Project “Digital Villages” – State funding for test regions Betzdorf and Eisenberg/Göllheim

Presseinformation / 14.12.2015

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate is supporting the participation of the municipality of Betzdorf/Sieg (Altenkirchen County) and the municipalities of Eisenberg and Göllheim (Donnersberg County) in the scientific research project “Digital Villages” with 180,000 euros each. “This project is intended to test in practice how smart networking across all domains can help to keep life in rural areas attractive for people of all ages, and thus to accompany the demographic changes”, said the Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of the Interior, for Sports and Infrastructure, Roger Lewentz, on Monday in Mainz when the funding decision documents were presented to the mayors of the involved municipalities.

The “Digital Villages” are a sub-project of the comprehensive research and development initiative “Smart Rural Areas” of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern. This project examines how innovative digital technologies can contribute to supporting and facilitating people’s lives in rural areas. “In very concrete terms, a logistics system shall be set up in the two test regions, which will initially organize the transport of products and goods via volunteers. With the help of current digital technology, we will thus translate traditional neighborhood support into the 21st century”, said the minister. Two test phases in 2016 shall provide evidence that the smart networking of all available digital modules makes it possible to realize a functioning local delivery system.

“Only the smart networking of services, data, and even things will enable us to make even rural areas fit for the future. The real challenge is by no means only the expansion of broadband services: Only if safe, reliable, user-friendly, as well as sustainable and economically feasible solutions are provided can the potential of digitalization be unlocked, and both the state and the people will be able to benefit from it. Looking at the future, existing systems must interact intelligently and must function in a coordinated manner”, explained Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer, institute director of Fraunhofer IESE in Kaiserslautern.

As soon as the model has been tested, it can be extended – depending on need – to other areas, such as the transport of passengers.

In addition to providing funding to the test regions, the state is also funding the overall project of Fraunhofer IESE with approx. one million euros. Follow-up funding from 2017 onwards is also planned. Minister Lewentz stressed: “Everyone will benefit from this project: science, the state, and particularly the municipalities, which can position themselves as modern and open communities offering their citizens a very specific benefit.”

The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer IESE in Kaiserslautern is one of the worldwide leading research institutes in the area of software and systems engineering methods. A major portion of the products offered by its customers is defined by software. These products range from automotive and transportation systems via automation and plant engineering, energy management, information systems and health care to software systems for the public sector. The institute’s software and systems engineering approaches are scalable, which makes Fraunhofer IESE a competent technology partner for organizations of any size from small companies to major corporations.

Under the leadership of Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer and Prof. Dieter Rombach, the contributions of Fraunhofer IESE have been a major boost to the emerging IT hub Kaiserslautern for close to twenty years. In the Fraunhofer Information and Communication Technology Group, the institute is cooperating with other Fraunhofer institutes to develop trend-setting key technologies for the future.

Fraunhofer IESE is one of 66 institutes and research units of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Together they have a major impact on shaping applied research in Europe and contribute to Germany’s competitiveness in international markets.