Cologne to get two-day digital makeover

  • August 30, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Next week, more than 100 locations in the German city of Cologne are going to be digitally transformed for 48 hours.

This is part of the Digital X conference on 7 and 8 September that is due to attract more than 300 speakers including Arnold Schwarzenegger and thousands of expected participants.

The digital initiative will transform more than 100 popular Cologne locations such as pubs and hotels, co-working spaces and design manufactories into infotainment stages of digitisation for 48 hours.

With Digital X, Deutsche Telekom and its partners want to support the gastronomy and hotel industry, which has been massively affected by the pandemic. To this end, the partner companies are inviting Digital X guests to their info events in restaurants, pubs, cafés and bars in four Cologne neighbourhoods.

“With Digital X, we are bringing a bit of normality back to the city of Cologne after a difficult one and a half years of having the pandemic,” said Hagen Rickmann, managing director for business customers at Deutsche Telekom. “We want to look to the future, create positive momentum and get people excited about digitisation.”

The keynotes, expert talks, workshops and interactive presentations will focus on digital technology such as artificial intelligence, 5G, IoT, VR, AR and cloud, which enable sustainable business, drive digital education and support the changing world of work.

Terminator actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, will present his ideas on how digital innovations can be used to combat climate change. He will be joined by Catalan avant-gardist, dancer and cyborg activist Moon Ribas, who has an earthquake sensor implanted in one foot.

Instead of being held at a central venue with a large stage, Digital X will dive into the heart of Cologne life. The entire programme of workshops, presentations, discussion panels and keynotes will be spread across four neighbourhoods in downtown Cologne with different thematic focuses.

For example, around Colonius, the Cologne telecommunications tower, everything is about inspiration with the latest technologies and innovations. Over-used buzz word disruption is the central theme in the Belgisches Viertel (Belgian Quarter), with a focus on digital education, home office and thrust.

Guests at the Cologne Stadtgarten will experience what the future could look like. And interactive is the motto in the Friesenviertel (Friesian Quarter) with different experiences.

Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, will talk about the challenges of digitisation in small and medium-sized enterprises and the opportunities for a strong Europe. Blockchain queen Shermin Voshmgir will addresses the question of what the future of the internet will look like. The founder of the Institute for Cryptoeconomics at the Vienna University of Economics & Business will look at the interplay between technology, art and social sciences.

Google’s chief innovation evangelist Frederik Pferdt has made it his mission to awaken an innovation mentality in everyone. He will tell the audience why he is convinced that creativity is in everyone. Sabina Jeschke, former board member for digitisation at Deutsche Bahn and professor at RWTH Aachen University, will talk about the three phases of artificial intelligence.

Best-selling author Julia Shaw, forensic psychologist and memory researcher at University College London, will explain how she is using artificial intelligence to try to combat discrimination in business. And maths helper, YouTube star and education expert Daniel Jung, considered a pioneer of digital education systems, will say why he thinks we have missed out on digital education.

The two-day event thrives on exchange and networking on site. Part of the event will also be broadcast live on the Digital X platform on the internet. The platform can be accessed at any time via computer or mobile device.

With its pandemic-compliant concept, Digital X says it will meet the ordinance on protection against Covid infection risks, but warns that short-notice adjustments might happen.