Support for digital transformation in Lower Austria

A flagship project of the state of Lower Austria’s digitalisation strategy, the House of Digitalisation has set up a regional ecosystem to overcome barriers to digital transformation in businesses and boost productivity. It provides expertise and infrastructure to enable Lower Austrian companies – particularly micro-enterprises and SMEs – to formulate new products and processes. In addition, it is developing new training and qualification formats and solutions to problems caused by the Covid-19 shutdown.

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The House of Digitalisation is helping businesses overcome barriers to digital transformation and boost productivity. ©House of Digitalisation The House of Digitalisation is helping businesses overcome barriers to digital transformation and boost productivity. ©House of Digitalisation

" The impact of the regional ecosystem for digital transformation established by the project became most apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to the closely collaborating network and the high awareness of the project among the regional population, we managed to provide solutions for the problems caused by the shutdown very quickly and efficiently. "

Claus Zeppelzauer, head of company and technology unit, Lower Austria Business Agency

The House of Digitalisation began by analysing the digital skills available in Lower Austria and identifying the partners needed to build a network. This network encompasses the state’s six main research centres providing digital expertise and testing infrastructure.

These centres work closely with 12 business support organisations, including clusters, chambers of commerce and start-up agencies, who liaise with entrepreneurs and facilitate project development. Thanks to the network, more than 50 digital innovation projects have been launched.

An interactive platform provides information on about 130 technical terms, some 140 training opportunities and over 100 project ideas, and details of funding and events. In addition, it showcases around 140 local success stories, offers business matchmaking services and hosts crowdsourcing campaigns to help develop new products, services and business models. The platform’s content is co-created by its registered users, who comprise more than 820 individuals and 430 companies.

Tools for all kinds of firms

A main goal of the House of Digitalisation is to increase entrepreneurs’ understanding of the benefits of digitalisation by enabling businesses to exchange experiences. It also strengthens cooperation involving companies and research institutions, and coordination between research centres and intermediary business support bodies.

Results range from the creation of algorithms to capture 3D scans of places, people and objects for use in virtual reality planning of interior design or exhibitions, to solutions for more traditional companies. Among the latter are a logistics tool for distribution of bakery products and a system to estimate the risk of late frosts to viticulture.

Tools elaborated in response to Covid-19 include a list of regional online shops and services which has received over 1 400 registrations, a WhatsApp shopping platform covering some 300 shops, and cybersecurity webinars.

A range of events

More than 50 events, each attended by 20-150 participants, have been organised on subjects such as smart farming, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. A summit on the opportunities for business offered by blockchain – a ledger shared across a network of computers that records transactions between parties – involved 60 companies.

Other events were a summer camp on programming for apprentices in mechatronics (mechanical and electrical engineering) and training for technical high school teachers in 3D digital modelling of buildings.

Analysis shows that the activities have reached companies that had not previously taken part in regional innovation ecosystems. Around 60 clips on the project have been broadcast on prime-time television to 1 million viewers. A webinar is now being prepared to help transfer the concept to other regions.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “House of Digitalisation” is EUR 1 201 806, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 201 806 through the “Investments in Growth and Employment Austria” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Increasing the number of innovative SMEs”.

Draft date

31/08/2020