high-caliber researchers in the smart infrastructure sectors. Besides that, with the DBFZ German Biomass Research Centre, the UFZ Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, the Fraunhofer IMW or the Institute of Applied Informatics (InfAI) Leipzig is proud home to well-known research institutes that cover those topics.
More than 20 public-funded bigger research projects in Smart Infrastructure areas (co-)hosted by Leipzig based institutions with an overall volume far beyond 100 million Euro. The following examples show the variety of projects:
The Data-Driven Bioeconomy project (DataBio) focuses on the production of best possible raw materials from agriculture, forestry and fishery for the bioeconomy industry to produce food, energy and biomaterials taking into account responsibility and sustainability. In order to meet the above objectives, DataBio is controlling and putting to use the innovative ICTs and information flows centered mostly around the use of proximal and remote sensors, in order to provide a streamlined Big Data Infrastructure for data discovery, retrieval, processing and visualizing, in support to decisions in bioeconomy business operations.
- Project duration: 01.01.2017 – 31.12.2019
- Project partners: 48, including InfAI, Intrasoft, Fraunhofer IGD or VTT
- Contact person: Christian Zinke (InfAI)
The main goal of the BMBF Project STEADY is the development of a sensor-based system for the therapy support and self-management of depression. It uses cutting-edge mobile sensor devices (like smartphones, sensor wristbands and sleep sensors) to continuously collect diverse psycho-physiological data (like heart rate or skin conductance), environmental parameters (like light intensity or geo-localization), behavioral characteristics (like sleep, speech, activity or device usage), and self-ratings concerning the current mood of the patient. Within the STEADY project, specific data analysis methods and algorithms are developed to identify individual patterns and biomarkers. These patterns and other relevant parameters will be visualized in an intuitive and educational manner for the patient. The aim is to enhance the patient’s awareness for his symptom changes (e.g., the beginning of a depressive episode) and to determine specific triggers that are correlated with the beginning of a depressive episode. So with is STEADY a complex digital m-health system functioning in a smart infrastructure and supporting the self-management of patients suffering from depression.
- Project duration: 01.11.2016 – 31.10.2019
- Project partners: BDS/InfAI, Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe, adesso, Information Systems Institute/ University of Leipzig
- Contact person: Prof. Galina Ivanova (InfAI)
The digitalLIFE4CE project is looking for novel solutions in the field of digital integrated healthcare systems. The fragmentation of the health care system as well as weak cooperation between relevant actors negatively affect regional authorities, care providers and citizens in many regions of central Europe. To answer these weaknesses, the project brings together policy makers, experts from research and development and actors relevant for implementation. They will work on a new framework to provide policy stakeholders with: a global picture on available solutions and their implications; technology solution providers with options for joint cooperation; and beneficiaries with new applications and technologies. Additionally, the project will research and promote best practice cases in so called “Healthcare Excellence Spots” and investigate ways to increase investment in digital health start-ups and to boost innovation in healthcare systems with a need for an integrated care coordination.
- Project duration: 01.05.2017 – 31.10.2019
- Project partners: VFG e.V., SMS, FH Burgenland, STEP RI, Pannon Business Network Association, Wroclaw Technology Park, Technology Park Ljubljana, Trento, FBK
- Contact person: Rebecca Winter (VFG)
LESSIE (Leipzig Smart Service Engineering)
LESSIE is aims to establish a platform for designing smart services in the Leipzig area. These service innovations arebased on a combination of current technologies (e.g. big data, IoT) and allow small and medium sized companiesnew smart service business models. As a networking initiative, LESSIE connects practitioners and academics alike to exchange ideas, work on joint projects and improve methods and tools for smart service engineering. In a first step, LESSIE prepares an innovation event on April 18/19, 2018, which shall be the basis for establishing a permanent smart service lab in a second step.
- Project duration: 01.09.2017 – 31.05.2018
- Project partners: InfAI, Uni Leipzig, HfTL, L-Gruppe, EWERK, Quantic Digital, teilAuto, BI Business Intelligence
- Contact person: Julia Holze (InfAI)
TRIANGULUM (The 3 point project: demonstrate. disseminate, replicate)
The City of Leipzig is part of the HORIZON 2020 Smart Cities and Communities project Triangulum. This EU project supports cities across Europe to develop and implement smart city strategies. While the three Lighthouse cities (Eindhoven, Manchester and Stavanger) develop and implement major smart projects in their cities, Leipzig is among the three Follower cities (besides Prague and Sabadell) which constantly learn from the experiences made in the Lighthouse cities, develop their own smart city strategy and, at one point in the future, may be Lighthouse cities themselves.
Within the scope of the project the City of Leipzig, led by the Office of Urban Renewal and Housing Construction Subsidies, develops a Smart City strategy for the city district Leipzig-West. In cooperation with Leipzig University, the project aims at connecting existing technical innovation and solutions, bringing together involved actors and engaging with the civil society. To truly achieve a smart city, it is necessary to engage with citizens, municipal utility suppliers and local businesses to acknowledge existing problems and develop an interdisciplinary concept which provides solutions
- Project duration: 01.02.2015 – 31.01.2020
- Project partners: City of Leipzig, Uni Leipzig
- Contact person: Dr. Beate Ginzel (City of Leipzig), David Bausch
In order to provide the demanded energy for heat and electricity in single- and multifamily houses as well as small commercial buildings in a sustainable, demand-driven and efficient manner in the future, it is necessary to connect energy producers to each other and integrate them into the building automation system. Up to now, a connection between the small-scaled energy producers has only been implemented in individual cases (mostly in research facilities) and with individual or manufacturer-dependent solutions. For this reason, a method is to be developed within the project “AUTOBUS” which allows system participants such as bioenergy plants, but also energy consumers, other energy producers, sensors and actuators to be integrated into a building management system according to the plug-and-run principle.(
- Project duration: 01.08.2016 – 31.07.2019
- Project partners: DBFZ
- Contact person: Daniel Büchner (DBFZ)
The aim of the project GAZELLE is the efficient and demand driven process control of existing biogas plants in the federal state of Saxony. Therefore, a software based process control scheme of biogas plants that includes all plant components will be developed and tested at the biogas pilot plant of the DBFZ and at an industrial biogas plant. The process control tool combines the technical and biological process optimization as well as the model predictive process control for optimal economic and energetic use of the raw materials and the derived products heat and electricity.
- Project duration: 01.02.2017 – 31.01.2020
- Project partners: DBFZ
- Contact person: Jörg Kretzschmar (DBFZ)
SEPL Smart Energy Platform
The main goal of the SEPL project is the design and development of an IoT platform for value-added services in the energy domain. The platform provides tools which enable users to vendor-independently integrate smart devices, analyze vast amounts of distributed energy data and to interconnect smart devices and their exposed services in order to create more sophisticated services that add value to end customers. Possible fields of application could be, but are not limited to, the increase of energy consumption transparency, energy savings and energy efficiency for households and businesses. The project is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Saxony (SAB).
- Project duration: 01.09.2015 – 30.06.2018
- Project partners: InfAI
- Contact person: Robert Wehlitz (InfAI)
HYPOS Hydrogen Power Storage & Solutions East Germany e.V.
HYPOS is one of the ten innovation projects of the “Zwanzig20 – Partnership for Innovation” initiative recently launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The main objective of the project is the production, storage, distribution, and widened use of green hydrogen in the chemical, refinery, mobility, and energy sectors. The increasing amounts of electrical surplus from the wind power and solar cells resulting from the implementation of new energy transformation and transition methods can be used for the economic production of hydrogen, which can in turn be used in the various aforementioned sectors. This makes green electricity eligible for base load, and it can be used as deemed necessary. With HYPOS e.V. as an open-topic network for all interested parties in the hydrogen industry, the state of science and technology for hydrogen is rapidly being redefined. In various project associations, which have been established in cooperation with more than 100 partners from business and science, innovative uses of hydrogen are constantly being developed. Furthermore, due to Central Germany’s existing infrastructure of pipeline networks and storage facilities and abundance of small to medium sized companies in the energy system, it is truly the preferred region for early implementation of our technology and ideas.
- Project duration: Founded in 2013 – Present
- Project partners: u.a. bse engineering Leipzig GmbH, DBI Gas- und Umwelttechnik GmbH, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH (UFZ), HTWK Leipzig, Infineon Technologies AG, Isodetect GmbH, Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft Gas mbH, Siemens AG, Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft mbH, Universität Leipzig, Verbundnetz Gas AG
- Contact person: Mareike Wald (Hypos East Germany)
Smart Sensor-based Digital Ecosystem Services – S2DES
S2DES addresses the question: which benefits arise when using sensor data beyond domain boundaries and how can these benefits be used comprehensively. Here, smart, highly flexible and modular information systems provide the basis for a successful implementation. These information systems support the provision and use of sensor data by different user groups, process large amounts of data, integrate expert knowledge in terms of methods, and offer cooperative marketplace functionalities for economic usage. During the project, the reference architecture required for this purpose and the appropriate integrated models for a platform used by various companies will be developed. For this, validation scenarios play an important role since they are used for the development and testing of these comprehensive concepts within the three domains environment, energy, and health.
S2DES is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Free State of Saxony / Sächsische Aufbaubank – Förderbank (SAB).
- Project duration: 01.10.2016 – 30.09.2020
- Project partners: Agri Con GmbH, Data Virtuality GmbH, Gesundheitsforen Leipzig GmbH, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung – UFZ, Institut für Angewandte Informatik e.V., Meier-NT GmbH, SQL Projekt AG, Universität Leipzig, Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik, vital.services GmbH
- Contact person: Olaf Reinhold und Karen Heyden
Smart Energy Communities – SMECS
From 2020, the framework for the actors in the energy industry will change as a result of the Renewable Energy Act. SMECS aims to help small energy producers and co-operatives to cooperate and build and maintain their own customer base by researching and using community approaches and smart service architectures. The project examines current trends and derives a catalog of measures that energy cooperatives and small energy producers can use to meet the new challenges. SMECS supports small energy producers and cooperatives technically and organisationally in building smart energy communities. These communities create solutions for dealing with the new regulations. The community approach will strengthen regionally oriented activities in order to identify and embed regionality as added value in marketing and sales activities. The project is part of the technology program “Smart Service World”, which is funded by the BMWi.
- Project duration: 01.10.2016 – 30.09.2020
- Project partners: Energieforen Leipzig GmbH, CIS Solutions GmbH, CAS Software AG, Energiearchitekten Chiemgau, Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO, Social CRM Research Center e.V. (SCRC)
- Contact person: Ulf Grothey
Smart Border Initiative – SBI
The Smart border Initiative (SBI) is a European Reference project, supported both by the French and German Governments, and by the European Commission. Tilia conceives and develops it since the origin together with DSOs (Enedis and Innogy), the German Energy Agency (dena) and 18 industrial partners and stakeholders. The aim of the project is to jointly interconnect and optimise the energy systems on both sides of the Franco-German border, in order to make a joint, cross border energy optimisation possible. The key enabler to this cross border smart grid will be an interconnection of the electricity distribution grids (20 kV).
This will be a crucial new step for the European Energy Market: distribution grids will be connected for the first time, allowing better cross-border balancing by completing existing high voltage interconnections. The project is supported by European PCI facilities, and will closely link the electricity smart regional system with the development of cross border smart mobility and multi-energy systems.
- Project duration: 2016 – 2019
- Project funding: 2.4 Million Euros (Study Phase)
- Project partners: Amprion, Arge Solar, CASC, EDF Deutschland, EIFER, Enedis, Enovos Deutschland SE, Gireve, GrandEst, GreENEFF, Grid Solutions, HUBJECT, Innogy, Izes, MHy RABEL, Regionalverband Saarbrücken, RTE, Saarland, Siemens, STEAG Netz GmbH, STEAG Technischer Service GmbH, Tilia, Verteego, VSE.
- Contact person:Marina Galindo
The Syctom and the SIAAP, which respectively manage the municipal waste disposal and treatment, and the wastewater collection and treatment of the whole Paris Region, have launched an Innovation Partnership in order to conceive, test, design and build a facility that will methanise the whole organic fraction of the Greater Paris municipal waste, together with a large fraction of its wastewater treatment sludge, in a way that shall maximise the biogas production and energybalance, recover nutrients, minimise sub-products from the process, avoid any residual product to be returned to the soil in whatever form, and reach the highest possible environmental standards.
This showcase project will make Paris a world leader in organic waste disposal, in terms of carbon and environmental footprint, while producing a safe and carbon neutral energy for local communities.
- Project duration: 2018 – 2021
- Project funding: 82.5 Million Euros (From the R&D to the construction of an industrial plant)
- Project partners: Tilia, France Biogaz Valorisation / GICON, Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH, Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB.
- Contact person:Vincent Aumaitre
Aimed at creating an open platform for smart energy services, the SENERGY project intends to support the process of sensor data integration, data analysis and context-aware controlling of smart devices. SMEs should be enabled to integrate and process vast amounts of energy data attained from the Internet of Things in order to develop smart services by leveraging machine learning methods and techniques. The perceived customer benefit and therefore customer demand is to be increased by creating cross-sectoral application possibilities of smart services (e.g. energy management, health, security, convenience and entertainment). The deployment of services in close proximity to users represents an additional project focal point. Allowing data to be processed locally dispenses the need of transferring all data to cloud services thus retaining data with users and catering to privacy concerns. As such, the project goal is to combine suitable concepts, methods and software tools to build a platform that enables the development of smart energy services and innovative business models.
Events and Conferences
The Smart Infrastructure Hub promotes Leipzig and the Region of Central Germany in the startup and innovation scene internationally. Therefore, the hub was presented though booths and speaking positions at several national and international events such as SXSW, CeBIT, Medica, Pirate Summit and many more. Furthermore, the hub represents the interest of its members, both startups and digital enterprises. The hub places ads in relevant media. Altogether, this helps rather small companies to be more present, get more attention and link to the world.
Many events and conferences in the region provide manifold opportunities to network and exchange ideas. More recently, innovations and startups have become an important part of most of them. Important regular events include (selection):
Yearly lighthouse conference under the patronage of the German Ministry of Economic Affairs & Energy with more than 350 participants. Organized by IHK Leipzig and Interessengemeinschaft der Unternehmverbände Ostdeutschlands, it welcomes selected startups to pitch on the main stage or present at a small exhibition.
A student-organized conference by HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management for young energy professionals and students covering current topics in the energy sector including a case study competition and startup presentations.
This events brings together managers of the health industry. Includes a startup pitch session to win the eHealth award and is organized by VFG.
Sachsen Digital Konferenz
Yearly conference of the SMWA initiative Sachsen Digital.
Get to know the new SpinLab startups and the old community 🙂 Free drinks and talks at SpinLab
Yearly main conference of the hub partner NEU e.V. with all major energy companies of our Region
Conference and fair for energy management, energy services and shared decentral systems at Messe Leipzig.
What are people saying about the Smart Infrastructure Hub?
The energy supply faces big challenges and unsolved questions. Through a participation in the Digital Hub, we want to find suitable answers through innovative startups within the energy cluster. Moreover, as regional rooted corporation, the innovation capability of our region is close to our heart.
Our experience at SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator has been extremely valuable and crucial to the growth we have experienced with our company. The program helped ease some of the pains of the early stages of founding a company, and really helped us by providing access to a great business network that led to both funding and business opportunities. All of the startups in Germany who are just beginning should absolutely apply for the program.
Imagination and finance have often had a fruitful relationship in the history of Leipzig. The arts, creativity and business-sense are not mutually exclusive. So I’m extremely happy that HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and SPINNEREI have found each other and established SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator as a joint venture to strengthen Leipzig’s entrepreneurial spirit. I wish them every success!
As the Leipzig group, we are very pleased about the partnership with The Smart Infrastructure Hub. For the city, for our companies and for the people, citizens and customers, together we are constantly discovering new approaches to becoming better and better. That’s why we can turn cloud words like ‘digitization’ into action