GUEST FEATURE | Karlsruhe goes digital: what to expect at this year's new.New Festival

09/21/2018  |  Digital Transformation, new.New Festival, News | Trends

New startups, established companies, science & art institutions, accelerators, networks and initiatives from Karlsruhe will be combining digital art, AI, VR, IoT , IT security, networking and more at the biggest innovation festival in southern Germany from October 8th to 10th 2018. Catch a glimpse of what the digital hub Karlsruhe has to offer and why it fits perfectly with CODE_n’s vision of digital innovation and diversity.

Karlsruhe – #4 of Europe’s ICT hubs with renowned informatics faculties and research institutions

With roughly 4,400 IT companies providing 30,000 jobs, 41% of trade tax revenues being from the digital industry, and 10 startup centers, Karlsruhe is one of the most eminent locations concerning digitization in Europe. An EU study of the most important ICT hubs reached the same conclusion and listed Karlsruhe right behind Munich, London, and Paris, due to its strong foundation of small and medium-sized enterprises. Over 43,000 students at 9 universities and colleges characterize the cityscape. Almost 20% of them, precisely 10,000 students, are enrolled in informatics and related studies. In this field, especially the renowned Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA) attract students from all over the country and the world. Institutions like the FZI Research Center for Information Technology enable students to gain valuable practical experience regarding applied research in information technology and technology transfer during their studies and afterwards.

Networking and creativity – the base of collective and healthy growth

A peculiarity of Karlsruhe’s digital scene is its focus on strong, widespread and open networks. It is home to Europe´s largest With more than 1,200 members, the CyberForum provides a networking platform with direct connection to competence, business contacts and career prospects.

Regular talks, meetups and networking events like #nmfka, #digiTALK,, Java User Group Karlsruhe, EFFEKTE, and InfoMarkt, to name only a few, offer a variety of after work activities, exchange and continuous learning for everyone. They are completed by big conventions and trade shows such as LEARNTEC, Anti-Prism-Party, PyCon, GPN, IT-Trans, and many more in our so-called “fan-shaped city”.

Furthermore, a strong creative industry with the creativity park “Alter Schlachthof” as its core, meeting point and flagship and its own founders´ center “Perfekt Futur” shapes Karlsruhe´s mindset and innovation power in an impressive way. – motor of digitization

Digitization is a driver of innovation, affecting all parts of urban living. The initiative arose with the collaboration of 11 working teams, over 25 institutions, and over 50 companies from the digital industry of Karlsruhe. Together 150 experts from economics, science and administration pursue the vision for Karlsruhe to become a motor of digitization and hence be a pioneer with regard to digital topics. A joint effort by all players is the secret ingredient here. The initiative addresses four focus topics in a first step: recruiting and regaining of IT professionals, increasing and speeding up the underlying consortium, developing and locating new companies, and overall communicating and positioning Karlsruhe as a motor of digitization.

With science and art to a better understanding of today’s digital world

350,000 visitors were inspired, amazed and united in front of Karlsruhe Castle by the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE this summer. 16 projections immersed the baroque palace in breathtaking plays of light and sound and let Karlsruhe shine. The magnificent spectacle is curated by the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. An institution described by the world´s largest database as one of the 10 most important art institutions worldwide. In a unique way it expands the original tasks of a museum, following its mission of continuing the classical arts into the digital age. ZKM combines research and production, exhibitions and performances, collections and archives, mediation and events in an agile way. With its successful blend of media, technology, science and art, the ZKM provided CODE_n with the perfect venue in 2016 – and it will not fall short in astonishing you in this year’s happening neither.

Karlsruhe at CODE_n 2018

As the hosting city of CODE_n’s very first independent new.New festival in 2016 and supporter of the very beginning, it is only natural – and again very exciting – for Karlsruhe to be part of the second edition. Presenting various outstanding exhibits under the umbrella brand you can catch a glimpse of the versatile, creative, and widely connected digital hub Karlsruhe. Scattered over the whole festival area, the exhibits combine digital art, AI, VR, IoT, and more in a prevalently interactive way.

The ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe will enrich the festival with four artworks and scientific works from its current exhibition “Open Codes“ (until January 6, 2019)  that visualize and explain the complex dynamics of codes, and the way in which they are increasingly shaping the way we live and perceive the world. The artistic spectrum ranges from two chatbots talking in real time in different languages, to an industrial robot writing its own manifesto, to an interactive installation that transforms our mirror image into code, and the question of how autonomous systems can be conceived in order to take ethical questions into account. „Open Codes“ is a novel type of exhibition and co-working space where people increase their competencies together, become more creative and knowledgeable.

The Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA) will show their mixed reality installation “Super Nubibus”, which provides users with a totally new perspective on Karlsruhe’s history. Standing in a real balloon basket and equipped with VR glasses, you will be able to explore a digital pendant of the real basket and the only virtually existing Karlsruhe of 1834. With a towing rope you will determine your flight level individually – but beware of turbulences that might occur! In case of vertigo, just hold on to the balloon basket, whose perfectly fitted real and virtual versions guarantee a safe flight.

An efficiency boosting option for self-service analytics for production and logistics will be demonstrated and explained by the FZI Research Center for Information Technology. With real-time data analytics based on data flows from the IoT, a tremendous value can be added to logistics and production processes by cognitive data analyses with StreamPipes ( The application offers an integrated self-service solution that makes complex real-time data analyses accessible to end users and is publicly available as open source.

The initiative “Start-up BW” of Baden-Württemberg´s Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Wohnungsbau (Ministry of Economics, Labor and Housing) supports seven accelerators that are presenting their current topics and innovations at the new.New festival. As two of the accelerators, the energy accelerator AXEL and the IT accelerator CyberLab operated by the CyberForum, are located in Karlsruhe, more innovations from the fan-shaped city can be explored at their shared booth. Together they represent Karlsruhe’s startup scene: spread over three festival days, eleven startups are going to present their innovative business models from the fields of energy, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and IT security.

With the focus of this year’s festival laying on Artificial Intelligence, the presence of the de:hub for Applied Artificial Intelligence Karlsruhe is nearly mandatory. Companies from Karlsruhe focusing on AI will show you their latest business models and innovation at the booth of the digital hub initiative. The DIZ | Digitales Innovationszentrum (digital innovation center, located in Karlsruhe) will connect the digital hubs of Baden-Württemberg at their shared booth to forward digital innovation throughout the federal state.

LEA Partners, a venture capital and private equity investor with its headquarters in Karlsruhe, is listed as a pacesetter at CODE_n’s new.New festival. Besides the support of the CODE_n CONTEST, they are organizing an investors’ lounge. This provides startups with the perfect opportunity and base to connect, share and discuss ideas, and work on potential partnerships with venture capital investors in a private atmosphere.

“As a tech investor with a focus on deep tech topics, the new.New Festival is an absolute must for us and we are aiming to bring the awareness on Germany´s southwest that it deserves as the leading deep tech hub of Europe!”, states Christian Roth, managing partner at LEA Partners.

Make sure you get a seat at the main stage on October 9th at 6 pm! With renumics (AI assisted engineering) and thingsTHINKING (brings common sense to computers) two startups from Karlsruhe are part of the top 50 of the CODE_n CONTEST, and we cannot wait for the award show to start!