Prof. Dr. Ulrich Nußbaum, Secretary of State of the Federal Ministry of Economics at his opening speech Enlarge

Konferenz “Securing Global Industrial Value Chains” in Berlin, Eröffnung von Dr. Ulrich Nussbaum, Staatssekretär im Bundeswirtschaftsministerium


Setting: Politics and business from near and far

Together with the Plattform Industrie 4.0, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) invited international experts from the private sector, from ministries and from regulatory authorities to Berlin. Tension and conflicting priorities between various political frameworks was the focus of attention on the first day of the conference. The Secretary of State of the Federal Ministry of Economics, Dr. Ulrich Nussbaum, opened the conference with insights on framing conditions in Germany. High-level representatives from the European Union as well as ministries, regulators and industry initiatives from China, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States outlined their approaches and identified areas for alignment.

On the second day, experts discussed various technical aspects of security over the course of four sessions. The exchange was structed around questions on (1) a cross-border security architecture for value networks, (2) conditions for secure communication and (3) secure identities and (4) the assessment of trustworthiness. The Plattform provided its concept papers in all four areas as a foundation for discussion (see article Four Challenges).

Results: IT Security - international interoperability of approaches

Contributions from Industry 4.0 organisations from China, Japan, USA, France and Italy provided an overview of various international perspectives and approaches from an industrial and political point-of-view. At the conference, it became clear that there is a will to develop common solutions: the presence of numerous government representatives, including representatives from Japan and China, highlighted the relevance of this question.

The content comparison on ideas for secure Industry 4.0 eco-systems, secure identities, secure communication and trustworthiness showed that these initiatives are not so far apart on several issues. The technical concept papers from the Plattform Industrie 4.0 were well received by the participants.

Christian Decker, CEO of DESMA GmbH, was a highlight of the conference: He presented his use case of "platform-based, order-driven production". This real-life example colourfully illustrated the security challenges of an internationally networked company for all participants.

Outlook: A first step of many

The participants agreed to, in follow-up of the conference, answer unanswered questions and develop ideas for technical and regulatory solutions. For example, they will work on jointly developing requirements for so-called "trust centers" (providers of "trusted services"), which will act as international anchors of trust in the future.

The working group "Security of Networked Systems" of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 will take up the findings from the conference in its continued work. It will work on formulating the obvious gaps and needs for new standards and frameworks and bring them to standardisation committees together with international partners.